Published Feb 26, 2009As the purpose and message of this documentary are so glaringly obvious and unintentionally amusing on a "Really, ya think?" level it is difficult not to wander off mentally and consider themes of war not examined in the film.
For example, when recordings are played of military officials trying to coerce JFK into hostile action, one can only wonder why society gives a paycheque and health benefits to one pre-meditated murderer but imprisons another who has similar motivations, only outside of a constructed system. Another random thought involves political leaders getting into a ring and going at it Gladiator style, rather than getting impressionable youths to risk their lives for a glorified pissing contest.
With a condescending first-person framing device that points out the obvious to any viewers who might have been asleep, Virtual JFK presents archival footage of JFK speaking out about the defeatist attitudes of those who think peace is not possible, while avoiding war in any way possible, be it in Cuba, Germany or Vietnam. The doc then compares Kennedy's foreign policy tactics with those of Lyndon Johnson's, post-assassination, pointing out that if JFK wasn't shot, many lives would not have been lost in Vietnam. No shit.
For anyone who was unable to figure out the true agenda of the documentary, there is an epilogue that asks the question: "Does it matter who is president in matters of War and Peace?" and then answers that question by pointing out that history apparently repeats itself — vote Obama!
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as the documentary has its heart in the right place and does a solid job of constructing a narrative out of archival footage and recorded conversations, successfully making LBJ look like a moron. But this "what if?" scenario should only prove revelatory to anyone whose head has been buried in the sand since birth. (Vagrant)