The 11th Hour Approaches

by Alan Rapp on August 30, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The 11th Hour
  • IMDb: link

The 11th Hour

Well, it’s not An Inconvenient Truth (read the review), let’s get that out of the way first.  This new documentary on the increasing problems with the environment doesn’t have the jau de vive, the heart, or the spirit of Al Gore’s documentary from last year.  Though it may not live up to the Gore standard there is plenty to watch (especially in the film’s second half) and more than a little to discuss.

The documentary focuses our attention on the changing climate of the Earth due to a variety of factors including global warming, pollution, over population, and man’s destructive effect on the environment.  Leonardo DiCaprio narrates the film which is filled with interviews from scientists from many fields and countries including Stephen Hawking.

The documentary breaks down into two parts.  The first showcases the increasing dangers and causes and foretells of a dangerous and disastrous future if real change isn’t embraced soon.  This part of the film comes dangerously close to the scare tactics many wanted to, falsely, lay at the feet of An Inconvenient Truth.  This first section of the film comes off as part lecture and part blame instead of the imploring and instruction Al Gore utilized to much better effect.

The second half of the documentary, which works much better in my opinion, focuses on the changes that need to be made and the opportunities available for the future.  The film’s tone shifts dramatically as it becomes hopeful in presenting a possible wondrous future within the grasp of current technology.  Here the film becomes the call to arms and challenge for change that will be needed if we are to continue the farcical history of the human race.

The film jumps from a variety of topics including global warming, pollution, the Industrial Revolution vs. the natural world, and the rise of dangerous climatic changes such as the disappearing arctic and top soil, and the rise of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.  If the film has one message it’s that we are harming our world, and ourselves, in a variety of ways and it will take a new revolution of clean energy based on a recycling model rather than the current wasteful one we have now.

The film’s parts don’t work equally as well, but it is saved by the later half of the film which presents a vision of a better world and a challenge to Americans to change how we treat our world and how we live on this planet.  As the film points out, quite vividly, the time for such change is now as the effects we are causing our environment is reaching a tipping point from which only one thing is certain – the outcome will change the world in which we live in drastic, and perhaps permanent, ways.  This 11th hour is approaching and the responsibility for change rests with us, while there is still time.

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