October 2, 2004

Flash movie The Meatrix

I watched the flash movie called The Meatrix...and I realized that the people who made this movie are really making an argument in a form that appeals to people! I think that using an animated movie to send a message to the audience is a very effective way to convince someone of your point of view. Instead of listening to someone giving a long talk about the terrors of factory farming, the movie immediately grabs your attention and encourages you to watch it. Also, having the short flash movie relate to a real movie that almost everyone has seen (The Matrix) is a really creative way to present the argument.
The claim these people are trying to make in this short movie is the fact that factory farming is cruel to animals, small farm owners, and us as consumers. They talk about the mass pollution caused by factory farms, and the antibiotic resistant germs that have developed as a result of the doses of antibiotics fed to the animals that are slowly pushing us closer "to an epidemic that cannot be solved." They show rows of pigs caged together in tiny pens, and a chicken getting its beak cut off...this is using pathos to appeal to the audience's emotions, to arouse their sympathy and to convince them that factory farming is wrong. They also kind of scare the viewer by mentioning how we as consumers are affected by the germs and pollution (Im not sure if that would also be pathos or not ??).
I think that in a way this is a good and effective method of making a well-reasoned argument because the animation and sound effects and the cartoon characters really appeal to the audience. But I also think that they should have discussed the other side of the argument, like how these very efficient factory farms help us by reducing the cost of meat and increasing the availability of products. The makers of this short movie are pretty biased and are only concerned about convincing the audience of their point of view.
Another thing that really struck me was that animated movies such as The Meatrix might have a totally opposite effect on viewers. They use humor and make the characters act like the people in the movie The Matrix do, and I think that sometimes viewers would just enjoy watching the animation and they would end up laughing. When I showed this movie to my friend she just chuckled and didn't seem to have gotten the message the movie was meant to convey. I realized that some people just wouldn't take it seriously, as they might with a traditional academic essay, and that made me kind of sad because I know that the makers of this movie are trying not to burden the audience with a formal academic essay, but rather appeal to them with this movie, and that might not always work.

Posted by at 5:39 PM