January 29, 2007

How Convenient!

Okay. So, here's the thing. An Inconvenient Truth is very important and I applaud Al Gore for going out there doing what he's doing. But, really, is this not just preaching to the converted? The biggest problem that Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 had was that it was essentially giving Bush-haters two hours of discussion about how ridiculous he is. And that's what the big problem with An Inconvenient Truth is. Maybe it was because I'm sick and I'm not in the mood to, quite literally, receive a lecture about what a horrible human being I am, but I just couldn't fall in love with this movie. I don't drive, I have energy saving globes in my house, so... what do I get out of this movie? Some snazzy facts and graphics and that's about it. My belief is that until laws are made that are compulsary for people to follow, the general public isn't going to make that much of a difference.

It's big businesses that this movie needs to be seen by, not me. The audience for this film is not me. Clear and simple. Sure, I can sit there and watch it and tut tut everything and shake my head and all that jazz, but really, if I flick a lightswitch off more regularly I'm not going to save Africa. And then when it said that Australia only produced something liker 1.1 per cent of the harmful emissions each year?

...speaking of which, why wasn't Australia represented? There was that bit about the Kyoto Protocol (we're not gonna be signing that until Howard stops stiffing George W Bush's arse, or one of them is dumped by their voters) and that thing about cars, but we've had some pretty big disasters. Meh, anyway.

As I said, I can't in all honesty praise this movie as something revolutionary. Because it's not. The people watching this movie, for the most part, are those who already knew there was a problem. Until Gore comes out and says he's shown it to all these big poluting businesses and that they've decided to lower their toxic emissions, it's just a pretty, albiet horrific, crystal ball. And yes, people can also show it to children and they can also help reverse it, and that's good, and it'll be a great school resource (hi, but I'm not in primary school anymore), but for me it just wasn't life-changing.

The best documentaries take you to a world you didn't know. Think Hoop Dreams (one of my favourite films in general, let alone documentary) and Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (also a very simple idea, but done better). Hell, even Bowling for Columbine. I would have much prefered a film that showed the history of global warming and where it's heading instead of a college lecture. There were clips of politicians and courts discussing global warming, I wanted more of that. Gore gave us bits and pieces of how we got to where we are, but I wanted to see more of how people could have been so blind. I was intrigued by Gore's work in the 1980s and the early anti-warming movement.

I know this was just a rambled collection of thoughts (my brain isn't working properly again yet), but in conclusions - good movie, nice execution, great message, but it's like telling a Bush joke to a group of Democrats. They'll nod their head in agreement but what's that gonna do? C+, I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt because it's such an important topic, although I think as a film and especially as a documentary it deserves no more than a C


Emma said...

Meh. Felt like I was watching just a filmed powerpoint presentation, at times.

Kamikaze Camel said...

True, but I think that helps simplify things. It's just what he's simplifying that I can't get excited about.

So glad I didn't see this at the cinema though.

adam k. said...

Well, I found it tremendously entertaining as well as informative. And I thought it was compelling as a character study of Gore as well (he didn't after all MAKE this film... he is actually the subect of it). And I really took a lot from the general sentiment of "get out of your stupor and learn to truly appreciate life before it's gone."

I basically think it belittles the movie to say it's only a lecture. Maybe it's just cause I saw it back in July when there was literally NOTHING else playing that was any good, but I kinda loved it.

I mean, you could make the same argument about United 93... that it's JUST a recreation of events that we all know happened, so what's the point? I don't think that but some people d0(*cough*NAT*cough*).

And also, I think this movie really does have the ability to change minds. It is nothing like Fahrenheit 9/11 which never even pretended to care about anything other than preaching to the choir.

For example, I bought this movie for my dad for Christmas, cause he doesn't believe in global warming and thinks Al Gore's a boob. He was always like "yeah, I guess I should see it at some point" but he won't unless I literally plop him down in front of it, and then he'll pay attention.

adam k. said...

Anyway, that is the end of my rant. But I really believe in this film and have been known to get defensive about it.

Kamikaze Camel said...

But the thing with United 93 is that it placed me somewhere I had never been before (nor do I ever wish to) that I had no ability to fully comprehend.

But, global warming? I comprehend that. I get it. I totally get it. It's not my fault people are dimwits (er, no offence to you father, lol) and don't think it's real.

As I said, I would have a bit more affection for the film if it was more about documenting the past (as I mentioned, I was really interested in the early anti-global warming movement and all the old clips of politicians and the like) than forecasting the future.

What exactly are Guggenheim and Gore "documenting"? They're documenting Al Gore giving a speech to a bunch of people. For me, that's it. The speech is about something that I personally couldn't get into (because I knew most of it already, if not the cold hard facts and details, then definitely the general gist of it all).

And then just a few hours after this I sat down and watched Dave Chappelle's Block Party - a true documentary of spirit and community and entertainment. Documenting life. Documenting an event. That was special.

I do agree with the fact that An Inconvenient Truth is a character study of sorts of Gore. But, again, it would have worked more for me to show more of Gore's early anti-global warming efforts and the like.

adam k. said...

I need to see the film again (it was a LONG time ago) before responding to specifics. I do think, though, that in the interest of looking forward and dealing with actual problems, the film leaned more toward activism than "documenting the past" as you say, but given the dire nature of the crisis, I think that was an appropriate choice.

But I just remember being very moved as well as educated. Maybe it has something to do with living through the 2000 election debacle (and living in FLORIDA, no less) and getting interested in Gore as a person. But I thought one of the films' great strengths is that it was about him as much as it was about his mission. It personalized it for me.

And to be honest, I DIDN'T know as much about global warming going in (me stupid American)... I just hadn't heard much about what it was really all about... so I also got a lot out of it educationally.

adam k. said...

Oh also, what do you think of my theory on the Volver snub?

Was that already apparent to everyone else, which is why they were so mad? Am I just a little slow? Or had others not though of it either? Cause no one really brought up that particular angle, as far as I remember, and it just hit me tonight how blatantly obvious it is.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I suppose if you were new to the global warming debate then you would have gotten a lot more out of it that I.

Thoughts on Volver are at your blog.