Posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008 by Peter Sciretta
Morgan Spurlock explains that if there is anything he has learned in over 30 years watching movies, it is that if the world needs saving, it’s best done by one man, and one man alone (usually Bruce or Arnold). You see, Spurlock wants to make the world safer for his soon to be born baby and embarks on a mission to find the most wanted man in the world – Osama Bin Laden. Intercut with animated sequences, while using Spurlock’s patented humor, Spurlock’s documentary takes us on an exploration of the social political opinions of the middle eastern natives, and acts as a great primer for most non-news watching Americans.
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? is one of the glossiest independent documentaries I’ve ever seen, and I don’t mean that in a bad way (at Sundance, words like glossy could be perceived as a negative). The film is framed with a computer animated Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden video game, which features Spurlock vs. OBL in a Mortal Combat fight to the death. Bin Laden, straps on a jet pack and rockets away to another country like an evil super villain. Al-qaeda leaders are introduced with their own baseball trading cards, complete with an extensive stat break-down on the back of each card (I’m surprised TWC didn’t print some of these up to promote the movie at the fest). There is a music video featuring Osama Bin Laden singing the MC Hammer song “You can’t touch this!” Spurlock begins his journey by visiting his physician, who was also featured in Super Size Me, to get stocked up on all his shots. He attends a survival training program, hires a language tutor and sets off on his multi-country journey.
We meet alot of locals along the way, including people that have known Osama in the past, family members, etc. He scours Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Moracco, malls, caves and even McDonalds. And in the end, Spurlock may have come very close to finding Osama, but decides to turn around for the sake of his upcoming newborn. But this film is not about the goal, but what has been learned along the journey. Spurlock gives a very good wrap-up of the whole middle east situation, without exploring conspiracy theories or taking off road trips. The whole film leads up to a nicely wrapped up conclusion, and you’ll be a better person for coming along on the journey. Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden is a film that every American needs to see. It’s a Middle East and Terrorists for Dummies. Sure, it might not have some major breakthrough, or explore some new path, but it does an incredible job of gathering and presenting all the facts in a fun and fascinating way.
/Film Rating: 8 out of 10