Tuesday, December 05, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth / **** (PG)

Al Gore

Paramount Classics presents a film directed by Davis Guggenheim. Running time: 100 min. Rated PG (for mild thematic elements).

It is sort of critiquing cliché to say about a film that it should be “required viewing,” but there is hardly any other way to describe the global warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”. And what this frightening documentary puts forth is very concerning indeed.

Director Davis Guggenheim follows former Vice President Al Gore on his lecture tour to raise awareness of the dangers of global warming. He provides a little background into Gore’s nearly life-long pursuit to bring awareness to this pressing issue, but the film spends most of its time simply capturing one of Gore’s engaging lectures.

Yes, Gore’s lecture is quite impressive. It is all very academic, but also incredibly compelling. This is not the same man you might remember from his lackluster run for the presidency in 2000. First of all, he’s funny. He begins his lecture by introducing himself as the man who “used to be the next president of the United States.” After a good laugh from the audience he claims, “I don’t see why that’s funny.”

But very little else of what Gore has to say is amusing. He accuses our political representatives of consciously ignoring the problem because to recognize the problem would also be to realize “the moral imperative to do something is inescapable.” Gore himself played down his environmental platform in his presidential run because of pressure from the Democratic National Committee that it was too leftist. Based on his performance in this film, I would say that may have been the electorate losing mistake.

The sad thing is this is not a political issue, it is a moral one. It is an irony that the “moral” right (or left for that matter) is so ruled by their financial dependency, they choose to do the easy thing above the right thing, which holds the potential for just as many job opportunities as the oil industry claims alternative fuels would cost.

I will leave the facts of the case to an expert like Gore, but this environmental “debate” reminds me in some way of the debate over the war in Iraq. Whether you supported the war from the beginning or not, it seems the general consensus is that something has to change in our approach to Iraq. While criticism of the war is high, reasonable solutions on what to do about it seem hard to come by. It seems the general public has a similar outlook on the environment. The powers-that-be (whomever they may be) seem to have the attitude that the only solution is unreasonable, and the public at large is content to accept that, but the best feature of this film is that Gore lays down some very simple, attainable solutions that will vastly affect the doomsday predictions that all the scientific evidence points toward.

Gore convinced me it is everyone’s responsibility to fix this problem that our modern society has created. This is why this film is required viewing. I would hope that this review would convince all its readers to rent the film, but since I am aware that my opinion of a film is hardly the final determining factor in my reader’s rental practices, I will attempt to do some of the work here for you.

From the website www.climatecrisis.net I’ve included their list of ten things you can do to help:

1. Change your light bulbs. A fluorescent light bulb uses 150 pounds less carbon dioxide per year than a regular light bulb.
2. Drive less. Walk, ride a bike, or use mass transit.
3. Recycle more.
4. Check your tires. Properly inflated tires will improve your gas mileage.
5. Use less hot water.
6. Avoid products with a lot of packaging.
7. Adjust your thermostat. 2 degrees can save 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
8.Plant a tree. A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide during its life time.
9. Turn off electronic devices when they are not in use.
10. Spread the word.

One of the best ways to achieve the last tip on this list is to rent this film with someone else. It is as terrifying as it is educational. I should have included it in this year’s Horrorfest. One thing this film isn’t is boring.

No comments: