Al Gore warns of an impending global apocalypse in this horrifying, yet surprisingly enthralling, environmental documentary.
After his controversial defeat to George “Dubbya” in the 2000 presidential elections, Gore reinvented himself and took to the road with a power point lecture on the dangers of global warming which, 6 years later, he has now delivered over 1000 times to audiences across the world.
Mixing a simple slide show (containing graphs, photos and Simpson-style cartoons) with brief clips of Gore’s personal life, the lecture explains with chilling effectiveness how we are rapidly destroying the world we are living in.
In fact, things have got so bad that if we don’t start making changes now, in 50 years time our planet will be virtually unrecognisable from the one we inhabit today.
“The man who used to be the next president of America” lays out his even-handed argument (there are no sly digs at the incompetent Bush administration) without ever patronising his audience and, with only the use of scientific charts and expert testimony, delivers one of the most horrifying feature films of the year.
Gore, after over 30 years of study on the subject with the world’s most qualified experts, explains that hurricane Katrina was a direct result of global warming, that within a decade there will be no snow left on Mount Kilimanjaro, and that by 2050 the polar ice caps will have melted - raising the world’s sea levels by 40 feet and killing millions.
He finishes by warning us that “maybe we need to prepare for more threats than just terrorism”, amen to that.
There’s more of the same on this informative special features package as, exactly one year on from the completion of the movie, Gore gives a thorough update on our current predicament in a half-hour featurette.
He presents “new facts, evidence and findings” that further support his case, not least the figures that show the last 12 months were the hottest ever experienced in the US, with every single one of the 50 States recording temperature increases.
He goes on to say that by 2050 there will be no coral reefs left anywhere on the planet if we continue pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at the current rate, and that the oceans will become overrun with the sort of giant jellyfish that have already become commonplace off the coasts of Japan.
But, again, he leaves us with hope, reassuring us that this can all be avoided, “we just have to summon the will to act”.
Also included are two audio commentaries, first from the producers, and then from director Davis Guggenheim who explains the challenges he faced in turning a boring slide show into an entertaining visual experience.
A music video from Mellissa Etheridge entitled “I Need To Wake Up” completes the package.
The prospect of watching a 100-minute slide show from a former politician with a reputation for rhetorical incompetence and a charisma deficiency to match Sven-Goran Eriksson doesn’t sound too promising – the man lost an election to George Bush for God’s sake! But, in fact, this is a witty, insightful, and downright terrifying lecture, delivered with conviction, passion and a geeky charm that – if the rumours are true - may yet see Gore running for office again in the future.
Staring: Al Gore
Directed by: Davis Guggenheim
Extras: Audio commentary from director Davis Guggenheim, Audio commentary from producers Laurie David, Laurence Bender, Scott Z. Burns and Lesley Chilcott, An update with former Vice President Al Gore, 'Making Of' featurette', 'I Need to Wake Up' music video by Mellissa Etheridge