Monday, October 15, 2007

The 11th Hour

"Global warming is not only the number one environmental challenge we face today, but one of the most important issues facing all of humanity ... We all have to do our part to raise awareness about global warming and the problems we as a people face in promoting a sustainable environmental future for our planet."

---Leonardo DiCaprio

Nobody likes being lectured at, even if it's by Leonardo DiCaprio - and especially not when one is at the movies. But, there are times when a strongly-worded lecture is exactly what's called for. And there are strong words indeed in the dire environmental documentary, "The 11th Hour," which, though produced and narrated by a Hollywood celebrity, is as serious and frightening as a heart attack - and it requires the same attention!

Those who saw last year's Oscar winning documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," might wonder whether this film is any different from the Al Gore starrer. Well, it is.

The difference is in the scope: While "An Inconvenient Truth" focused on global warming and climate change, " The 11th Hour" takes a broader look at the ever-growing, toxic footprint humans have made on an increasingly ailing planet.


You'll no doubt be familiar with the issues that the docu is talking about. Among them are global warming and climate change, as well as, soil degradation, air and ocean pollution, and the rapid extinction of species. It's a bleak list, and the film, helmed by sister-directors, Leila Conners-Peterson and Nadia Conners, makes no bones about how bad things are today.

As a film, the docu isn't particularly enjoyable - and it's not meant to be, but it will keep you riveted. It's also less polite than "An Inconvenient Truth" and has more than one talking head in it.

There are, in fact, more than 50 earnest speakers, and their gloomy predictions paint such bleak picture of the present state of the planet's- and our- health that, for the movie's first half, you'll fell quite depressed.

Toward the end of the harrowing sequence of statements and images, however, the mood lightens. The film throws its disheartened viewers a lifesaver in the form of sustainable, renewable solutions to this "convergence of crises," giving us a glimpse of a carbon-neutral, waste free future - where homes and buildings don't bleed the environment dry.

Resource Speakers

"The 11th Hour" assembles an overwhelming number of resource speakers: Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, former CIA director R. James Woolse, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, scientist David Suzuki, environmental architect William McDonough, and a host of ecologists, entrepreneurs, oceanographers, engineers, authors and eco-activists.

Viewers might find them wearying, but there's much to be gleaned here if you pay attention. Facts and opinions are delivered concisely, and the editing keeps everything moving at a brisk clip - sometimes, too brisk - so, there's no excuse to be bored.

Yes, it's dark and gloomy, but we need movies like "The 11th Hour," because in spite of all the whistle-blowing that's been going on, many of us still seem to think that the environment is the other guy's problem. Fact is, it's now our 11th hour - and we don't have time to waste.

1 comment:

  1. just saw 11th Hour, the "Nature's Operating Instructions" extra feature is especially interesting... apparently there is some amazing technology built into nature, a lot there that we should use as a model for our own technology


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