Traditionally, documentary films were fairly dry pieces of video journalism that sought to tell a particular story in as factual a manner as possible. They used straight interviews with subjects, and basically followed them around with cameras, documenting events along the way. This was occasionally inter-cut with photos and footage of historical events, where applicable. While at at times the events themselves lent drama to the footage, documentary films tended to be a little on the boring side. Modern documentary filmmakers use a variety of techniques to not only inform, but to entertain as well. Through the use of editing, animation, voice-over, and reenactments, the documentary has, in and of itself, become entertainment.
A great example of modern documentary film making is Michael Moore. His use of humor, music, and animations reinforces the message his films attempt to convey in a manner that is visually stimulating and informative at the same time. Though there has been some debate as to the validity of using such techniques as re-creations, such debate overlooks the purpose of what a documentary film is, and what is is supposed to achieve: to tell a true story in a way that informs its audience and compels a reaction.