Sunday, October 23, 2011

Environmentalism 9/11: An Inconvenient Truth Resonates!

The Good: Informative, Well-researched, Well-argued, Al Gore, Decent clips
The Bad: Some moments of editing (transitions), Mostly preaching to the choir
The Basics: As Al Gore travels the world presenting his slide show on global warming, the viewer learns about global warming from a variety of perspectives and is inspired to act with An Inconvenient Truth.

It is not long into An Inconvenient Truth that politically active viewers are likely to start to feel like they have seen or heard something like this movie before. It might be unsettling as they try to figure it out, so I'm pleased to help identify what might seem familiar here: the musical cues. Director Davis Guggenheim appears to have used subtle crescendos throughout the movie to accent points much the way Michael Moore did in Fahrenheit 9/11 (reviewed here!).

Like Fahrenheit 9/11, An Inconvenient Truth is a documentary, in this case on global warming. In it, Al Gore charts both his interest and activism in the politics of combating global warming and the scientific principles and projections surrounding global warming. In the simplest possible language, with some of the most conclusive and damning evidence, Al Gore exposes the basis for the global warming problem, the scientific analysis projecting the coming global cataclysm and the corporate mechanisms looking to discredit the environmental movement from adequately informing the public and combating the problem.

It's astonishing to me that this movie is rated PG. Everyone ought to see this and I cannot yet find what the "mild thematic elements" are that make this unsuitable for some children. I suppose the title says it all; sometimes the truth can be inconvenient. I guess some don't want children to know that.

This is a remarkably well-researched movie. Al Gore and the film's producers have put an astonishing amount of time into researching global warming and checking their facts. And there are some who will object to the data Gore presents here on a scientific basis. They are called reactionary theologians. I say this because Gore uses data that has been collected and analyzed that stretches back (from core samples, for example) thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. Those who object to hard science and continue to believe that the Earth is less than six thousand years old will immediately dismiss data Gore presents stretching back multiple ice ages to 650,000 years ago.

For the rest of us, who live in the real world, this film is remarkably informative. Gore lays out the clear patterns that exist between humanity and the problems of global warming. He traces the rise of the oceans to problems with humanity, endangered species, drought and population control. With savvy and humor he paints the problem as a moral issue and one that humanity can control.

Most damning, Gore illustrates the complicity of the United States in creating the problems that threaten the world. He swiftly debunks the notions of environmentalism being unprofitable - his car chart with emissions and gas mileage is quite telling. Al Gore calls upon the viewer to grasp the concepts and change their lives. One of the things the producers ask is to have people recommend the movie, to get others to watch it and get involved in solving the problem.

YOU! You reading this, RENT, BUY or Borrow An Inconvenient Truth! WATCH IT! Pass it on! Get involved!

For those who might not have liked the politician Al Gore, there are a few jabs in the documentary that you might not appreciate, but like Moore in Fahrenheit 9/11, the most poignant jabs are simply letting his opposition say what they said on camera. Seeing George H.W. Bush declare that environmentalists will cause americans to lose jobs and owls to take over is one of the most disturbingly hilarious and ridiculous clips I have ever seen (including watching Gerald Ford fall down).

But because so much of the movie rests on Al Gore and his ability to be convincing and even charming, it is germane to note that he is. Gore is savvy and funny in An Inconvenient Truth. He is articulate, clearly educated and he's a master in his field from the opening all the way through. It is almost impossible not to see the passion he has for the environment, the love he has for humanity and his sincere desire to see this problem rectified. Gore works very hard to tie this problem to both morals and tragedies, both national and personal in his life, and he does this quite successfully.

The only serious problem I noticed were some very abrupt cuts in the movie. There are moments in An Inconvenient Truth that Gore will make a particularly poignant point and the film will cut to a clip that is louder, faster moving or otherwise so dramatically different as to not allow the viewer to fully absorb the impact of Gore's revelation.

In short, if you've wanted to learn more about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth is an excellent educational tool. If you've never believed in the threat of global warming, An Inconvenient Truth is an amazing counter argument to shake you from your ignorance. And if you've ever wanted to help people get involved, screen An Inconvenient Truth and talk with your friends afterward; it is entertaining enough to be enjoyable and convincing and compelling enough to stir a nation, our nation, into action.

This is certainly worthy of all our time and attention.

For other documentaries, please check out my reviews of:
George W. Bush: Faith In The White House
March Of The Penguins
"Anatomy Of A Homicide"


For other film reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2007, 2006 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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