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An Inconvenient Truth

Genre: , ,

Cast: Al Gore

Director: Davis Guggenheim

Rated: PG

Release Date: November 21st, 2006
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Overall Grade: B

An Inconvenient Truth

Review By: Staff

Click Here to Read the Theatrical Review!

An Inconvenient Truth

I am not here to argue whether global warming exists or not, that's Al Gore's job. The movie did persuade me however to do research on the subject. First off, for everyone shouting, "Buy a hybrid" there's another consoling you, "Don't fall into their web of lies." This is not a surprise. The largest revelation is that there is evidence that supports both sides. Next you have to consider, who is providing this evidence and what is their agenda? Philosophy suddenly creeps into science. What is truth? Oh boy, this is going to get messy.

Let's keep it honest. Al Gore is the last person who should be giving a speech on dire events. Why did director Davis Guggenheim start with Gore's voiceover narration while showing a tree gently swaying in the breeze over a placid river? In doing so, I became a statistic: one of the (many?) viewers that fell asleep within the first fifteen minutes. Great start.

Jolting back to consciousness, I am brought right into Gore's slide show presentation that he has shared with many countries of the world. This is a man on a mission. A hero, if you will. Guggenheim recognizes this (and specifically points it out on his commentary), hence shaping the film into a warning of global warming as well as the story of the man behind the argument. He wants the viewers to see what he sees in Gore, and does so with short portions of film dedicated to Gore's personal life. Gore thought focusing on the presentation is the most important issue, but Guggenheim makes the right decision. Although Gore doesn't receive much of my empathy, the short films at least separate the presentation into segments.

The presentation itself is very interesting and convincing, thanks to the visuals that appear in full screen. Most powerful are the past and present images of glaciers shown from the early 20th century and now, or even a decade ago and now. Clearly they are melting. Is that supposed to be happening? Is it nature's natural progression of the world, just as we begun with the single continent of Pangaea? After researching, I found the arguments for and against global warming both cite scientific journals as their evidence. Gore states that of 998 major scientific peer-reviewed studies, none contest that carbon emissions are the cause of global warming. What about the other hundred that contend the opposite argument? Clearly I wasn't sold on all the ideas. I am convinced that the environment is going down the drain, but is global warming the cause?

For those who do follow Gore and the anxiety over global warming, the movie will

stand as a testament to their beliefs. Once Guggenheim states early on in the commentary that Gore's laptop stands as a central theme of the film, I knew this wasn't for me. The best part is not produced by anyone involved in the film, but is a clip from Futurama that explains what is global warming. The clip was written by Gore's daughter, Kristen Gore but unfortunately, she isn't in the film at all. Also interesting from a film point of view is the fact that Guggenheim uses almost every camera available today: 8 mm, 16 mm, 35 mm, high definition, the list goes on. Therefore he has a great deal of versatility for creating emotion out of the very factual information provided by Gore and his life.

As far as politics go, Guggenheim specifically didn't want the movie to reflect the left side because that would limit the film. This is supposed to be a movie for humans, not for either liberals or conservatives. Yet, a scene is dedicated to the 2000 election when President Bush beat out Gore with a questionable win in Florida. At first this triggered the alarm bells that the Bush bashing will begin, but it instead focuses on the defeat of Gore, again going for that sympathetic tug. A defeated man packs up his bags and gets back on the campaign trail, this time solely for global warming. Although I am not a political or environmental activist, I do give Gore credit for what he's doing.

An Inconvenient Truth does not feel like propaganda. No scare tactics are employed by Gore or Guggenheim. Instead there is an attempt to make a human connection with the audience on an issue considered by both men, as "the most important issue of our generation." Seems that someone from a different generation as myself just couldn't agree.

Special Features

There are two versions of the commentary, one with director David Guggenheim, and another with the producers of the film, Laurie David, Lawrence Bender, Scott Z. Burns, and Lesley Chilcott. The producers should be honored with the Driest Commentary for a Documentary award. When four filmmakers come together for a commentary, some sort of discussion is expected, but instead the viewer is provided very little interaction, just individual comments on different parts of the film. Guggenheim's commentary, however, is very informative and provides plenty of insight on the making of the film.

Similarly, the The Making of An Inconvenient Truth is very interesting and informative in terms of how the main presentation stage was constructed and the unfiltered interactions between Gore and the crew. The third part of the featurette is a throwaway section, showing mainly the presentation itself which the film has already shown.

Melissa Etheridge provides the music for the closing

credits and the DVD includes a 'music video' for the song, "I Need to Wake Up." The video is simply a strong marketing tool to spread the theme of the film, which is to take a part to help stop the destruction of the environment. Scenes of Etheridge singing in front of the projections taken from Gore's presentation are cut between various parts of the film.

Finally, there is an update with Gore on the arguments shown on the film. Some extended scenes are provided, along with in depth information on other topics such as ocean acidification, glacial earthquakes, wildfires, soil moisture, and permafrost. If you enjoyed the film, this is a must see, as it is an extension of the presentation, which wasn't completely covered in the film.

Movie Grade: B-

DVD Grade: B+

Overall Grade: B

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