Thursday, January 26, 2017

Now on Netflix: Print the Legend (2014)

Print the Legend (2014) - Directed by Luis Lopez, Clay Tweel

By Kenny Howell

Technology moves so fast that documentaries or news pieces about the subject can seem dated really fast. That is why there are so many hits on old videos of talk shows talking about this new phenomenon called the internet or world wide web.

Print the Legend has a little bit of that working against it because it is set in 2013, when the groundwork for the new 3D printing industry was being laid. A couple of different companies were battling to be the dominant name in 3D printing, an invention that could be revolutionary in so many areas.

3D printers are out there now, though they haven't really caught on as a big consumer product as of yet. But people are familiar with it. That is why Print the Legend feels a bit dated because the first part of the film works almost as an advertisement for the great new technology. I am sure it wasn't the intention of the filmmakers to think about how this would play a few years from now, but it is hard to get around it a bit when viewing it. It isn't until the film shifts its focus into the ethical arguments about its application (like the man who printed his own gun) and the power struggles within and between the companies that it really cements itself.

Print the Legend follows Makerbot and a few other companies as they race to get the product out first. Makerbot starts as just a 3-man startup, and eventually explodes, which causes some unintended consequences along the way. It's a story that has been told before, and will be told again because these things tend to happen, but Print the Legend does a pretty good job of laying it all out. It maybe could have been a bit more insightful into the inner company workings and how it fell apart, but it does enough to give you the entire picture, and where the industry might be headed.

Print the Legend is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: ***

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