In films, particularly documentary films, a commonly observed phenomenon is known as documentary bias. While most individuals making the film will try to be cautious in preventing bias that is implicit during filmmaking, others may take the opposite route and choose to approach a controversial topic one-sidedly. One of the major factors for the continued prevalence of bias in the film is, of course, the funding involved in the filmmaking process. Others are a bit more subtle when it comes to bias in the film while some can make the said bias pretty obvious. For the film known as Game Changers, the biases and motivation behind its claims were apparent and obvious.
The Game Changers is a type of film that falls under the category of documentaries and recently made available for viewing on Netflix. It mainly looks at the general details and overall impact of a diet that is plant-based. In general, the aforementioned film did not try to present a standpoint that is neutral based on scientific data coming from both those that eat meat and those who focused on a plant-based diet. The Game Changers misrepresented several studies, completely removed any of the research that ran counter to its claims, and the film also lacked any form of context for its one-sided assertions.
This documentary also utilized imagery that is striking and scientific research that is poorly conducted and skewed to make viewers make the thinking of people altered in such a way that it tries to make people lean towards a plant-based diet. The trailer showed some big names in terms of star power. These stars are considered in peak form in terms of health and performance. While the documentary aims to show that plant-based diets can lead to improved athleticism and fitness, it did so while wallowing in scientific errors and a biased approach.
While the first few paragraphs of this article pointed out the weaknesses of the Game Changers, below are some of the things that the documentary did relatively well:
- Production Values- The Game Changers used cinematography that covered several anecdotal stories and was well done.
- A representation that is high profile– The video was promoted by fitness legends such as Schwarzenegger although he was only featured for a short amount of time. Chris Paul and Jackie Chan were some of the names used to get more attention for the film and have the representation of the film increased which undoubtedly helped improve the case of the film.
- Shock value- Several visual representations were also used to shock viewers such as erections of male individuals on a plant-based diet and cloudy blood. While these images were convincing and somewhat cool, these shocking imageries were considered flawed by most filmmakers’ standards.
Game Changers: Arguments and Why They Won’t Stand
Below are some of the assertions and arguments that the Game Changers put forward but won’t stand:
The Roman Gladiators- One of the primary claims made by the film involves one of the toughest fighters from any era- the Roman Gladiators.
Anthropologists found that gladiator remains had increased amounts of strontium which points to the fact that they were mainly vegetable eaters. The gladiators were even referred to as Horearli which means barley and bean muncher. While this finding may point towards warriors that are full of strength and vigor eating beans for snacks, it does not put this scenario in its proper context. This means that it overlooks the fact that Gladiators were slaves, prisoners of war, or offenders that have been condemned. The aforementioned food items that were given to these warriors were probably done so to make them fatter or to build bulk.
Also, the plant-based diet would be relatively cheap back then compared to protein-filled diets that involved meats. People can then compare these Gladiators to the Olympians or those who voluntarily joined the Olympics. These ancient athletes were some of the first to include meat into their diets to improve their athletic performance. So for the Game Changers to assert that the best athletes were those who only ate meat is a weak argument.
Vegans have more strength than those who eat meat- One of the most skillful mixed martial artists, Connor Mcgregor, and the film used one fight where he, as a meat-eater, lost to a vegan fighter named Nate Diaz. The film uses this argument to point out that vegans are superior in strength compared to those who eat meat.
The given example was used out of context. This is because McGregor fought Diaz with a significant weight difference caused by the cancellation of an earlier scheduled fight. Eventually, Conor McGregor was able to fight in his normal weight and won against Diaz all while maintaining his meat-eating ways. This is once again a weak argument for the superiority of plant-based diets. While it does show that people can still perform at athletic levels with a plant-based diet, most athletes will usually eat meat to boost their strength and performance.
Diets that are plant-based are ideal for athletes doing endurance sports and activities- The film also looked at the performance of an ultramarathoner holding a world record by the name of Scott Jurek. This assertion is crucial as it does point out that athletes can do endurance activities (such as marathons) on a plant-based diet. What it tries to do though, is to make it seem like going vegan is superior to eating meat for endurance training. While there is no available data on which diet is better for endurance training or sports, the fact remains that different athletes can compete at almost the same level regardless of the diet they observed. This just shows that the alleged superiority of a plant-based diet over diets that had meat is questionable at best.