I was interested in this documentary as I have been a fan of Twitch streamers since the infamous stream back in 2012 that produced the ChkWhaleRoy incident and have since followed Beaglerush playing XCOM to the point where he caught the attention of the game developers and cheesed XCOM 2 so hard in front of the project head that they had to make changes to it. There is also a community that develops around these streams and I have been gifted a subscription two times by users who were handing them out by the dozens.
This documentary is different in that it follows some of the random “anchors” as they are called who are among the 422 million streamers who stream their everyday lives each day in China. There is talk of new government laws coming into effect in 2017 but it was only about 1000 or so accounts that closed.
The streamers shown are not gamers but rather just talk about their lives, do farm work, drive a building crane “I’m fucking bored!” or are sewing underwear in a factory.
This was always going to be on a hiding to nothing after coming off a Werner Herzog documentary just before it. There is no context at all apart from the title card and no narrative. There is more story watching Penny Underbust on stream playing Beat Saber.
I wanted to leave during it as a lot of people were doing but was blocked in by other people. Nothing to see here, move along.
Director: Werner Herzog
Featuring: Kevin Mitnick, Elon Musk, Lawrence Krauss, Lucianne Walkowicz
“Helloooo, my name is Werner Herzog”
An interesting, but scattershot documentary that is frustrating in that it covers a lot of ground across topics that are very deep like skipping a stone across the surface of a lake and barely covers any of them.
Topics such as artificial intelligence, game theory, interplanetary travel and others get the same time covered as quackery such as people being “allergic” to Wi-Fi.
It almost becomes a parody of a Werner Herzog as they have at least one quip from the director in each segment that the audience laughed at due to the director’s Teutonic dryness. Even Kevin Mitnick got a laugh after the director described him as a “Demigod of hacking” and then he appeared as a normal man.
The story of the family who were a victim of trolls was strange with the baked goods on the table and the woman claiming that an abstract concept was the manifestation of evil. People can do evil things a concept is not evil unless you apply it to do bad things.
The online gaming segment could have been a documentary of its own, I did like Tom running across the rope bridge and the director saying “no need for a further introduction, that was perfect” also Werner wanting to talk to Chloe about her online characters to which she went “MAH TRIGGERS!” and refused. He did seem genuinely disappointed of not getting to discuss dark elves.
I am not really the audience for this as I know a lot about the internet having been on it for 20 years and have studied aspects of it in detail. As a popular surface-level documentary on the internet this show do fine. It does ignore that the main purpose of the internet was to connect people and technology was only part of this.