Throughtwo best friends and graduates, the film speaks volumesabout the advancement of corn from the manufacture and ultimatelywhere it ends up. They decide to travel from Boston to Lowa to becomecorn farmers with the aim of discovering more about the staple foodcrop in their country. Through their expedition, they highlight therisen rate of corn production in America and how the governmentsupports it by providing adequate finance. They also spotlight theunhealthy corn substance in a large number of foods in grocery storesand the dematerializing of family farms. It raises several concernsin what contents are added to the corn to make it suitable for use incommercial foods and consumption by animals. The harmful transformedproduct poses serious health risks to human beings. What led to theincrease in corn production? Is it worth it? Could the narrator bemore right? The movie intuitively asks these questions.
Thisfilm argues about the effects that industrialization has brought tothe food consumed by the current generation. It also focuses on theeffects the chemicals added to these foods has on human health,lifespan and livestock. The government plays a critical role in theproduction and processing of corn. Over time, production of corn hasincreased and farmers have shifted from subsistence farming to largescale and commercial farming. Since the government finds corn a cheapcommodity which can easily be manipulated to a wide range ofproducts, it encourages its production. A demand is then created andthrough farmers adequate supplies are made. Corn has becomerelatively cheap and is being used economically. How? It canmanufacture a variety of foods from meat products to the sugar insodas. Corn farming is not as profitable but since the governmentpays farmers to produce it, well it presents an opportunity offinancial gain and economic growth[ CITATION And16 l 1033 ].As this cycle goes on, a vast produce is realized, the economyis maintained but a cost is paid. An imbalance in diet and excessconsumption of chemical sugars exposes people to diabetes, increasedobesity and a reduced lifespan. People either end up losing theirlives or seeking costly medical expertise to treat the ailments.Cheap in reality is expensive.
Scenesin the film illustrate how transition and mechanization has degradedfood quality. Negligible profit is realized when farmers grow andsell corn since the have to invest in fertilizer and herbicides whichreduce their chances to maximize profits. The government intervenesand pays farmers 28$ and other subsidies for an acre of corn planted.Seeds are also genetically modified to withstand herbicides. Theseseeds produce inedible corn which has to be processed to be eaten.The two friends find its taste awful and the farmer tells them thatit is raw material for other processes. The corn is fed to animals toincrease meat production, turned to ethanol, and through theestablished industry of corn sweetening corn syrup with highfructose is produced. In Colorado, Cheney and Ellis discover thatcorn is used as the primary meal for cattle. Since the corn sickensthe cattle, a small quantity of antibiotics is added to enable thelivestock to combat the acid levels that the feed inflicts on them.This results to a more obese than muscular animal. Hamburgers aremost Americans’ favorite. This meat contains 65% fat. A fast foodlike McDonalds presents all its food in form of corn. The syrupsweeteners have high fructose levels which are soon able to sweetenbeverages. Soda is described as liquid candy[ CITATION Cur07 l 1033 ].This is among the main contributors of the increased diabetes andobesity rates among people.
Withfarmers focusing more on financial gain and the government wanting tocheaply manufacture food, the equation balances out. The plant ismodified for cheap overproduction hence more yield than nutrient. Thecorn has to undergo chemical alterations for it to be edible[ CITATION And16 l 1033 ]. To manufacture meat over a short time, the livestock consume thecorn as a primary feed. By eating the corn, cattle are exposed todeath from acidity. This is curbed through adding antibiotics toreduce the acidity risk[ CITATION Cur07 l 1033 ].These antibiotics together with the modification done to alter thefeed promote more growth of animal fat than muscles. It is a win/winsituation for the farmers and the government. What happens to thepeople who consume the end products? They risk suffering from chronicdiseases and their nutritional gain is reduced[ CITATION Cur07 l 1033 ].The increased cases of diabetes and obesity can be attributed to theconsumption of corn products. Without realizing it, the government issubjecting people to disease and reduced lifespan. The economy willbe more injured by the expensive medical care used to treat thedisease and the manufacturing of cheap food will be pointless. Peopledo not realize that they ingest more corn than they could think of.They feed to satisfaction without a potential nutritional gain.
Themost captivating interviews involve the two friends, Mr. Butz and thefarmers. They interview Mr. Earl Butz in a retirement home. From him,they find out that corn farming is now a commercial activity. WhenMr. Butz was a child, farming was a family operation. The governmentthen paid them not to produce corn but overtime the system was ruledout. He adds that currently feeding is cheap as compared to hisyouthful days[ CITATION Cur07 l 1033 ].They also interview a corn farmer. From him, they discover that fromapproximately 30-40 years ago, industrialized corn is the main typeof corn grown. This corn type was modified to withstand herbicidesand tolerate close growth with one end goal inmind, increased yield. They become knowledgeable of the feedlotmethod used for cattle where they are fed primarily from corn. Theylearn that small farms are being substituted for large ones andcurrently the produce is four times as much as compared to the timeof their grandparents[ CITATION Cur07 l 1033 ].Theseinterviews present the fact that nutritional value is beingsacrificed for monetary value and subsidy of happy meals is morevaluable than the subsidy of healthy ones. The superb soundtracks andthe delightful animations employed blend well to accomplish thefilm’s intention.
Thefilm uses young characters as its main to capture the attention ofyoung adults. It carefully and tactfully approaches politics andconveys it in a soft spoken manner. Humor and everyday language isincorporated to engage its audience. General and personal opinions ofpeople in the industry spoken of are handled judiciously and bringout no bias. It carefully relays disparate views. It is surprisinghow it covers ground that has already been wandered through butbrings it out differently. Unlike others similar to it, it does notshock, scare, pose a specific agenda or directly make realitysuperior but it instead makes the film explorative and easy to relateto. Scenes in the film promoting use of drugs are its weak pointssince it is constructed to attract young adults. The main charactersare shown drinking alcohol in a pool bar, they seem to be encouragingthe use of alcoholic substances.
Aaron Wolf, C. E. (Producer), Aaron Wolf, C. E. (Writer), & Woolf, A. (Director). (2007). King Corn [Motion Picture]. United States.
Pelleschi, A. (2016). Inside the corn industry (1st ed.). North Carolina: Minneapolis, Minnesota : Essential Library, an imprint of Abdo Publishing, .