Full of tension inducing music, quick editing cuts, repeated stock footage, slow motion dramatic recreations, voiced-over rhetorical questions – these are the films of our times. The airwaves and internet are awash in these over-the-top, end-of-the-world, hyperbolic documentaries – The Docubolic Hypermentary – surely we are moments from the Apocalypse. Propped up by a steady diet of Gin Rickeys, one man tries to make sense of it all. Here is that man. This is his story.
Mmmmmmm ….. bacon.
2009′s Pig Bomb raises the question of whether in the not-too-distant future our planet will be overrun by a swarming army of giant, brutal, wild pigs whose sole purpose is to undermine all of mankind’s greatest achievements.
It is, in fact, a Docubolic Hypermentary, and it is a work of art. From concept to execution, this thing has it all.
Twenty seconds into this film and geeky fan favorite voice actor Peter Jessop (whose work has been featured in animated features the likes of JLA and TheAvengers, as well as popular video games such as World of Warcraft,Skyrim, and Mass Effect 2) intones in his basso profondo, languidly hyperbolic manner, “Wild Pigs, they may be the most destructive animal in America …” and BOOM, we’re off to the races. Fifteen seconds later, Jessop asks “How long will it be before we see super-sized pigs?” adding the right level of paranoia and fear-mongering to snap your attention.
Then, when only forty-three seconds of film has passed, Jessop adamantly declares, “The Pig Bomb has gone off.”
Things quickly go off the rails from here in a beautiful and amazing way. According to this Docubolic Hypermentary, giant pigs weighing “half a ton” with “razor-sharp teeth” are “rampaging across the countryside”, and, if I read the tone of this film correctly, THIS COULD MEAN THE END OF US ALL!!!!!
The film begins to inundate you with stock footage and tense music and poorly constructed dramatic recreations shot with a shaky cam full of pig vision angles. It tells us of the wonderfully named “Hogzilla” — a twelve foot long, 1,200 pound monster pig — and repeatedly shows us a picture of its mud-encrusted carcass dangling over a sand pit. The film mentions other giant pigs with beautiful names such as “Monster Pig” and “Hog Kong” and “Bear Hog.” The screen becomes flooded with news articles with floating highlighted text telling us about giant pig attacks in people’s yards and living rooms and how in Abbeville, Georgia, “packs of pigs are coming right into town and getting to know their neighbors.”
The film abounds with interviews with those concerned and those doing something about it. My favorite part of these interviews is when someone with a thick Southern Accent is speaking, director Brian Lecky thought it best to provide English subtitles – FOR ENGLISH. Who is the target audience for this film anyway if not people who already speak in thick Southern Accents? Why the need for subtitles? Because the Pig Bomb has exploded, I gather.
By way of sizing up the nature of the problem, the film turns to Dr. Jack Mayer, a bespectacled “Wildlife Ecologist” with a thinning hairline and a penchant for dramatic pauses. He indicates that data shows that from 1900 to 1980 wild pigs could be found in nineteen states in America and their population hovered fairly consistently around 1-2 million. Then the Pig Bomb went off (BOOM) and now wild pigs can be found in forty states and their numbers are maybe around six million! Wild Pigs, according to Dr. Mayer, are probably the most destructive and invasive species threatening OUR VERY WAY OF LIFE here in America, and something better be done about it, “or else!”
Pig Bomb goes on to tell us that these “sinister swine” are not only huge and fast and vicious, but “the economic fallout from rampaging pigs has been significant.” In Texas alone, pigs have been responsible for $50 MILLION in agricultural losses in A SINGLE YEAR, “and the tab is still rising. Anything taking money out of the pockets of Texas farmers is a threat to us all.
The film wants us to, begs us to, pleads with us to understand that this ain’t no terrific, radiant, humble Wilbur they’re talking about. These are GIANT WILD HOGS and they are coming for YOU!
The focus of Pig Bomb then veers off into an exploration of how this could have happened. The film keeps charting and graphing and CGI animating the difference between the domesticated pig (the “ideal meat producing animal”) and these killer hogs. These are big pigs, and, according to Pig Bomb, they become huge and vicious because they have been bred from the mighty Eurasian Wild Boar! Yeeeehaw!
In order to prove this point, Pig Bomb first turns to science, because … you know … science. Credibility. That sort of thing. They task a couple of Georgian Pig Hunters to get them some of that there wild pig DNA. So these fellas go out in the woods with their dogs, catch themselves a pig, and take hair samples. Peter Jessop then tells us that the pigs are let go, which is odd, as these very same pig hunters were previously talking about all the pigs they had killed. I guess this was for science though and loftier ethics are in place.
Pig Bomb then tracks the hair samples to the University of California, Davis, where Dr. Holly Ernest, a geneticist who studies wild pigs, informs the viewers that the Pig Data Base (which would be a great band name, by the way) is too limited to provide any definitive answers as to the genetic make-up of these pigs.
So scratch science, I guess.
Another victim of the Pig Bomb.
So Pig Bomb decides that anecdotal evidence is just as meaningful for their target audience and dispatches a crew to Russia, home of the biggest and meanest wild boars. If they can just get a picture of one of these bacon-laden behemoths, then they can compare it to pictures of the American wild pigs and – BINGO – make all sorts of further panic-inducing suppositions.
I’m not exactly sure why they had to travel to Russia to get a picture of the wild boars, as the film is full of stock footage of them which they roll over and over again, but this is a Docubolic Hypermentary after all, and by god we need a fucking hunt to build more tension.
There is close to ten minutes of this forty-three minute film dedicated to this “mission”. What it consists of is a lot of shots of a jeep getting stuck in the mud, some Russians setting up a motion camera because the boars themselves are too dangerous to confront, and then some more jeep driving back to the camera.
The result? A definitive photo of a Wild Boar’s eyes caught glowing in the outlaying forest by the flash of the camera.
It’s a Pig Bomb.
Undaunted by their lack of evidence, the Pig Bomb team goes to great lengths to make this work and try to CGI the whole thing into a definitive comparison between the Eurasian Wild Boar and the American Wild Pig. And by golly, I’ll give them the Docubolic Hypermentary standing ovation for the effort!
As the film winds down in its last ten minutes, the film-makers have some kind of a come-to-Jesus moment and, figuring you have already given up watching the film anyway because you’re drunk, going out to buy a pig gun (I assume they make those, right), or you have the typical attention span of the target audience and are now downloading porn, tell us that the real reason there are these big pigs stomping the American soil is because over the past decade or so, a bunch of entrepreneurs have brought over some wild Eurasian Boars, set them loose on their property, and have been charging rich people a pretty penny to allow them to hunt them. These Boars have found true love with our native wild pigs and the rest is history. After all, as the film states, they eat like pigs and breed like rabbits.
Blame the one percent.
Turns out Hogzilla, Pig Kong, and the like were taken on land set aside specifically for hunting. It turns out that these pigs would never have reached their massive size if it weren’t for the fact that they were specifically bred, fed, and molly-coddled into getting that big.
Then they tell us that scientists say that, in fact, it isn’t possible for pigs in the wild to ever get that big. It is scientifically inconceivable for a thousand pound pig to survive in the wild.
But fuck science. What have they ever done for us anyway? A goddamn Pig Bomb has exploded (BOOM) and everyone needs to freak the fuck out!!!!
In the last three minutes of the film, Peter Jessop asks this question – possibly the most profound question of our times – truly one of the great Docubolic Hypermentary questions ever – “What if the perfect storm of pork were to be unleashed?”
Someday this may just be a pig’s world and we will just live in it.
Yea, but think about all that bacon.
When the final credits of Pig Bomb were rolling, I was left a’twitchin’ and a’jiggerin’ with a firm case of full-on pork paranoia. To further my horror, Netflix then suggested that I watch another Discovery show called Hogs Gone Wild (of which there are nine, NINE, episodes).
There aren’t enough Gin Rickeys in the world to entice me to watch drunk giant hogs showing me their teats.
As a Docubolic Hypermentary, Pig Bomb pulls out all the stops and will forever be the bar that I judge others against. Fear mongering, a disdain for facts, hyper-accelerated musical touches (provided by Lenny Williams, whose IMDb page shows to be the go-to composer for Docubolic Hypermentaries), cheesy dramatic reenactments from a pig’s point-of-view, an over-reliance on stock footage, the presentation of previously seen scenes as new information, suppositions having more credence than science, and subtitles for Southern drawls, this film has it all.