Al Gore’s eye-opening documentary heats up looming environmental crisis
If you think there’s no longer a difference between the two main political parties, consider the post-election work of two recent failed presidential candidates. You can see Al Gore’s efforts to sound the alarm about global warming in Davis Guggenheim’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Bob Dole followed his loss by making Viagra commercials.
History may show which was of greater service to humanity right now it’s a tossup.
“An Inconvenient Truth” is essentially a “special edition” of the multimedia presentation Gore has been doing for years, trying to spread the truth “city by city, person by person, family by family. I’ve probably given this slide show at least a thousand times.”
There’s a bit of self-deprecating humor, as when he introduces himself, “I used to be the next President of the United States of America.”
While Gore comes across as less wooden than he seemed on the campaign trail, he’s still no George Clooney, who could have done the same film and sold a lot more tickets.
In this case, the song should be more important than the singer. Gore says he got a heads-up about global warming from one of his professors, and he’s obviously been gathering supportive data ever since. His illustrated lecture incorporates film, animation and lots of charts and statistics that show how things have worsened in recent decades, with atmosphere and temperature trends followed from 650,000 years ago through last summer’s hurricanes.
Glaciers are melting, species are dying out, and storms are getting stronger from traveling over warmer water, Gore says. Yet pseudo-scientists continue to refute facts with theories that there’s nothing to be alarmed about.
Biographical asides present highlights of Gore’s life story. He admits to regretting the damage done by the tobacco his family grew before there was awareness on that topic, but says that in the case of global warming, “We no longer have the luxury of making mistakes.”
Many of the effects of warming are not yet irreversible, Gore says. It’s up to all of us to persuade our legislators to resist corporate lobbyists, but fortunately, “Political will is a renewable resource.”
A montage of the 2000 election, including Gore eventually taking the high road and accepting the Supreme Court decision, might lead some to suspect this film is a way of priming the pump for 2008. Certainly if the environment is as big an issue as it should be, Gore will have his foot in the door. He’ll be able to sell franchises to other candidates who want to discuss it.
Guggenheim’s film isn’t as entertaining as “Super Size Me” or “Fahrenheit 9/11.” But the information it imparts is just as vital, and it makes a potentially dry topic reasonably interesting. It made me think I might stop exhaling so I don’t add to the CO2 levels in the atmosphere. And it will give you something to ponder as you walk to your SUV in the parking lot.
Director: Davis Guggenheim
Featuring: Al Gore
Opens today at Lankmark’s Magnolia Theatre and the Angelika-Plano.
1hr., 34 min.
ETHERIDGE SINGS FOR GORE
It’s not the first time Melissa Etherige has rocked out with a Gore. In 2000, at the Equality Rocks concert, Tipper played drums with the lesbian rocker. And over the closing credits of “An Inconvenient Truth,” Etheridge sings “I Need to Wake Up,” an obvious alarm call that we should think about making changes in our standards of living. Etheridge wrote the song earlier this year. Currently there are no plans to release the song as a single.
Later this month Etheridge beings a summer tour her first since her cancer diagnosis. She performs at the Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie on July 15.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 26, 2006.