Inconvenient Truth
This is what I made after inventing the Internet.

Theatrical Release Date: 05/24/2006
Director: Davis Guggenheim
Featuring: Al Gore and an Apple computer

Why do I have the feeling I’m going to hear some interesting comments about the following review?

Oh, that’s right. It’s because I’m reviewing “An Inconvenient Truth” – a film about global warming that’s sooooo un-political, the entire thing is brought to the audience by the self-proclaimed “used to be the next President of the Unites States”, Al Gore.

Before I move on to the issues about global warming brought up in the feature, let me say how utterly disappointed I was that about a quarter of the time I spent in the theater was used to tell me about Gore’s past (family, politics, schooling). It’s not quite a biography as there weren’t any dates but it felt like a puff piece meant to humanize Gore.

The problem there is that I view him as a little wooden puppet who wants to be a real boy.

I realize he is passionate about the subject of global warming and has spent a good deal of his life trying to warn people about their polluting ways. Still, couldn’t the message have been better presented by someone who doesn’t put you to sleep like an audiotape of “The Horse Whisperer”?

I almost wish they had programmed a speak-n-spell. That would have helped me keep from doing that head-jerk thing that tells you (and everyone around you) that you were falling asleep.

And isn’t the film supposed to be about global warming? What does showing Gore being applauded by audiences, or showing him coming to the stage being backlit by a spotlight like a rock star, have to do with global warming?

Anyway, let’s get to the heart of the matter, how well does this film present the problem of global warming and the need for people to act more responsibly towards the environment?

Honestly, I was again disappointed.

I’m not one of the people saying humans aren’t messing with the planet. It’s clear that our pollution is contributing to climate changes and an overall degradation of resources. So really, this film didn’t have to convince me there’s a problem.

And I will admit I was pleased that the film didn’t live up to its trailer. The ads for “An Inconvenient Truth” made it out that the world was going to end tomorrow. Which, if true, means I don’t have to wash dishes tonight. So good and bad really.

But instead of incessantly hammering the message that the sky is falling, Gore tries to present the signs that global warming is affecting our planet and how the problems are worsening at increasing rates. I appreciate that and it’s an argument that makes absolute sense as the human population continues to grow and we find more and more ways to expel pollutants into the environment.

I do wish, however, that more of the “data” Gore used had been labeled with greater specificity. He shows pictures of glaciers all over the world that are retreating. Good idea, probably true.

But one picture of Mt. Kilimanjaro from fifty years ago and another from ten years ago labeled solely with the year is a disputable issue. Was one taken in December and another in July? I think it would matter. I only remember one such image that showed the retreat of the glacier over the course of decades that really said to me, “Here’s proof”.

Heck, I don’t even need proof from this film. I’m already on the side of people who want to reduce the amount of pollution we put out into the environment. I realize the big corporations don’t want to change because it will hurt their bottom line. I get it.

What I wish this film had done was present the methods in which we can change the system, the ways we as individuals can help out.

Gore makes references to the countries and cities that are, or aren’t, helping to tackle global warming. But what does it matter to me if Spain is reducing their carbon dioxide levels or not? I’m glad but I need to know what I can do.

To address that issue, once the moving pictures and narration have all gone away, there is text that tells the audience what to do. One slight problem with that idea.

In movie theaters, audiences get up and leave once the colors and lights fade from the screen. They see text and they run, not walk, back to their SUV’s for the perilous asphalt-paved journey back to suburbia.

Instead of letting me know how Gore’s son was seriously hurt when he was struck by a car or how his sister died of lung cancer, why not use that time to tell me where to begin to change my polluting ways.

Though I still think this is a film worth seeing and I hope it convinces people to at least start making little changes in their habits to help the problem overall. If we all stopped buying gas-guzzling road monsters, if we all used energy-efficient appliances, if we all planted a tree … yada, yada, yada – the list goes on.

I realize the ability to keep even more severe climate changes from occurring is within the reach of all of us. We all just need to be more determined to use the tools available.

I’m giving “An Inconvenient Truth” a 3 out of 5. As a documentary, I’d give it a 2 but the message is important. People should be involved and we should force policy makers to mandate changes from the top down. Until then, all we can do is work from the bottom up.