I used to truly enjoy horror films. Then something happened to them where they became more about making people jump out of their seats in PG-13 "fear" that seems to be cheap enough for the studios to keep churning out more. Rarely does a movie actually burrow itself into my head (or craw, depending on how I'm feelin' that day) and scare the ever loving crap out of me. An Inconvenient Truth is the first movie in a long time to do that. The main problem? It's not a horror movie.
For those who aren't aware, An Inconvenient Truth is a documentary about Al Gore. Specifically, it's about his travelling roadshow that explains the state of the planet due to global warming. The film shows Gore on the road, taking his presentation to universities across the world, talking to crowds of interested people, and he basically scares the crap out of them by showing them evidence of global warming. Glaciers that were enormous and majestic now look like cozy vacation spots one month away from time share development. The grand peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro shows the diminishing snow tipped peak that has happened over the past 30 some odd years. Real pictures and real (unobjected) evidence from scientists is used to show that this isnot just a conspiracy theory, but an actuality.
Politics stay out of the ring of this film, for the most part. Mainly because (and I'm paraphrasing the movie, if by paraphrasing you mean "take directly from") global warming is not a politcal issue, but a MORAL issue. Can you actually allow this to happen? It's not just going to go away and become another generation's problem because if the trend conitnues, there will be no future generations left to address the problem. Especially if you live in one of the areas that will no doubt disapper under water should the polar ice caps melt. (A scenario that is shown from scientists' best predicted model). The frightening part about all this is not knowing that we have pretty much doomed ourselves into seriously destroying our planet, as much as it is that we can actually do something about it to reverse the trend and yet nobody does anything about it.
The film offers solutions, which is a nice change of pace from most documentaries that fix it's gaze on a political target and just kind of shrug at the end and shrug because that's the way things are. (Fahrenheit 9/11 I'm looking in your direction). And, in what could also be seen as a revolutionary step, the film is actually quite fun to watch. We're all screwed, but that doesn't mean it has to be so grim. Don't believe me? Let the Futurama cartoon about Global Warming (which Gore has conveniently placed in his presentation, in part because it's accurate AND hilarious, and in part because his daughter was a key writer for the series) do it for you. And when Gore speaks to a crowd about certain things, such as the Presidential election of 2000, he has a good sense of humor about it. Gore even opens up about his personal life, which contributes to the man's lifelong crusade against global warming. He's your main character, and the film is about his passion.
The film is intelligent, never talking down to it's audience. It presents science in it's simplest terms, to make even the biggest scientific idiot (re: me) understand that there is indeed a problem. And yes, when you come to the final realization that this is a real problem, it becomes one of the scariest movies I have ever seen. But knowing that people can help make a change provides hope for the future. In a perfect world, this movie will spark a change, so the least I can do is get behind it with as much force as I can.
Bottom line is this: YOU NEED TO SEE THIS MOVIE. This is where I let my hippie freak flag flies high, but truth is, if we don't do something about it then nobody will. We are gonna become the endangered species* It's, as the title kindly reminds us, an inconvenient truth, but it's time to stop ignoring a situation that could potentially turn deadly.
As a comedian who I can't remember once said, the planet has been around for a long time, and will continue to survive long after humanity has left it. It's up to us to continue human's superiority on the food chain. Seeing this film would be a good start to ensure that we do.
* If they had a REALLY good sense of humor about the film, they'd release it with a summer-friendly ultra buzz catchphrase just like that. "There are over 4 million creatures on the Endangered Species List. Man is the next one down". Hey, it's just as bad as whoever wins, we lose.