McLibel (2005) Poster

(2005)

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Makes up for the low budget feel by being gripping, entertaining and inspiring
bob the moo25 May 2005
A long time ago there was a company that made lots of money by selling bits of meat between two bits of bread. Many people were employed to put the meat between the bread and many animals were killed to be the meat. A friendly clown persuaded children to love the company. Some decades passed and all was well. The company became very, very rich. Richer even than many countries. And then some people wrote in their newspapers than eating lots of the meat and bread could make people ill. Other people said on television that too many trees had been cut down and that the workers were unhappy. This made the company very angry. The company looked around the world and saw that in England there was a special law that could stop people saying things the company didn't like. And make them say sorry.

It is with the above text (delivered in a Star Wars fashion) that this film starts with – pretty much immediately helping you work out if your politics and sense of humour are in the right place to be part of the target audience for this documentary. The story of the film is famous now; basically in the early 1990's McDonalds took libel cases against many people who had spoken out against them – papers, television channels, pressure groups, generally media groups and the like. Drawing retractions from the majority of them, McD's was very happy with the UK system and set about going after other targets. David Morris and Helen Steel were volunteering with Greenpeace as part of their belief in environmental activism, part of which was handing out a pamphlet "what's wrong with McDonalds" outside the outlets and telling the "truth" about the company. When they got served with a libel writ from the company, some of their group apologised and retracted but Helen and David said no and started to defend themselves against a team of very expensive lawyers retained by McD's. The film documents their case and then the action that they took in the European Court of Justice years later.

Having been made over the whole ten year period (rather than looking back) the film is gripping and really involves you in the story. The case is boiled down to the essence and it is made surprisingly fluid and exciting as a result. The dramatisation of the courtroom scenes feels a bit cheap but still works – although it doesn't help that Morris, despite being natural and himself across the rest of the film, comes across as wooden and "acting" in these bits. The bias in the presentation is there of course and if you disagree with them then this isn't the film for you. However, I saw them both as rather pretentious hippy sorts but yet I was still able to get behind them, learn the lessons and be inspired by them. And really "inspiration" is the film's main strength because their story is amazing and it totally flies in the face of those who say "what difference does it make if I etc etc"; I still think that individuals are limited in day to day life but when the chips are down, if you can stand your ground it is possible to make a difference.

Alongside this, the target audience will love the anti-Corporation thing. I'm not a protester or anti-Capitalist but it is satisfying to watch McD be taken down a peg – even more so now that we have spent the last year or so watch them start to lose ground, lose profits and many of the McLibel accusations be backed up over and over by many sources, to the point that most viewers will totally agree with the "lies" that Morris and Steel were telling. Ideal viewing alongside the equally important (but a lot less serious) Super Size Me, this is a great documentary that makes up for the low budget feel by being gripping, entertaining and inspiring.
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8/10
David V Goliath, and David continues to win
Steven31 July 2005
McLibel is the story of a single father and a part time bar worker, who were taken to court by McDonalds. Thus causing the longest libel trial in British history and the biggest PR disaster in corporate history. All because two people refused to say sorry.

In the documentary Dave Morris comments that if there is a David vs. Goliath story then Goliath is the public, and David is the corporation.

So if anybody is worrying that this documentary provides a one sided view of events, they should relax as McDonalds has a million dollar marketing campaign, whilst Dave and Helen had nothing, not even legal aid.

And this is their story, of how they continued to fight against impossible odds, increasing court decisions against them and revelations that McDonalds had used private detectives to spy on them.

It is appropriate that this story be told in classic Low Budget style, as Franny Armstorng armed with her Dad's camera embarked to tell their story not knowing that it to would take years of her life.

The film contains re-enactments by Ken Loach and in this re-released version brings us up to present day as having finished the libel trial, Helen and Dave took on the British Government in the European Court of Human rights, challenging the governments libel laws. Laws that McDonalds had for years used against institutions like the BBC and the Guardian newspaper.

Finally available on DVD McLibel is a great addition to a growing library of material on the Globalisation debate, achieved by two people who believed in what they were doing and one filmmaker's dedication to their story.
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8/10
Worth watching - definitely
mooji10 December 2006
This is a low budget but very, very entertaining account of Helen Steel and David Morris's fight against McDonalds. They were caught distributing leaflets accusing McDonalds of polluting the environment, cruelty to animals, aiming their produce at children and being extremely unhealthy and lying about it. McDonalds claimed they were lying, so the postman and the gardener represented themselves in a 7 year court case. This documentary charts the trial and verdict, and further footage after the event. It is cheap and cheerful, but astounding in it's simplicity. This was a landmark case that made it acceptable to challenge corporations, in fact, it almost seems to be the pre runner for many documentaries out there. More importantly, it took the wind out of McDonald's sails and forced them to readdress many of the issues they were challenged over. It's a great film - I recommend it.
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but they weren't losers - sore or otherwise
roystonv30 May 2006
That's the point. They won - despite the odds. And when that is no longer the basis for an interesting film then we might as well all give up. Whether you agree with their politics or not, the stand they took, the obstacles they faced and the dirty tricks pulled by Maccas make this the perfect subject for a documentary. What bugs me most about the people who are on here criticizing this movie is the line that these "do-gooders" are profiting from this movie's release. Unlike people like you, making money is not the only motivation in this world and if you saw this film, you'd realise it is way down the list of priorities for these two people. Sometimes just getting the message out is the most important part. But I guess that wouldn't even occur to some people.
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8/10
A Victory for Freedom of Speech
colinnz7 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
McLibel follows the path of two English activists who after speaking out against McDonald's notorious commercial practices, (and unlike fellow activists) refuse to bow to the corporate giant's formidable legal machine.

What has to be remembered is that it was McDonalds who initiated the legal action knowing, that Dave and Helen would not be allowed legal aid to defend themselves. At the Strasborg Court of Human Rights this unfair one sided draconian British legislation was recognised as being unfair, for the way it impeded their freedom of speech.

The two activists' greatest asset was that they had no assets and nothing to lose, as they literally just kept going. Both of them being uncharismatic actually lent them some charm, as the press were forced to focus fully on the issues unable to cash in on their personalities.

When it was all over the two heroes carried on with their humble lives, uninterested in cashing in on their success and seeking the limelight.

My favourite line from McLibel is Helen saying, "I'm actually starting to feel sorry for McDonalds now, all this negative publicity is helping out other Corporations such as Pizza Hut, and Burger King who are equally as bad if not worse than McDonalds"
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10/10
Let's try to use our brains, people.
armadillo_smuggler13 March 2007
To the previous poster, justsomeregularguy, who equivocates the producers of this film to multinational corporations, please explain to me how this documentary has made tens of billions of dollars per annum, like a multinational worth their salt does. Your whole argument, and your anger over a certain type of filmmaker or person fails with a fallacy of that caliber. Read Adorno's The Culture Industry and get over it.

I am SO sick and tired of people accusing any and all director or filmmaker of cashing-in by copying or riding on coattails of others just because they see the flood of remakes/ripoffs/plaigarisms bouncing between Hollywood, Bollywood and Asia (aka The 2006 Oscar winner) and apply that in all cases: Another baseless equivocation! Quite simply, a film like this will hardly make ANY money off direct sales. Most documentaries make their money back due to library acquisitions and television broadcast rights. I really have to question the mind that thinks that a documentary like this is made motivated by greed. Films like the Corporation and Super Size Me are exceptions, and frankly the whole "documentaries are the new blockbuster" paradigm is also way past its sell-by date, and to buy into that is to accept what amounted to hype in the first place. For every Incovenient Truth there are thousands of conventional narrative films. We notice those docs because of their exceptional nature in the film marketplace. Again, McLibel is not exactly Spider-man 3. Let's please keep things in perspective. If anything, you give this film you seem to be angry at way too much credit. You also indirectly insult filmgoers by assuming we're all suckers and wouldn't be able to see past a rip-off and you attempt to privilege yourself as if you know better, by proxy. If anything, it's whatever amount of attention the Palme D'Or has brought to Ken Loach's work that might get some more people to see this. Finally, films of the same subject and type have been made in close proximity to each other; it's called a zeitgeist, and more than one person can tap into it at the same time. The Illusionist/The Prestige for example. Superficially: Costume dramas with magic. On any other, non-reflexive level: Totally different narratives.
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7/10
Great story, slightly awkward film
runamokprods9 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Inspiring on a story level, if less so on a film-making level.

Two working class British activists are sued by McDonald's for a pamphlet they put out accusing McDonalds of making unhealthy foods, exploiting its workers, etc. Under the archaic British libel laws, all the burden of proof is on the defendants, and somehow these two plucky, broke (if occasionally annoyingly naïve) nobodies fight McDonalds to a stalemate in court, while costing McDonalds millions in legal fees, and causing them an absolute PR disaster.

While the story is terrific, the re-enactments, especially of the courtroom scenes are awkward, and the over simplistic idealism of some of the couples' political theory ('why can't McDonalds simply give half of it's profits to their workers') can be a bit much to take.

Still, it's good to see something that makes you realize the little guy can win now and again.
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8/10
A Proper, Low Budget Documentary
sherbetsaucers15 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
What happens when the biggest name in the fast food world decides to crush two insignificant protesters using England's surprisingly strict libel laws? Why, old Ronald gets a black eye of course! This movie charts the events surrounding the 'McDonald's Restaurants v Morris & Steel' court case - which has become known as the McLibel case - an action filed by McDonalds in protest against a pamphlet being given out by a small group called London Greenpeace. In the past McDonald's have threatened legal action against some massive names, including The Guardian, BBC, Today Newspaper, Channel 4 and of course that giant institution, Hatfield Polytechnic. Every one of these people backed down and apologised. Helen Steel and David Morris didn't.

This film really expresses three different things. Firstly it obviously follows the trial, and thus highlights some of the nastier practices indulged in by McDonald's. This documentary does not try to remain impartial, but neither does it do anything more than report on what went on. In the 2005 documentary there is no voice for McDonald's, but considering that executives at McDonald's would now rather be seen eating at Burger King then comment on the record about the McLibel trial, this isn't a surprise! As an insight into the frankly despicable practices McDonalds have gotten away - and continue to get away - with, it is absorbing. It shows the kind of cynical marketing practices McDonald's get up to, the most disturbing being the targeting of children. I personally have never been a member of the 'clowns are scary' club, but very few things that I have seen in my life unsettled me more than the sight of Ronald McDonald leading innocent children to chant his name as loudly as they could The fact that McDonalds actually hired private investigators to infiltrate the local campaigning group is actually quite amusing. (The investigators learned that a group of campaigners banked at the local branch of the Co-Operative Bank… Really… These people sometimes charge by the hour!) Another fascinating moment was the recorded 'secret' meeting that McDonald's had with Helen and David once they realised that the case was really beginning to hurt them. Interestingly in the 2005 release the voices are simply 'Mr. X' and 'Mr. Y', however in the 1998 movie they are identified as Shelby Yastrow, Executive Vice-Presdent, and Dick Starman, Senior Vice-President. However the most telling piece came when Geoffrey Giuliano, a former Ronald McDonald no less, actually compared himself at the time to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. This is not a nice person to be comparing yourself to! Secondly the movie looks at the political views of Helen and David. This takes a back seat to the action of the trial, and rightly so. The pair are socialists and some of their ideas and ideals are interesting, but the facts that they are socialist and that they also fought McDonalds are to my mind very separate things. I am not agree with all of their political views myself, but I definitely agree with the action the pair took.

Thirdly and, to my mind most importantly, the film highlights the inherent injustice within the English Libel laws. The very fact that McDonald's, an institution as American as Mount Rushmore, used this country's laws to oppress opinions that would be constitutionally protected in the United States is hugely interesting. Keir Starmer, a barrister who chose to give the pair legal aid for free, seems utterly affronted by the lack of support available to those people being sued, with no legal aid being offered at all. He also implies that, had the two had the same resources that McDonald's had to spend on the case then some of the findings against them would have been different, most notably the claim that the destruction of the Amazonian rainforests was in part due to McDonald's demand for cattle. Shockingly during the case it arose that McDonald's had used contacts within the Metropolitin Police Force to get information about the defendants. Scotland Yard were sued, ordered to pay Helen and Dave £10,000 and give a full apology. In fact the case itself , which was technically a victory for McDonald's, was brought to the European Court of Human Rights, who in 2005 gave an absolutely devastating verdict, ruling that the case had breached Article 6 (right to a fair trial) and Article 10 (right to freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

I cannot over-emphasise how badly McDonald's come across during this movie. Ironically the majority of it isn't because of editorial bias. The real reason is a gentleman called Paul Preston. Throughout the film he is the face of McDonalds, being President and Chief Executive Officer of McDonald's UK. Perhaps it's because of my British upbringing but the sight of a rather sweaty, middle class American in an expensive suit just screams the words fat and cat. He had all the charisma of an underdone chicken nugget and managed to personify every stereotype of corporate greed I can imagine.
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10/10
Mc Good Documentary
ae764114 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie the other day and it was very good. Keep in mind that the two won in court (in which McDonald's was fined). The charges against McDonalds was supported by footage of cows and chickens in slaughterhouses, and workers at McDonalds. Everone should see it.

McDonald's hired the best lawyers money can buy and had a fair chance in defending itself, but lost. Nobody gagged McDonalds not with its billions of dollars in advertising and PR. So it's hard to feel that anyone was unfair to McDonalds. We need more of this kind of documentary because as it was stated, it is unlikely we would see this as a commercial television special because commercial television depends on McDonald's advertising revenue.
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10/10
Balanced?
juancaralb5 September 2007
First off, I love this movie. I think it has a great message and provides us inspiration to make change. The reason why I'm writing this review is in rebuttal towards an earlier comment who stated that he wished the movie was more balanced. With that, I can honestly say the guy didn't watch the movie.

First off, McDonald's has been in the media for 50+ years selling us junk. If you want to hear the other side of it, turn on your television to any channel and wait a few minutes. Or, go outside in any neighborhood in any state in any country and walk a block or two and you will run into a place where diabetics and future diabetics congregate under golden arches.
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7/10
Enjoyable compared to other documentaries
JoeB13110 January 2009
This movie was fun compared to other documentaries. I think it did a very good job of humanizing its protagonists, who were a couple of grassroots organizers who took on a huge corporation, and won.

British Libel law is used by big corporations and individuals to do things they would never be allowed to get away with anywhere else - actually sue people for stating their opinions. The plaintiffs actually had to prove that fast food is bad for us, which is kind of like having to prove the sky is blue...

McDonald's is like a drug pusher, and we the public are like junkies. Let's be honest, we'd all be better off if we lived a vegan lifestyle, and would have less impact on the planet, but where would the fun in that be? Like Mephistopheles, McDonald's and their ilk give us what we want, and we hate them for it. But let's point out the devil is still a devil, even if we give in to his temptations.
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2/10
Poorly-made, boring rant against McDonald's
youaresquishy4 July 2007
I would describe myself as an ultraliberal. I am certainly no fan of McDonald's. I never eat there, and I don't own any stock. The fact that a company like McDonald's exists makes me cringe.

Honestly, I feel this documentary was poorly made, and that most reasonable people who are truly interested in the famous McLibel trial would be better off reading about the McLibel trial than wasting time viewing this film. I feel that many viewers of this film feel that society would be a better place if more people watch this film and as a result are giving this unjustifiably good reviews. In truth, this is a really bad documentary. Even though it is less than 90 minutes long, it is extremely boring and frustratingly uninformative.

I feel the McLibel case made the McDonald's Corporation look pretty silly. I really wanted an informative documentary that was going to present the facts surrounding the trial and the events leading up to the trial, possibly make me laugh, and explain what exactly it is about British law that made this sort of lawsuit seem viable to the McDonald's lawyers. Instead, I was presented, for the most part, with an uninformed and naive, one-sided, boring rant against the McDonald's Corporation for its business practices, primarily from the point of view two unlikeable, self-righteous, and naive characters.

My first main complaint is that the title is a bit misleading. This is more a polemic against the McDonald's Corporation and its business practices than it is a documentary about the McLibel case per se. If the parts that weren't actually about the trial were cut out, I'd estimate this film would've been maybe about 30 minutes long. And there is hardly anything here about the pro-plaintiff British libel laws that made this kind of suit seem feasible for McDonald's to pursue in the first place (but only in the UK)--which really would have been the most interesting subject to talk about, in my view.

It is as if the filmmaker wanted some excuse to make a film to educate us all about how bad McDonald's is and viewed the McLibel trial as a perfect excuse. As if any reasonable viewer doesn't already know that McDonald's food tends to be unhealthy, or that McDonald's workers get paid very low wages, or that millions of chickens are slaughtered to make Chicken McNuggets! Who doesn't know this? Well, if you didn't already know it, you will have definitely learned it by the time this film is done, because it will have been repeatedly beaten into your brain, unless, of course, you fall asleep first.

My second main complaint is that the two principle characters, the defendants in the McLibel case, come off as self-righteous and just kind of silly, naive, twittering dingbats. For example, they and some other characters that talk in the film repeatedly express dismay at the notion that a multinational corporation such as McDonald's actually cares only about profits and not really about its workers or its consumers as people (except to the extent caring about us translates into profits of course). But these complaints are naive. You can't complain that vociferously about a multinational corporation wanting to maximize profits--their shareholders could sue them if they do anything less--the complaint needs to be directed more at the relevant law that allows and encourages this kind of corporate behavior, the people that support these laws, and, to some extent, at the consumers that support McDonald's and the workers that won't unionize and that accept such low wages. It's one thing to state the facts about McDonald's dispassionately and let the viewer decide for him- or herself whether to support McDonald's with his/her wallet, or to state the facts dispassionately and then go on to explain not only the situation the workers and consumers find themselves in relative to McDonald's, but also the situation that the McDonald's Corporation finds itself in relative to its stockholders, but it's another thing to one-sidedly skewer the McDonald's Corporation for the entire situation when the workers themselves, the consumers themselves, and the legal systems controlling the countries in which McDonald's operates and the people controlling those legal systems all share the blame.

My third main complaint is that the film is not well-organized. It's just kind of all over the place, and presented in a random haphazard manner.

My fourth and most important complaint is that the film is boring, thanks in no small part to the fact that the two main characters, the defendants in the McLibel case, are boring and unsympathetic characters.

The best documentaries are those that either neutrally present facts about events, or present the best of all sides of whatever issue is being discussed from the points of views of well-informed and intelligent people, and that do so in an interesting manner. That does not in any way describe this documentary. I give it a 2 out of 10, because there are actually some parts of this film here and there that do actually talk a bit about the trial, but, really, I feel that's a pretty generous rating.

If you want to be beaten over the head with an anti-McDonald's rant, see this film. If you want to learn about the McLibel trial, do yourself a favor and ignore the other reviewers and go read about it instead. It's a fascinating trial. This is a dumb film that tangentially touches on that fascinating trial to a small extent between rants about how evil McDonald's is.
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5/10
McLibel
film_riot28 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Mr. Everyman and Mrs. Everymen, Dave Morris and Helen Steel distributed flyers, on which they criticized the fast food company McDonald's for their business practices, concerning environment, health risks and advertising amongst others. Because of UK law McDonald's could sue them and ultimately also win the case. However, long term results of Steel's and Morris' engagement were that in the year 2004 the law was changed and McDonald's image suffered an enormous loss. What they've done was important, but Franny Armstrong's documentary "McLibel" shows that an interesting story alone doesn't make a good film. First, the look of the film is held very conventional, meaning that it just looks like your usual TV documentary. The direction is not very imaginative, given that there are mostly the interviews, where I was missing counterweight. The re-enacted scenes were pointless for me, I mean, what should they prove? Just enforcing the emphasis on the David vs. Goliath story, rather than giving an unemotional and for that much more impressive view on this case.
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4/10
So one sided it's propaganda
louknees11 December 2005
McLibel is a really interesting documentary about 2 people that were activists who were sued by McDonalds for libel. The movie spans 15 years and the lives of the 2 activists who wouldn't apologize to McDonalds. It's not really about a personal attack on McDonald's per say, it's more about the free speech and libel laws in Britain. While I find the movie engaging and the story a true David Vs. Goliath story is one that be told, but it is so one sided that it is frustrating. I understand how the film is against Multi-National corporations and their practices, but it's not fair to have them not have a voice, to allow McDonalds to share their side of the story. Many of the interviews seem staged along with the news reports and the reenactments of the court room scenes are awkward and poorly done. I think it's a landmark case and one that has all the makings of a great documentary, but it's so biased and subjective, all of its power is muted.
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1/10
Unfair and Unbalanced...
dkbengel10 February 2008
As a West Coast "California" Liberal now living in Texas, I spend a lot of time faced with anti-Liberal rants. And after watching 'McLibel' I see why most conservatives dislike my kind so much. This film was most likely meant to be educational, entertaining and more than a little political with a Loberal slant. However it just comes off as hack-kneed and reactionary. My favorite moments were the following: 1) To show how McD's was bad for us, the film makers show us a fat man walking PAST a McDonald's in London, 2) The moment when our hero said that the English Legal System was unfair because he and his associate (as the Defendants) had to actually PROVE what they were saying was true while McDonald's (as the Plaintif) could just sit there ... Um, yeah, 3) The defendant's admitted ignorance of the legal system their refusal to refer to the judge in the case as My Lord, as is traditional in England, 4) When the defendant refers to the poster of Ronald McDonald in his son's play school as McDonald's "Taking over", 5) Referring to a visit to his son's play school as "pernishes".

Seriously, you would have to be brain dead to not actually laugh at the ridiculous nature of these comments. In no way is this film helping the Liberal movement in either the United States or in the U.K. In fact, is my belief that this film and the actions of it's "heros" undermine the very useful and very real work of those of us who are trying to make the world a little more fair.

Coupling these things with the VERY poor film making techniques made this film a real bust for me. If I could say one thing to the film maker it would be to stop wasting your time and mine and actually HELP those of us trying to make REAL change. Trying to bring McDonald's down is a fool's errand. Of course, maybe that's all I should expect from a pack of fool's with a camera.
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3/10
Not So Much A Documentary ...
Theo Robertson14 June 2005
... More of a quest featuring a camcorder and people with an axe to grind

Dave Morris and Helen Steel hit the headlines circa 1990 when after taking part in a leaflet campaign outside a London branch of McDonalds they found themselves on being sued for libel and this tells their story over several years of their quest to find " justice "

Now if this was an objective documentary I would have perhaps found admirable things about it but it's not objective at all or even subjective - It's polemical opinion featuring two people with an axe to grind against a corporate company that's fashionable to bash and seems more interested in having people the average Joe have never heard of stating nonsense . Take Eric Schlosser ( Someone who's written a book on McDonalds hence it makes him some sort of expert ) who tells us that " McDonalds is deliberately designed to control workers and offer them as little creativity and intuitive as possible " ! Forgive me for pointing this out but if someone is paid to flip burgers and clean tables then why should they be encouraged to have a creative side ? If it's creativity they wanted maybe the could have joined the Lee Strasburg Acting School or have gone to University to study literature ? If you work in a cafe you have to do the exact same kind of work except for some reason this doesn't bring out the anger in Schlosser . Apparently according to him it's only McDonald workers who have pulled the short straw in life since they're not allowed union membership ( Again many companies of whatever industry do not allow union membership ) and have to do boring tedious work . Wow I thought people only worked for the money

And this is typical of the arguments put forward by Schlosser , Morris and Steel - They're not wide reaching arguments at all . Yeah I agree that a high fat /high sugar junk food diet that McDonald sells isn't too healthy but is it actually cancer causing ? - This was the claim that almost certainly caused McDonalds to sue the pair - and for some reason no one in McLIBEL makes the point that McDonalds isn't the only fast food chain selling this type of junk food , several other similar fast food chains sell more or less the same stuff . Did they protest outside these fast food chains ? Perhaps the most cogent point is that no one is actually forced to eat at McDonalds and this fact is conspicuous by its absence .

I guess the whole concept behind McLIBEL is that the audience will cheer that Morris and Steel eventually won the case against a corporate giant but only if you agree with the duo's politics . We're asked to empathise with the self righteous Morris and Steel but my own feeling is that haven't done anything heroic and are in fact just self seeking publicists . At least SUPERSIZE ME was entertaining despite the flaws . There's little entertainment to be found in McLIBEL
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4/10
Completely one-sided in their attacks, No I don't love McDonald's either
TheEmulator239 September 2007
Now I don't adore McDonald's or even think their food is particularly good. Do I think they do things that aren't completely fair? Of course I do, but so do all sorts of companies. I think the people that refused to say sorry are two people that have WAY too much time on their hands. I like documentaries very much, but I hate it when they are completely one-sided A-LA Michael Moore! I think it is a shame about some of the practices of companies, but what these people forget is that companies aren't really out to make friends, they are out to MAKE MONEY! I think it is quite hilarious, that these people just wouldn't say sorry and get on with their lives. I am sure it is the principle of the thing, but honestly, get a life! Was this documentary good, Not really, was it even very well done, not in the least. I am sure fast food is a huge reason that people (particularly in America) are becoming more and more obese. The problem w/ blaming McDonald's is the fact that even though their food is not particularly good for you, it is the fault of all the lazy people that can't make basic foods for themselves. It's every individuals fault when they become obese then blame McDonald's for all their health problems. It is the new thing especially in the U.S. to blame EVERYONE else for their problems, which is especially sad. Does McDonald's do a lot of things that are perhaps morally wrong, absolutely! So do all sorts of companies, not just the almighty McDonald's. This documentary is all against McDonald's and not even one thing says some of the good things they do. If everyone despises McDonald's so much, then they can just stop going. Until that happens there will always be some that hate companies for whatever reason they so choose.
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2/10
Greenpeace vs. McDonalds
Homogeek13 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
McLibel could have been an underdog story, but film makers had a different agenda. Morgan Spurlock (Supers Size Me) and Michael Moore (Fahrenheit 911) know how to make a documentary entertaining and still get their point across. You may disagree with the filmmakers but it is all-consuming watching the filmmaker unfold the argument in front of you. A more descriptive title would have been 'Greenpeace vs. McDonalds'. Franny Armstrong and the London Greenpeace folks shot for the publicity and controversy. McLibel (read Greenpeace) makes some valid points: • in the UK when you go to trail you get legal representation unless if it is a libel case then you are on your own. Since large corporations have so much in resources ($$$) everyone will just apology rather than face an expensive court battle. • McDonalds and other large corporations use their power and money to affect our buying habits through our children. • Many corporations underpay their worker. However there is no counter-point. The movie spent 83 minutes explaining and fighting what is wrong with society but as far as a solution: 2 minutes to say approximately:'mega corporations are evil. We believe individuals should be making their own decisions on what products and services should be made available.' I see this as a radical stand and I am not sure how Greenpeace actually envisions this utopia. Are they suggesting that everyone should grow their own vegetables like one of the protagonist? Should society be sourcing commercial goods locally? Should we constrain advertising so we eliminate the 'push' market and end up with a 'pull' economy? All of these are a radical change in society. Sorry Greenpeace, there are things I dislike about our society but a socialist reform is not the answer. (6 people found this review helpful.)
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2/10
Shameless...
justsomeregularguy22 September 2005
"It is about the importance of freedom of speech now that 'MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS' (BOM-BOM-BOM!) are more powerful than countries." What a shameless attempt to turn pseudo-convictions into dollars (or pounds, in this case).

It seems painfully clear that the release of this documentary is a nauseating attempt to ride on the coat tails of Super Size Me. I know it culminated in 1997 or so, but that just makes its 2005 release all the more transparent for what it really is: Shameless.

The types of people who enjoy these types of films are so jaded toward "THE CORPORATIONS," that monolithic, hell spun entity, because they're so successful. What it comes down to is pure, unadulterated jealousy. Yet ironically, those same champions of egalitarianism; the self-styled "Davids" of David and Goliath lore, are pretty quick to engage in practices which might help to line their pockets, as evidenced by this film's shamelessly belated release. Steer clear of this sore loser propaganda.
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3/10
Lacking in direction, an orgy of activist idealism
jdavin-11 January 2010
This movie is painful to watch. The two activists come across as petulant children railing against practically every injustice in the world that they can think of.

The documentary fails to present a coherent argument. It's all over the map - in one minute they're complaining that killing chickens by beheading them isn't the most humane way to do it (but is that really true? they don't cover any alternatives) and in the next moment they're complaining that McDonald's is responsible for rain forest destruction (but they don't even say why! I guess because McDonald's uses paper? But so does every other company on earth).

This film could have been better with more facts about the UK legal angle and much less anti-corporation propaganda.

In trying to figure out what the concluding message of the film was, all I could come up with is that it showed what a waste of resources their case was and how pointless this all was. All it really did was feed millions of dollars to lawyers. But the fact that tying up the courts like this only benefits the lawyers is not really an interesting fact or anything new.
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