SUNDANCE: The Game Changers Directed by Louie Psihoyos
Published Jan 22, 2018Vegans are decidedly humourless, their dogma so outspoken that they've even managed to drain the fun out of making fun of them — jokes about vegans and how they love to preach their veganism are played out at this point. God bless 'em for trying, but vegans have simply sapped all the fun out of their lifestyle and its many benefits.
As such, The Game Changers is, for the most part, not a particularly fun documentary. Instead, it feels like what you'd watch when your science teacher wheeled out that rickety TV machine in junior high. Produced by James Cameron and hosted by MMA champion James Wilks, it's an entirely artless 90 minutes, with the occasional semi-interesting dick reference.
That said, anyone with a passing interest in dietary health (and the endless stream of Netflix titles about how the contents of your refrigerator are trying to kill you) will find plenty to grapple with in this sports-centric documentary.
The Game Changers seeks to dismantle the myth that extreme athletes need animal-based protein to maintain their peak physical abilities, and it certainly makes a compelling point by utilizing dozens of Olympic athletes, body builders, NFL players, scientists, health experts and, well, even Arnold Schwarzenegger, who speaks out against the meat-as-machismo messaging he preached in the '80s. There are anecdotes, there are seriously impressive athletic feats and there are plenty of confusing graphs that feature the names of amino acids and diagrams of clogged arteries.
There is plenty of compelling science within, and the project makes a decidedly strong case for veganism. There are also a handful of colourful moments, like the doctor who makes Miami Dolphins teammates measure their night-time boners after a night of vegan dining (seriously). That said, there are so many facts and anecdotes that it starts to feel like they're beating a dead horseradish (sorry).
Those with a passing interest in veganism, food manufacturing or athleticism will find plenty to love in The Game Changers. It's a compelling batch of information, but it's not exactly a memorable film. It's a shame, because the science suggests the vegans are really onto something. If only they could learn to have some fun with it. (Independent)