In 2003, The Corporation dropped, and instantly became the de-facto documentary primer for how the ubiquitous brands surrounding us were taking over our lives. So naturally, The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel is here to explain how, well, nothing’s really changed.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the last 17 years, The New Corporation might seem shocking, as creators Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan detail the various atrocities that have happened since, from the 2008 financial crash to Trump’s election and right up to the current corona-virus pandemic. This time, one of the film’s primary thrusts is examining how corporations have insincerely turned towards socially responsible branding to garner good will (and, hence, larger consumption) from the public in times of uncertainty.
But there’s a painful lack of self-awareness here that makes it easy to see where the film’s bias lies, especially when both Rogers and Bell Media (Canada’s two largest telecom companies) are credited right off the top as lead financial supporters. To that end, while corporations around the world get rightfully scorned, Canada is curiously left untouched, even giving us a laughably “heroic” clip of Justin Trudeau giving a speech about how corporations have a duty to be a part of the public good (with no further examination of his own glaring corporate corruption scandals over the last several years).
Unlike the first film, The New Corporation doesn’t dig deep enough, now coming off like just another cog in the system it’s supposedly railing against.