Vegan and plant-based lifestyles
have completely shaken up the food world over the last decade or so. Whilst steering clear of meat used to be a niche way of living, it has now been hugely normalized.
Part of this is due to the massive increase in the use of the Internet which has provided people with information that was often otherwise distorted or hidden by the food and, more specifically, the meat industry.
It is now much easier for people to make their own conclusions on the merits of living meat-free and as a result, huge numbers of people have changed their dietary norms.
This shift has both resulted in and been helped by the release of a series of notorious documentaries which rapidly contributed to public discourse on the matter.
The first of these to really make waves was Cowspiracy. This film made numerous claims against omnivorous diets, encouraged people to think about the environmental impact of their diet and shone a light on the extent of the food industry’s influence.
Whilst it no doubt made a big impact on many people, it did come under some criticism for distorting figures and facts for the sake of sensationalism.
As vegan and plant-based lifestyles have become more mainstream, however, there is less of a need for outsiders to make outlandish claims to get noticed.
Instead, there is less pressure on films discussing this topic to grab people’s attention and they can instead focus more on giving people convincing but honest points.
The Game Changers is probably the pinnacle of these “grown-up” pro-vegan documentaries.
The 2018 film was backed by numerous big names including James Cameron, Jackie Chan, Pamela Anderson, Novak Djokovic and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It is primarily made up of showcases of vegan athletes’ success stories, interviews with scientific experts in relevant fields and highlights of favourable studies, and the story of presenter James Wilks.
Wilks is a vegan activist and combatives expert and instructor who suffered a debilitating injury as part of his professional mixed martial arts training. Throughout the movie, Wilks intertwines the tale of how his switch to a plant-based diet accelerated his recovery from injury massively.
The film’s release was met with mostly positive reviews from both critics and viewers. The praise was not unanimous however and criticisms have been made for perceived scientific inaccuracies and biased presentation of information.
Whilst a topic such as this one is always likely to bring on some disagreements, there is no doubt that overall, the movie makes some very compelling arguments for cutting out or at least cutting down on meat consumption.
Not necessarily every viewer will come away planning to completely overhaul their diet, but many will start to look at how they fuel their body in a new way.
The movie starts off by using history to make its point. The vegetarian diet of the Roman gladiators is convincingly highlighted as an indicator that throughout human existence people have reached their physical peaks by eating that way.
Various world-class athletes are interviewed on how their diet changes have helped them. Among them includes Bryant Jennings, Scott Jurek, Patrik Baboumian and Derrick Morgan.
Initially, the attribute highlighted is the longevity of these individuals. Not only are they all world-class athletes but most of them are also breaking records for the age at which they are competing at such a level.
It is not only lean endurance athletes who are showcased, however.
Possibly the most famous strength and size athlete in the world is also brought on camera. Arnold Schwarzenegger both explains how a plant-based diet is working for him and offers insight into how marketing has convinced so many people to eat an unhealthy amount of meat.
Various clips of adverts promoting the idea that eating meat is an essential part of masculinity are made to look silly when The Terminator and former Mr Olympia points out that the same manipulative tactics were used by the tobacco industry a few decades earlier.
The evolution of the human body is also explored to highlight that we are not very well suited for eating meat and instead process fruit and vegetables far more easily. The length of the human digestive system and the shape of our teeth are pointed out as indicators of how different we are from evolutionarily built carnivores.
It also, of course, follows in the steps of its predecessor, Cowspiracy. The effects of deforestation, carbon dioxide emissions, overuse of freshwater and water pollution are all laid out as reasons to stay away from consuming meat.
This range of angles from which it attacks meat-loving culture is what makes it such a convincing argument. Not every vegan makes their dietary decisions for the same reasons.
Some are compelled by environmental arguments whilst others are moved by their care for animal welfare and yet others do it for health reasons.
What The Game Changers does best is cover various bases so that at least one aspect of it is likely to resonate with the viewer and affect how they think about their food. It is not a perfect documentary but is undeniably impactful and should be respected for that.
What happened in the movie The Game Changers?
The Game Changers takes a somewhat scattershot approach to its argument. This would come across as confusing possibly if it wasn’t held together by the compelling story of presenter James Wilks.
Wilks was an energetic child who could rarely be made to sit down. His parents found a way to channel this when they sent him into karate classes. He immediately fell in love with the martial art.
After he was beaten up as a teenager, he realised that the choreographed moves of karate alone weren’t enough to guarantee his ability to defend himself, so he decided to explore martial arts further.
He followed Bruce Lee’s method of studying different styles, finding what suited him best, discarding what was useless and honing his skills as an actual fighter.
As an adult, he began fighting professionally, first in The Ultimate Fighter 5 and then moving onto the UFC.
His career was marred by injuries and he was eventually forced into retirement when doctors warned him that he faced a “significantly high risk of paralysis” if you continue to fight due to sustaining a fractured vertebra.
However, in The Game Changers, Wilks makes the case for how his switch in diet hugely accelerated his recovery from one of his most serious injuries.
Throughout the film, he breaks personal records and even a long-standing rope record in his gym after months out from injury.
The movie is not just about how Wilks used a new diet to become healthier though.
Throughout, this main storyline is infused with many points on how veganism can be helpful to people and the planet and what scientific evidence there is to show not only why we should eat this way but also how we have evolved specifically to benefit from eating this way.
This format works well as it provides a compelling human story throughout whilst also providing a scientific argument that remains engaging thanks to the punctuation of Wilks’ personal side.
How long is The Game Changers movie?
The movie lasts around 86 minutes which is perfect for this style of film.
There are so many aspects of veganism to explore. Whilst they are all compelling in their own way, not every viewer is going to find every angle as convincing as the next.
Therefore, the best way to have a wide impact is to touch on all of them to a convincing, but not overbearing, depth.
It spends 15 to 20 minutes looking at the success of athletes who have switched to a plant-based lifestyle, the scientifically recorded health benefits, the environmental impact of the meat industry, the historical evidence for vegan and vegetarian athletes who performed at the very top and what evolutionary evidence our bodies show for how well we utilise plants to keep ourselves healthy.
Interwoven throughout all of this is James Wilks’ personal story of how the diet change affected his life.
If all of these aspects were covered in full, then a more convincing argument may come across for the points individually.
However, this would take hours if they were all still to be part of one film and therefore their overall impact would probably be greatly diluted.
As interesting as The Game Changers manages to make the topic, very few people would be able to sit through scientific evidence supporting veganism for 3+ hours!
Coming in at just under an hour and a half, The Game Changers is the perfect length to sit down for a compelling argument that educates you without ever becoming boring.
Is James Cameron involved in The Game Changers?
The name James Cameron for many people won’t necessarily invoke thoughts of documentary making or veganism. In fact, arguably his biggest film, Terminator is in many ways the opposite of these things.
It is about blood, gore and action, led by the superhuman muscles of Arnold Schwarzenegger who was at the time eating huge amounts of animal products.
As Cameron’s career has gone on, however, these films have tended to take on more universal themes and display a caring attitude toward planet Earth.
There is no doubt that Avatar was a huge blockbuster film in the same way that Terminator was but alongside all the glorious visual effects it was also trying to make a point about how humans care for the land and natural resources.
James Cameron’s role as a producer means that the movie has been put together really well by one of the most prestigious names in filmmaking.
Some of the attributes that have been present throughout his career such as the ability to tell a compelling story and present something visually pleasing in The Game Changers.
His artistic exploration of important themes that has grown in prominence throughout his career also comes to a pinnacle in this documentary.
What is the most important thing you learn from watching the documentary movie The Game Changers?
Exactly what you consider to be the most important thing that you can learn from The Game Changers is going to depend on what matters to you most.
If you find human stories compelling and are encouraged by good representations of other people’s stories, then you are going to find something very moving in The Game Changers.
Not only is the main presenter James Wilks someone with an interesting journey, but many other athletes interviewed throughout also will make a lasting impact on certain viewers.
Those who are pessimistic about their body’s longevity or the lack of progress that they are making in their athletic field will find a lot of encouragement here.
For those people, the lesson that plant-based diets can greatly extend your athletic peak will be the most important thing to learn.
Other people may be more moved by the environmental impact of certain practices and what steps they can take to protect the world and its environment. These people also have something very important takeaway from the movie.
Until relatively recently, the link between meat consumption and environmental degradation was barely known at all. People loudly claimed their disapproval of the Earth’s degradation while unknowingly contributing to it through their overconsumption of meat for years.
These people who discover the impact of their dietary habits through The Game Changers will no doubt find that the extent of the meat industry’s environmental impact is the most important thing that they learn.
Some people like to use the history of either the human body or human societies as indicators of the best ways to live their lives.
Adverts may have many people believing that eating meat all day is how people have always put on muscle and become top in their field, whether that be in the gladiator arena or for hunting prey.
The Game Changers does a great job of countering this rhetoric, instead showing that there are reasons it has been easier to record meat consumption throughout history than plant consumption.
This uneven collection of data has led to a modern misunderstanding of the proportions of diet before the modern era.
This will be a very important lesson to people who eat the paleo diets advertised by men’s health magazines that incorrectly encourages overconsumption of meat due to a supposed naturalism.
In short, the most important thing that you learn from watching the documentary movie The Game Changers is going to vary massively, depending on what matters to you most.
The fact that there are so many things throughout the documentary that could be considered the most important, is a testament to how richly filled with valuable content the film is.
The Game Changers debunked
Chances are that if you watched The Game Changers or are at least reading about it, then you have something of an interest in health and nutrition.
There are no doubts that some parts of the film are very credible and overall, it makes a compelling argument in favour of the vegan lifestyle that the majority of its cast adhere to.
Simultaneously, though, the piece has come under much criticism for its cherry-picking of data to suit its agenda and the broad generalisations used at points to give more weight to small and weak studies that would not be considered so convincing in the scientific community.
There are many aspects of veganism that are explored throughout the movie, but most of them are only skimmed and approached from a predetermined vegan stance.
The lack of depth is understandable, as if every one of these aspects were to be explored in full then the film would become far too long to watch.
In fact, to explore any one of the individual points that the film brings up, would alone make for a very lengthy documentary.
One way that The Game Changers takes on this challenge is by primarily presenting just one point of view; The hard-line stance on a plant-based lifestyle and against meat consumption.
This means that almost all of the runtime is dedicated to arguments that support this view, rarely looking at counterarguments that can easily be found in the scientific community and anecdotal stories.
Clearly, the film has no problem using scientific studies and anecdotal stories when they are in support of this message but excludes any that contradict it.
The film uses studies to make grand claims about the health benefits of veganism. This includes heart health benefits, decreased inflammation, lower cancer risk and improved physical performance, even for athletes already competing at a world-class level.
There is a general consensus among experts that a well-planned and balanced vegan diet can provide enough protein, nutrients and minerals to allow people to potentially reach the limits of their health.
There is very little modern scientific data to say that if done correctly people will have any problems from living a plant-based lifestyle.
One reason this needs to be planned, however, is the often-poor balance of the nine essential amino acids that are found in plants.
Whilst it is true that it is more than possible to get a well-rounded protein intake by eating the right range of plants, the film makes this sound a lot easier than it is.
Whilst athletes such as those in the movie will have dedicated teams who greatly assist with things such as planning and preparation, the average person may not always have the time, money and expertise to get this balance right with such regularity.
This isn’t quite a debunking of the protein claims in the film, but it is important to represent what trying to achieve a healthy diet whilst omitting animal products could actually be like for a person who’s lower on time or cash.
The film does take a more upfront approach to the issues of vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies which can occur in some vegans. Whilst it is possible to get these from plant products, is often harder for the body to absorb and it can be difficult to reach the minimum requirements.
The Game Changers is upfront that many people will just need to take a supplement.
The two “studies” conducted during the film on professional American football players are undoubtedly interesting and make for good TV, but can’t in any way be considered scientific proof.
The expert overseeing the second test does briefly admit this and the results of the experiments may well be replicated in a more scientific setting in the future, but would not be seriously considered as scientific data by nutrition experts.
One area in which the film seems to completely miss the mark is in one of the early sections where it is implied that historically some of the strongest humans have stuck to vegetarian diets.
It uses Roman gladiators as the example here, but the reality is that people’s diets have varied massively depending on where they lived throughout human history.
For example, the Maasai people who live by the river Nile live almost exclusively off meat. Conversely, the traditional Okinawa diet from Japan is based almost entirely on plants.
Both populations have low levels of chronic illnesses such as type II diabetes and heart disease, which can both be found in modern diets that are not properly balanced.
So, whilst there are indeed some groups of people who have historically lived very healthy lives without much meat, this isn’t indicative of the only way to live.
People have lived just as healthily with many different eating habits. It’s about finding something that is right for you, and for many people that is indeed a plant-based lifestyle.
Especially with all the great options out there today which provides an alternative to the processed meat options, which indisputably cause many health problems according to the scientific community.
One odd claim is made partway through in which it is stated that the human brain requires carbohydrates and glucose to function.
It is by now well documented that humans can enter into ketosis, which happens when a person is using fats for fuels instead of carbohydrates and glucose.
There are numerous recorded health benefits to this and it is a state that can still be achieved without eating meat products, so it is a slightly confusing claim to make!
A tasty oily salad can fit right into a ketogenic diet!
Overall, the film is of course very much correct about the fact that vegan lifestyles can be extremely healthy. It also makes very compelling accusations against marketing within the meat industry and its environmental impact of it.
These are hard to make a convincing counterargument against.
However, the suggestion throughout that true healthiness can only be achieved through vegan lifestyles is primarily supported by cherry-picking scientific data and relying on anecdotes.
Healthwise, if approached correctly both omnivorous and plant-based diets can work extremely well. People have reached extremely high physical standards by adhering to both, which is something that the film implies is not the case.
However, if you can live an extremely healthy lifestyle through a well-balanced vegan diet then you will also be making the social impact of cutting down your carbon footprint and contributing to the welfare of animals.
In the end, vegan wins!
Whilst The Game Changers may not be making the most neutral points, it is at least encouraging people to think about taking steps that will work for them health-wise whilst also making sure they’re not contributing to social and animal welfare problems.
It’s the perfect time to give the vegan transition a go!
Not only is the issue of climate change and therefore reduction of meat consumption becoming an ever more urgent matter, but there has never been such a great range of meat-free products to fill your kitchen with.
Vegans can still live a healthy happy life filled with plant-based cheeses, sausages and plenty more.
The Game Changers Netflix
Back in the days of Blockbuster, people wouldn’t dream of film distributors also being a creative force. The two were very much separated, although people may still have love for both Blockbuster and Disney, for example.
Everything has completely switched up nowadays. Netflix used to send out DVDs produced by other people and now they churn out their own movies like there’s no tomorrow, just as production teams have now started setting up their own streaming services.
Netflix originals can be a bit hit and miss but there’s no doubt that The Game Changers is one of the streaming giant’s hits.
It currently has a solid 70% of Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.8/10 on IMDB.
As well as being a hit on the streaming service that made it, The Game Changers has also debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2018 as well as getting a one-day worldwide screening in September 2019.
The good thing about having the Netflix team behind the film’s release is that there is a lot of expertise and resources going into production.
It’s hard to go wrong when some of the biggest names in film such as James Cameron, Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger are involved!
In fact, Netflix was clearly so happy with the impact and perception of The Game Changers that they poured money into another pro-vegan film, Seaspiracy, a sequel to Cowspiracy that both also had large cultural impacts.
The Game Changers Recipes
The film does not really go into recommending specific recipes very much. It is perhaps the film’s main weakness that it does not take the time to differentiate between healthy diets and unhealthy diets whether they be plant-based or not.
For example, when discussing how vegans can get all of the nine essential amino acids from plants alone, it may have been helpful to suggest what combinations are most well-rounded.
This is a big opportunity lost because there are some classic combinations that help to contribute to vegan healthy lifestyles and encourage people to cook without meat.
Some of the most popular amino acid combinations include pasta and peas, whole-wheat bread and peanut butter and black beans and rice.
These combinations don’t need to be eaten literally as a combination of two, of course, pasta and peas can be had with your sauce of choice whilst black beans and rice might fit well into your favourite taco recipe.
To be fair, the film has an obligation to stick to a certain runtime so that it would be digestible for people and not become too long as to undermine its convincing message.
However, a brief section that highlighted that there are healthy and unhealthy ways to live a plant-based life and some quick pointers to get people looking into this may have fitted in nicely.
There are plenty of reputable vegan chefs out there, and it would have fitted into the style of the film well to possibly have one interviewed.
The Game Changers Athletes
The documentary is presented by a very impressive athlete, James Wilks, whose personal athletic journey was only held by his transition to veganism.
Some of the other athletes interviewed throughout are literally the best to ever do what they do and they achieved this while staying meat-free.
Here are some of the most impressive athletes in The Game Changers.
Presenter and former MMA star James Wilks was born in Leicestershire, England and has had a very interesting and varied career.
His interest in martial arts has not only seen him partake in 11 professional MMA fights – 7 of which he won – but also sent him on a path towards becoming a world-renowned combatives expert.
These are some of the most physically demanding things a human can do and so hearing such an individual heap praise upon a plant-based lifestyle certainly gives weight to the points made throughout the film.
Arnie’s physical feats are admittedly quite different to some of the athletes interviewed throughout the movie. It is hard to dispute that he reached the very top of his sport though and he still remains the most well-known bodybuilder of all time.
Whilst he admits to eating excessive amounts of meat products during his heyday, the diet became hugely taxing on his body. Although to many people he looked better than anyone else on earth, all of those muscles don’t necessarily equate to a healthy body.
In fact, by the time he was looking at a life past bodybuilding, health complications had started to arise due to his unbalanced lifestyle.
With many more years now on him, he has managed to achieve a better-rounded level of health and he attributes much of this due to his shift away from meat and dairy.
Old school bodybuilding, which includes an excessive amount of meat consumption, is becoming more widely recognised as detrimental to your health in the long term, and Arnie is helping people to approach their fitness in a way that achieves the same results in the short term without causing so many problems down the line. A plant-based diet is a crucial part of this.
The psychology of masculinity and meat-eating is also a very interesting topic that the documentary covers well and there is perhaps no one better to offer that insight than the manliest man on screens for decades.
Adverts have indeed helped to create distorted fantasies of why we should eat certain products, and The Terminator is right to point out that there’s nothing impressive about filling yourself with food that’s detrimental to your vitality and strength.
In fact, some of the strongest people in the world today are vegans.
One plant-eater whose muscle mass doesn’t seem to be depleted by steering clear of meat is Patrik Baboumian.
The Iranian-born German-Armenian is an ardent vegan and has broken numerous German and world records in various feats of strength including yoke-walks and log lifting.
He makes the particularly memorable point that he has achieved the strength of an ox by eating like one! These feats of strength have been achieved whilst being only 5’7 too!
The American cyclist only got into cycling at the age of 26 but managed to become an Olympic silver medalist in the sport anyway.
The 2015 documentary Personal Gold: An Underdog Story. was made to bring light to just how impressive that rapid ascent was.
She attributes her physical ability, which was both developed late and lasted far beyond most athletes’ normal peaks, to her vegan diet.
It is a lifestyle she takes very seriously and spends time advocating and speaking for the cause. She has founded two non-profits and is the executive director of the non-profit Switch4Good.
The organisation began as an understandably outraged response to a misleading milk commercial prior to the 2012 Olympics and has grown to a team of world-class athletes and scientists who put forward convincing reasons to give up dairy.
Some other huge sports and performance names also lent their support to the film through their roles as executive producers. This includes Lewis Hamilton, Jackie Chan and Novak Djokovic.
The Game Changers (2021)
Some people get confused, thinking that a sequel of The Game Changers came out in 2021. This is understandable since Netflix certainly has a habit of developing sequels of its more popular pieces and 2018’s The Game Changers was certainly one of its most talked-about films.
It may still come to be as there are many aspects in the film that deserve even further exploration. Perhaps a sequel could also respond to some of the criticisms that have been directed at the films and address counterpoints that have been made to the film’s claims.
The movie was certainly popular enough for people to get excited about a sequel and it would only serve to stimulate the discussion further and encourage people to consider their eating habits and their effects more closely.
The Game Changers from 2021 could actually be referring to one of two things. The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is a sports TV show that came out that year and Game Changer is a thriller and action movie that also came out that year.
Documentaries like The Game Changers take a long time to put together, especially with all of those big names involved. If we were to hear that something was in production, it may take a few years to see an end result. It’s certainly possible though!
Seaspiracy is a recent anti-industry documentary sequel that did well and we might be lucky enough to see the same with The Game Changers.
The Game Changers Summary
Whilst the movie focuses on the topic of veganism, it approaches it in a manner that is happy to jump around from aspect to aspect. Luckily, this doesn’t make it confusing or hard to focus on because it’s held together very well by the personal story of James Wilks, who presents the documentary.
Wilks’s personal story runs throughout the film. He was a particularly energetic and excitable child whose parents often struggled to get him to sit down.
When they sent him to karate classes, they were immediately pleased to see how well Wilks fit in that he’d found a source through which he could channel his boundless energy. It was a perfect match.
Although he enjoyed the martial art hugely, he realised its limitations when he was beaten up during adolescence. Whilst karate taught him things such as discipline and focus, the choreographed moves offered less than he expected in a real-life combat situation.
Wilks was determined to learn the necessary skills to defend himself properly.
To do this he decided to take a leaf out of Bruce Lee’s book. This involved exploring many different forms of martial arts and picking out the parts that were most well suited to him.
This involved filtering out much of the chart that he did not find helpful and adjusting them to his body and style of combat. This exponentially improved his skills as a real fighter.
This interest of his and the dedication that went alongside it led him to a career in professional fighting. This started in the ultimate fighter five and he later moved on to matches in the UFC.
His career, as only professional fighters are, was blighted by injuries when his doctor warned him that he faced a “significantly high risk of paralysis” if he continued to fight, he had to face the inevitability of retirement.
He had suffered a fractured vertebra and needed to put his health and safety first period
Whilst Wilks was unable to escape the injuries that are inflicted upon so many professional fighters, there was one particular injury to his legs that threatened to put him out of action for several months, not only in the field of professional fighting but also as a combatives expert.
Unable to move well, he began his time in injury researching means of recovering quickly and what steps you can take to ensure his optimal health. This educational journey introduced him to many of the points that are explored throughout the film.
The first of these is the fact that throughout history there have been groups of people who have achieved physical greatness through a plant-based diet.
The example that is picked out in the documentary is Roman gladiators. For years it has been thought that because archaeological research has found more evidence of hunting than plant production, there must have been a greater emphasis given to this.
However, hunting often involves stone tools and bones, which take a long time to break down and decay. This makes finding their remains even centuries later relatively easy.
In comparison, plant produce degrades in the ground very quickly. There aren’t anywhere near as many tools used in the collection and production of plant foods as there are in the hunting and preparation of meat. This means less evidence is left behind.
Until recently, that is. We now have the scientific means to look at archaeological sites with microscopic detail. This allows us to see plant residue and so finally we are starting to get a much more even picture of what prehistoric diets were really like.
Plants were very much part of most humans’ diets throughout history and, in some parts of the world, made up close to the entirety of people’s diets.
This fact runs very counterintuitively to the story that is often peddled by the meat industry of strong cavepeople living healthy lives from unbalanced carnivorous diets.
Realising the holes in this story compelled Wilks to look into other misunderstandings that he and many other people may hold.
The viewer is then introduced to modern athletes who have indeed achieved physical greatness by following a plant-based diet.
The success of individuals such as Patrik Baboumian and Dotsie Bausch only served as further evidence to Wilks that athletic excellence could be achieved without the consumption of meat.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is also introduced, first as evidence that world-class aesthetics and muscle building could be achieved with plants (in comparison to some of the leaner endurance athletes introduced earlier) and then as a voice of reason against the madness of the meat industry’s marketing.
There is arguably no individual who is better suited to make the argument so compelling, and the documentary gladly highlights his ‘manly’ credentials which countless adverts would have you think are unachievable without meat.
An ‘interesting’ comparison is made with the tobacco industry, who just a couple of decades earlier set the meat industry’s template by funding misleading studies, presenting smoking as a healthy habit and hiring icons of health to market it.
There are also 2 small ‘experiments’ conducted with two different sets of 3 American football players.
In the first, the 3 players eat different meals containing either meat or a vegetable substitute. It is then shown that eating meat caused the blood of the athletes to become significantly more clouded from the meat’s fat content. The circulation of this around the body has multiple negative health implications.
The second experiment measures how eating vegetables increases the strength and time of their erections whilst asleep, which is a scene that the athletes find just as amusing as most viewers will. Don’t worry, it’s all kept very kid-friendly and respectable though!
Both of the tests are undoubtedly interesting and make for good entertainment, but can’t really be counted as scientific evidence. There is a very small sample size being used and there are other factors not being fully taken into account.
The expert overseeing the second test acknowledges that the results are only indicative of an interesting point of research that should be followed.
So there aren’t any outrageous claims being made here, but it is entertaining to see and certainly gets you thinking about how what you eat may immediately be affecting your body.
A further section takes a similar approach by measuring the blood pressure and cholesterol of firefighters.
The shocking fact that the number one cause of death of firefighters in the line of duty is heart attack is revealed. This makes methods that can improve these mentioned benchmarks in firefighters especially valuable.
In the chosen fire station, the staff are encouraged to try and follow one week without eating meat, with their blood pressure and cholesterol being measured before and after. Some of the interviewed firefighters see their numbers drop hugely in just a week.
The relief on some of their faces makes for very wholesome viewing.
The same point can be made as with the American football players that this should be taken as a point of interest rather than scientific data, but it certainly makes the topic worth looking into and contributes to the film’s entertainment factor.
The film is also not afraid to present scientific insight straight on, without necessarily having to dramatize it or make it a story of its own.
In particular, the evidence discussed for higher rates of various cancers and type 2 diabetes among meat eaters is shocking and holds it’s own being told to the viewer straight without any frills.
Some may make the counterargument that balanced omnivorous diets aren’t necessarily such great causes of disease, and the problem is that many people eat unbalanced omnivorous diets.
However, the point could be made that the fact so many people struggle to maintain a balanced omnivorous diet is proof that it is not a feasible choice for people who wish to eat healthily.
The moreish and, in some cases, addictive nature of many animal products and especially processed products, means that arguably it is not a diet that lends itself to balance for most people.
People following plant-based diets in many respects find it much easier to maintain a balance to their eating habits. This is one of the avenues that could perhaps be explored further in a sequel if one were to ever happen!
The Game Changers Netflix Review
The Game Changers is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with. It makes compelling arguments and encourages viewers to take an important look at their current eating habits, why they are the way they are and what the benefits may be to the body and the earth of making some changes.
The well-rounded way that it approaches this subject means that at least one point of view is likely to be of interest to any given viewer who cares at all about what they eat.
You may not be particularly fascinated by health but could instead find interest in topics about the history of eating habits or what evolutionary evidence we have for certain eating habits. Other people may just have an interest in all of the famous names involved and seeing some inspirational stories.
This strength is also a weakness, as the holistic approach to the topic means that none of the aspects are explored in as much detail as they could be.
All of the individual topics could hold their weight with dedicated longer sections that address counterpoints and more specific areas.
For example, the roman gladiators are given as a case study of people who followed predominantly plant-based diets, but there aren’t really any other groups from history explored.
If there was more time given to show that this has been a worldwide historical trend that has consistently allowed people from different cultures to reach the peak of their performance, then the argument would be more convincing.
However, this would involve elongating the section significantly and if this was to be done with every section then we’d have an unbearably long film that would get diminishing returns in terms of convincing people for veganism’s cause.
In the end, there would have been pros and cons to either approach and the decision made was probably the correct one in terms of maximising impact and remaining entertainment.
James Wilks does a good job presenting the documentary. His background means that the points are especially interesting coming from him, as old school stereotypes don’t exactly equate a vegan or vegetarian diet with being a world-class combatives expert and professional fighter.
His story is very well-woven throughout the film to give it some much-needed punctuation and provides a more human face to all of the information being presented.
The main criticism of the film would be the cherry-picking method through which it presents its arguments. Whilst it does a good job of mainly steering clear of outright lies, it often fails to consider things in their entirety.
Whilst many criticisms of carnivorous diets are valid, it often fails to make the distinction between the balanced omnivorous diets that some people follow and the unbalanced omnivorous diets that many more are negatively affected by.
It is an unfair comparison between balanced vegan diets and unbalanced omnivorous diets. However, the benefits of balanced vegan diets are presented well and definitely still give food for thought.
It could also be criticised for cherry-picking athletes who have been successful with vegan diets whilst refusing to acknowledge the many athletes who compete at the top level whilst eating balanced omnivorous diets.
Usain Bolt famously broke the 100m world record after binging on chicken after all! However, there is no doubt that people who find a balanced vegan diet that is right for them can definitely reach their full athletic potential. The interviews with plant-based athletes definitely help to confirm this point for viewers.
If one is to review the film in terms of its impact, then there is no doubt that it comes out with a high score. The techniques it uses to put forward veganism are undoubtedly convincing, and many people will finish it with plans to change their eating habits or stick to their vegan diets.
This was probably the film’s one and only intention and, on this front, it hits the bullseye.
Whilst those who are committed to scientific rigour may have some problems with how the information is presented in the film, there are still many positives.
Critic aggregation websites mostly agree, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 70% score and (although the audience score is an amazing 99%) and IMDB giving it a 7.8/10.
It’s definitely worth a watch and will at least make you curious about different ways of eating and get you thinking about why our dietary habits are the way they are and what you might get out of changing them.
It manages to do this whilst being entertaining and having a personal side, so there’s something there for everyone.
Make sure to check it out if you haven’t yet!
You might be interested in these other thought-provoking films…