Interesting visualisation of UK statistical averages despite being far too light and superficial to be of real value
One life. One lifetime. What does it all add up to? Imagine if you could see, piled up in front of you, all the things you will ever use and consume in your lifetime. How many cups of tea will you drink? How many tonnes of faeces will you create? How many words will you speak? How many tears will you cry? This film is the answer to these questions and others as it attempts to take the average footprint of each and every person in the UK and uses two children to chart the resources that they will use and the waste they will produce over their coming lifetimes.
With environmental issues becoming more and more important and more and more in the media, this film seemed like an interesting look at the average footprint of the average British individual. Sadly what it actually was, was a visualisation of the UK statistical average of various things such as the number of baths, the amount of milk we drink, the amount of faeces we produce, the amount of toilet paper we use, the amount of sex we have and so on. In this regard it is actually pretty good because it is structured well from cradle to grave and uses the statistics well to produce plenty of amusing visual treats.
These include loads of eggs being dropped on a stone floor, a lifetime of new clothes hung outdoors, rubber ducks on an English lake, an outdoor pool of beer and so on. In doing this you can see where the heart of the film is, because the visual design is all. The film tries to do more than this by occasionally pushing an environmental message that hits home (eg the length of time taken for shower gel chemicals to disappear) but it is too infrequent to make it worthy or impacting. Tennant's narration is quite light hearted and his slightly cheeky tone suits the silly script. The problem is that this light-hearted approach does rather prevent it being a serious documentary with a point to be made beyond the visual design.
Experts talking about how the average is arrived at here and there doesn't cut it for me; not did one environmentalist popping up here and there and basically tut-tutting in a rather obvious fashion. I expected it to shock me but to be honest, some of it is acceptable a bath of beans doesn't seem that unreasonable over seventy years. The environmental stats are too busy being statistically interesting to be able to have time to be shocking or challenging and as a result I found myself bemused by the amount of stuff laid out in front of me.
In fairness this was the concept that the film set out to deliver and it does do this well. Superficial and bemusing but it would have been nice if it could have had some real substance, food for thought or challenge for the viewer at the same time.
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