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Overall Rating
4.1

Awesome: 26.47%
Worth A Look66.18%
Average: 1.47%
Pretty Bad: 2.94%
Total Crap: 2.94%

7 reviews, 26 user ratings


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Inconvenient Truth, An
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by EricDSnider

"FINE. I'll put out that pile of tires that's been burning in my backyard."
4 stars

The main argument I've been hearing against global warming is that the Earth naturally goes through cycles, and that there's nothing we can do about a periodic cooling off or heating up of the atmosphere. The point Al Gore's shockumentary "An Inconvenient Truth" makes over and over again is that yes, things like this have happened before -- BUT NOT THIS MUCH.

Scientists can determine the Earth's carbon dioxide levels for the past 650,000 years, and in that time the level never went above 300 parts per million. Now it's at 380 and rising. So yes, the CO2 levels have gone up and down over time -- but they've never gone up THIS high before.

More CO2 means higher temperatures -- Gore has the graphs to prove it -- and sure enough, 10 of the hottest years on record (that is, since 1880 or so) have been in the last 14 years. The very hottest year on record? A little year we like to call 2005.

So the world IS heating up, and that's pretty well irrefutable. I mean, the temperature is easy to agree on, and it's a cinch to keep track of. The question, then, is two-fold:

1. Is it our fault?
2. Can we do anything about it?

Gore, as you already know, says the answer to both questions is yes. "An Inconvenient Truth," directed by TV-drama man Davis Guggenheim, feels like the summation of Gore's life's work. He starts out folksy and accessible, talking to his audience (most of the film was shot at one of his PowerPoint-based public speeches) and presenting the facts in a simple, easy-to-understand fashion. As he progresses, he becomes more impassioned, more fervent. It's clear he has no ulterior motive. He believes this whole-heartedly.

About an hour of the film focuses on what's happened so far and what's happening now. There are alarming before-and-after photos of the world's glaciers, many of which are now lakes or gone altogether but which were enormous masses of ice just 30 or 40 years ago. Gore shows us huge chunks of Antarctica that have broken off the ice shelf and melted into the sea. We get the stats on the polar ice cap, which has grown progressively thinner in the last 100 years.

He explains why it would be bad if the ice caps melt, and why increasing temperatures have done some major damage already. He explains it better than I could, but suffice it to say, it's not good.

Gore says the biggest misconception people have about global warming is thinking it's still being debated within the scientific community. "Not really," he says, and then he unloads these findings, which I found very enlightening:

They did a random sampling of 928 global-warming-related articles from all the regular peer-reviewed scientific journals. Of those 928 (which comprise 10 percent of the total published), how many suggested that global warming was not a reality, or that it was part of a natural Earth cycle, or that there was nothing we could do about it? A grand total of zero. What Gore is saying -- it's real, it's not natural, but we can stop it -- is the overwhelming consensus among scientists, if the articles they publish are any indication. It's not being "debated." It's accepted as fact.

Yet 57 percent of newspaper stories related to global warming mention the "controversy" or "uncertainty" of it. Gore says this is due to a campaign of misinformation by Big Oil, which wants to reposition global warming as a "theory" rather than a fact. He compares it to the tobacco industry, which still insists there is some "debate" as to the harmfulness of their product, when really the only debate is in their imagination.

Gore is at his best when he's on the stage, presenting the information like a particularly engaging college professor. His lecture is compelling and alarming, smart enough to be useful but not overloaded with so much scientific jargon that it makes your eyes glaze over. Gore post-2000 reminds me of Bob Dole post-1996: If he'd been this personable and normal during the campaign, he might have won.

The film's less useful moments are some narrated segments in which Gore suggests that major incidents in his personal life -- his son's near-fatal car accident in 1989, his defeat in the 2000 election -- refocused his vision on environmentalism. It may be true, but it smells sanctimonious and self-aggrandizing, which he tends not to be otherwise. A lone reference to 9/11 is manipulative and unnecessary, too.

Does he have his facts straight? Well, unless scientists have been refuting his claims and simply failing to publish articles in scientific journals saying so, then yes, he apparently has the vast majority of the scientific community behind him. And if what he's saying is true, then we ought to do something about it. This isn't a "fun" film, per se, but it never ceases to be fascinating and eye-opening.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14538&reviewer=247
originally posted: 06/09/06 17:47:38
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User Comments

4/13/16 Dane Youssef So important. Defines the terms KEYNOTE, MULTI-MEDIA and POWER-POINT. Do not miss. 5 stars
1/17/10 Dane Youssef A crutial one to see. Gore should have had the oval office. Power point never so vital. 5 stars
8/31/08 AnnieG Educational and depressing. 4 stars
6/11/08 PAUL SHORTT POWERFUL,INTELLIGENT, COMPELLING AND SUPRISINGLY ENTERTAINING 4 stars
10/21/07 Minecxio Antigab, your comment is irony at it's finest....next time google the acronym, 'IQ' 3 stars
10/15/07 fools♫gold Yeah, I know. Fine. I'm aware. Ok. Aren't we dead yet? Whatever, I know. 2 stars
6/19/07 Jessiika Yeah, we're fucking this world up. 5 stars
4/23/07 al hester please, I urge everyone to compare Mr. Gore's data to that of Dr. Lindzen & Dr. Singer 2 stars
3/03/07 David Pollastrini Liberal Trash 1 stars
3/01/07 Anti-Gab Presenting to the masses what most IQ's have known for decades 4 stars
1/07/07 Johnnyfog. Oh we are SO fucked. 4 stars
10/09/06 Laura Bush This movie was so good, I want to have Al Gore's baby 5 stars
9/27/06 Raj Scary film! It was shocking to see the ice breaking and falling into the sea. 5 stars
9/19/06 Ma-Ma-Monkey Not as Republican bashing as i thought it would be. Very informative and should be seen! 5 stars
9/14/06 FayeU Go see it. Go see it. Go see it. Wake up call for everyone about global warming. 5 stars
7/31/06 oconnorbet@AOL.com Scary! 4 stars
7/24/06 shane swank Important film that no one who needs too will watch. Too bad. 4 stars
7/19/06 jcjs well put together much needed film giving facts and impetus to get off our dead asses 4 stars
7/17/06 jcjs amazing how idiotic folks can be (Mr. Cranky) to not want to take care of the earth..so sad 5 stars
7/08/06 Bert Kaplan This movie needs to be seen by every conscious human being. 5 stars
7/05/06 ajay boring at times, but most of it was pretty interesting. 4 stars
6/25/06 Suzz only go if you think the planet is worth an effort 5 stars
6/19/06 susan must be seen 5 stars
6/18/06 Jim Coming Soon: Waterfront property, everywhere. 4 stars
5/28/06 Heather Great movie, Al was able to provide facts to back up his argument 5 stars
5/27/06 Fred Some good science, too much rabid junk science, Gore blew the opportunity 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-May-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 21-Nov-2006

UK
  15-Sep-2006

Australia
  14-Sep-2006


Directed by
  Davis Guggenheim

Written by
  (documentary)

Cast
  Al Gore



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