10 user 13 critic

Garbage Warrior (2007)

Imagine a home that heats itself, that provides its own water, hat grows its own food. Imagine that it needs no expensive technology, that it recycles its own waste, that it has its own ... See full summary »


Oliver Hodge
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Michael Reynolds Michael Reynolds ... Himself
Chris Reynolds Chris Reynolds ... Herself
Shauna Malloy Shauna Malloy ... Herself - Attorney
Dave DiCicco Dave DiCicco ... Himself - Taos County Planner
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Carlos R. Cisneros Carlos R. Cisneros ... Himself - Senator
Ron Gardener Ron Gardener ... Himself - Senator's Aide
Nilesh Gupte Nilesh Gupte ... Himself
Clinton Harden Jr. Clinton Harden Jr. ... Himself - Senator
William H. Payne William H. Payne ... Himself - Senator
Lee Rawson Lee Rawson ... Himself
John C. Ryan John C. Ryan ... Himself - Senator
William E. Sharer William E. Sharer ... Himself - Senator
Renni Zifferblatt Renni Zifferblatt ... Herself - Judicial Committee Bill Analyst


Imagine a home that heats itself, that provides its own water, hat grows its own food. Imagine that it needs no expensive technology, that it recycles its own waste, that it has its own power source. And now imagine that it can be built anywhere, by anyone, out of the things society throws away. Thirty years ago, architect Michael Reynolds imagined just such a home - then set out to build it. A visionary in the classic American mode, Reynolds has been fighting ever since to bring his concept to the public. He believes that in an age of ecological instability and impending natural disaster, his buildings can - and will - change the way we live. Shot over three years in the USA, India and Mexico, Garbage Warrior is a feature-length documentary film telling the epic story of maverick architect Michael Reynolds, his crew of renegade house builders from New Mexico, and their fight to introduce radically different ways of living. A snapshot of contemporary geo-politics and an inspirational ... Written by Anonymous

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

23 May 2008 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

O arhitektonas ton skoupidion See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

80% of the trucks featured in this film were powered with used cooking oil. See more »


Go On
By Brent Berry
Courtesy of Brent Berry Music
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User Reviews

Garbage Warrior: Humanitarian or Hippie?
27 October 2014 | by imonto2See all my reviews

In Garbage Warrior, Mike Reynolds captures people's imagination of new ways of building homes with renewable products such as beer bottles, tires, and plastic soda bottles. The homes seem to be so beautiful that it could entice anybody to live in. The documentary depicts the journey architect Michael Reynolds endures in trying to create a community that is self-sustaining. He believes that there is a spiritual connection to nature that there needs to be a focus on, and that can work away from mass consumption and mass production. He is seen as a pioneer and true humanitarian that could actually change New Mexico's standards of home improvements.

The documentary main arguments are the endless possibilities of using and recycling waste products, an ecological environment, bureaucratic attack, and strong visionary attempt. He created "Earthships," defined as passive solar home made of natural and recycled materials, thermal mass construction for temperature stabilization, and renewable energy and integrated water systems make the Earthship an off-grid home with little to no utility bills. He started to turning away from his label as an architect and started to consider himself a biotecture, which he defines as a profession of designing buildings and environments with consideration for their sustainability with a combination of biology and architecture.

After creating these communities that were self-reliant, this created friction with the developers and the state legislators in New Mexico because he did have his homes regulated up to housing codes. As the documentary progressed, the destruction of his communities, when developers labeled these communities as unsafe and unhygienic, caused him to reevaluate his goals. After he was revoked his architecture license, he made it his mission to take a state legislative role, and lobby for architects to create more homes that would be self- sustaining. As he was continuously being shot down for his ideas, he decided there was no hope in changing the standards set by the state, but he still does not give up. This demonstrates the states unwillingness to move away from making profits and establishing a better way of way of living.

While politicians and lobbyist are ignoring the severity of the global warming and the intensity of droughts and extreme weather, Michael Reynolds is called to India after a tsunami strike causing hundreds of people to lose their family members and homes. He can utilize his skills without restrictions because of the people's desperation to solve the problem. The purpose of this segment was to show that desperation is the new father of invention. Oliver Hodge portrayed most of the politicians as villains and Reynolds as an unsung hero.

There is an urgency that Reynolds express that humans are not going to survive on this planet for much longer if conservations is not taken into action. But there is a downside, he is only working to create a test site rather than actually create homes for people to live in. Based off of the film, there seems to be a fear of conservation because the awareness was slim. His home ideas needed to be altered because the people of the state needed to see an economical prosperity. People could not understand why these Earthships would be better alternative. So then the argument is, how much of it is actually is his idea anymore since he changed so much of it?

Filmmaker Oliver Hodge solely targets on Mike Reynolds's point of view rather than providing an on camera interview with a developer or regulator as to why the communities were shut down. Why were these homes so unsafe? The argument seems to be very one-sided. There were some issues that were dangerous for the people that would have moved in. For instance, when they had created an Earthship with complete windows, the home was too hot and started to melt everything that was made of plastic. There are reasons for these regulations, so that peoples' lives would not be put in danger. Also, these Earthships could not work in everywhere in the United States, but it could allow people to spin ideas off of these inventions.

It takes years before Reynolds ideas are approved by legislators, so that he can construct only a test site. My questions are then: how much would the system have really changed if he had gotten approval from the beginning? Could he have gone further if he had just regulated his sustaining ideas up to many codes? Does it take a person to conform to regulation to make a real change in the system? As an architect, he should have known that his communities would not last because his Earthships were not up to code. Someone was bound to find his communities unsafe.

On the contrary, these risks need to be taken in order to develop better ideas and work towards homes that can be self-sustaining. This does not excuse the state from its responsibilities of changing the standards of what is acceptable of construction materials. I really enjoyed the documentary's core honesty of how stubborn changing the system can really be.

Garbage Warrior makes it seem impossible for any change to happen to make an impact on society, which can be intimidating. In my opinion, it seems that Earthships would only work in an environment that was humid, dry, and tropical. How well would the homes stay together after a monsoon in India or heavy rainfalls in California? This documentary is mostly targeted to people whom live in a desert. But it does offer an insight of how menacing and tedious the system really can be. There is a sense of hope that Reynolds offers because if people gather together to change the standard; it can make a real impact. He could not do it without his allies in legislation and his fellow architects and builders.

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