Sunday, February 04, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

First off, let me say that whether the global warming people are over-stating it or not, mere common sense will tell you that we have to take better care of the earth. When God gave the creation mandate to "subdue the earth", I don't think he had the raping and pillaging of the 20th century in mind. With this movie we have a wake up call, and we should take it.

Okay, on to my critique. First of all, I like the documentary. Second of all, I loved the passion. Al Gore is a man on a mission. Thirdly, I like the relevance. Somehow it is hard to rate this alongside, say, Talladega Nights. We just have massive differences in importance, even though as a movie we may enjoy Will Ferrell's distractions more. Fourthly: well done.

But let's be real here. I certainly hope I'm not the only one who can see when he is being manipulated. Even if it is for a good cause, it is sort of annoying. When Gore keeps telling us "the scientists" this and "the scientists" that it makes you start to wonder: what scientists? all of them? when do we get to see some of these scientists? are they that dorky looking that they can't be on the film? all of them?At one point Gore is careful to point out the unanimity of the scientific community on something (based on a sampling of journal articles) but the rest of the time we are just told that this is what "the scientists" say, or what "my friends tell me".

It's not that I doubt much of what they are saying (although there were a few "facts" I'd like to look up), nor am I arguing that there isn't something important here, I just have to point out how annoying this is.

The other thing that annoyed me was the use of graphs. Clearly when the lines are going up, we have big big problems. That's all we need to know. No info on what the graphs really stand for or what the earth can handle. Just graphs. Lots of them. And every line is going up. Bad news.

Okay I'm being hard on it. Fact is, this is a documentary and not a pure information session. We can and probably should do our own research. I just cringe at the thought that this is all the research most of us will ever do, and well, at times it felt like Fahrenheit 911. Not that that movie didn't have some good things to expose, but it was very manipulative and I didn't like being treated like an idiot. There was a bit of that feeling here, although not as much. This did have a lot more straightforward preaching. Certainly we should all take notice.

What was incredibly unecessary was the peice of the movie dedicated to Gore's controversial election loss to Bush. This had no place in a movie on this topic, and although it set things in an autobiographical context, it just reeked of party-politics, revenge and vindication. Maybe Gore needed that, but it certainly didn't help the movie or the cause. If anything it made me go, "Okay, I see what this movie is about."

I don't think that's really what the movie is about, mind you, but it distracted and called into question the integrity of the movie.

I'm still pretty much sold on the idea. Let's take care of this earth of ours folks. If not because Gore said so, because God said so. The thing that annoys me most is imagining Christians panning this movie and ignoring global warming just because it is Gore, not Bush; or because he talks a wee bit of evolution; or because, heck, we're gonna get raptured anyway. What a sinful way to treat and think about creation. (I hope it doesn't happen). Throw in some Scripture (i.e. Genesis 1-2) here and Gore could have had himself a good sermon.

And actually, that's my last comment. What amazes me about this is that now, when we don't hear so many of the doomsday Christian preachers anymore (Y2K stung), now we have it in theatre. Weird. Not to mention the title. This could have been the title for Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ.


Tony Tanti said...

I just wrote a big long comment and it didn't work, blogger's been crappy lately.

Anyway, good take on this movie, I haven't seen it but have heard similar senitments from many.

There is certainly not unanimous consent among scientists about how much climate change is human caused. No matter how much is our fault I think we need to do everything we can to stop damaging our earth.

matthew a. wilkinson said...

Sounds like a classic case of good message/bad movie.

One of my favourite film critics, William Bayer, summed this scenario up nicely. He said: “Among the worst mistakes that a filmmaker can make is to think that because his point of view is just, his nobility of heart will move an audience, or that because an issue is important its form is not. Subject matter will not redeem a bad film. Sincerity of purpose is not sufficient."

I think the same is true for artistic ambition. Directors seem to think that because a film is ambitious it is therefore artistically succesful; which is obviously not true.

There are far too many bad pictures with good intentions. Thanks for the heads up on this one.

Coutts said...

that's a great quote! i totally agree.

i will say that this wasn't necessarily ruined for me, but it definitely runs along those lines.

sorry you lost your post tanti, i've been copying my text before I hit publish, just in case I lose it. I think google is working out some bugs. you are right, this movie didn't really change my mind on the issue. common sense: take care of the earth for goodness sakes. people are idiots, especially when they can make money from it.

Kenny said...

I think that "the scientists" are sort of like the 4 out of 5 dentists who reccomend colgate. What does that one dentist have against colgate, and who are the the other 4 people??

bcmatt said...

Since we are all agreeing on everything here, I'd like to throw my hat in the circle to and say I really agree with Wilkinson on this one (and everyone I guess). I know it is a good message and the facts are generally true but they are presented in a not-solid enough way for me. I also got quite sick of watching Al Gore sit with his Mac laptop staring out a window with a concerned look on his face. Seriously, that scene showed up way too much. Don't get me wrong, I like macs...I just don't like windows.