Directed by: David Bond
One thing I have heard my entire life is how my generation is so lazy compared to the previous. I’m told this has plagued many generations before my own, and I know I claim it of the one that follows mine, but what is the cause of this? Why is it, when I was growing up, I would spend hours upon hours playing outside? I played games too, but compared to today’s youth, I was outside much more. Why is that? What has changed? Why is this new generation so afraid of nature? Enter the documentary, Project Wild Thing.
Project Wild Thing is a fairly important and well executed documentary that could easily have been made overly boring by showing doctors of all walks of life discussing all the usual and well-known benefits of nature. I was expecting a voice to ask questions, which are then answered by a long line of boring, long-winded PhD graduates who get off on giving facts that prove just how lazy human beings have become. Then, when I pushed play, I was introduced to David Bond.
David is an everyman who is highly relatable, likable and engaging as he embarks on a very difficult and infinitely more important job: marketing nature.
David surprised me with this exceptionally thorough examination of why both children and adults do not venture out into nature like they used to. Being a father himself, he began his work at home, examining his own children’s relationship with nature, then progressed to mostly discussing the issue with other children, parents and everyday people from all around London. After figuring out a branding and advertising campaign, David then took to the streets with Project Wild Thing, with a couple of surprising results.
One of the documentary’s greatest assets is how the film finds a balance between being surprisingly even-handed when I expected it to become preachy. It would have been easy for the filmmakers to point fingers at companies who make televisions, gaming devices, iPads, or makers of other-indoor based activities, but they decide not to dwell on anyone in particular. Even when it gets to discussing how society’s fear of crime and overprotective parenting impact children’s relationship with nature - which I would have personally argued the hardest, and honestly figured would be glossed over completely since David is a parent himself - they thoroughly argue the fact that it is a combination of a multitude of issues that leads to children spending more time in front of a screen as opposed to outside with nature, rather than just claiming these few major issues are the only ones that are worth talking about.
As everyone in the world should know right now, whether they will admit it or not, kids now-a-days have a very weak relationship with nature. While this was a focal point, I think this is the film’s greatest and almost only weakness. It doesn’t analyze or discuss the impact not being in nature has on us to the point that it should be addressed. I fear that many who see this will see its points, but few will think about it much afterwards. And this is a sad fact, especially because when compared to previous generations, things have changed so much for this generation that you cannot narrow down even a handful of culprits. And if you don’t agree, give this film a go, as it does well to present the arguments from all the possible sides in the hopes that everyone can get on the same page of this sad and important issue.
By Andy Comer