By Fred Topel | Image property of Paramount Vantage.
An Inconvenient Truth
When you hear that there’s a movie about Al Gore talking about global warming, you don’t expect the entertainment event of the year. But An Inconvenient Truth is as entertaining as nature documentaries can be.
An Inconvenient Truth Review
Composed largely of the speech Gore gives at public addresses, the film captures Gore’s charm and deadpan humor as he presents his visual aids on the issue. Less effective are the personal montages spliced in between speech segments. Even the closest personal parallels he draws between his life and the earth’s future are not necessary to the point of the speech.
Also, just hearing Gore in narration perpetuates the stereotypes of his monotone persona. When you see him, you can appreciate the deadpan of calling himself the “once next president” and commenting on the crowd’s laughter. You can also see his sincerity. He may have the voice of a lecturer but his face has the sincerity of a loving father.
I actually already knew this. Growing up in Maryland, I saw Gore speak at the Naval Academy graduation ceremony. His jokes about his five minute term as president during one of Clinton’s medical incidents practically convinced me to vote for him in 2000. But then, I always went for people who told it like it was rather than those who lied about what we wanted, but that’s just where I’m coming from.
Showing a clip of The Simpsons as one of his visual aids should win anybody over. But even his simple timelines and graphs make it pretty clear that the earth is changing in ways definitively correlated to our recent behavior. It still assumes that his research is not slanted, and the survey of scientific articles he cites later in the speech didn’t leave me 100% convinced.
A part of me assumes that the earth is constantly changing and we are just one of the elements that makes it change. So, the glaciers are melting. Wouldn’t they anyway? Of course, I almost failed Earth Science in high school. And since I don’t want to burn up like Hans Moleman on a hot day, I’ll do my part to save the planet.
At a certain point, Gore starts beating to death certain points long after he’s convinced us. By the time he’s demonstrating which Antarctic ice patches are cracking, we’re ready to hear about the solution. Yeah, it’s sad that polar bears are drowning, but what about us?
Where he won me back was when he started talking about the population issues. I’m totally convinced that we’ve started to multiply too quickly and there need to be fewer of us. Perhaps this should be a birth control film as well as an environmental one.
Ultimately, the solution is already there. That’s comforting to know. It won’t take years and years of research. All we have to do is make some gradual changes. The fact that one of them is telling our friends to see this film may be a bit self-serving, but the other ones seem sound.
The big question I still have is: Now that this speech has been put on film, doesn’t that cut into Gore’s profits on speaking engagements?