Truth be told I was a little sceptical just how entertaining a slide show would be on the big screen. Back in university I groaned silently whenever a student would use a PowerPoint document to aid their presentation, what with their cheap transitions and text sliding distractingly across the page.
Thankfully Al Gore’s presentation is actually a really enjoyable watch. The information is presented simply without being condescending, and more importantly he responds directly to the criticisms of the human-aided global warming theory. He says that he’s done the presentation approximately 1,000 times before, so it’s no wonder that he’s got the talk down perfectly.
Gore states that the scientific consensus is that global warming is real and that we as human beings are contributing to it, which of course has sparked off a lot of controversy in certain sections of the media (or maybe simply brought the existing controversy to the fore). Despite what some critics have said of the film, I didn’t come out of An Inconvenient Truth shocked or alarmed. I actually felt moved to take steps to rectify the problem, which is clearly the film’s intent. This may be because I have pretty much heard all of this information before in various forms and from various sources, though possibly not all in one neat package. Gore has cleverly made the talk quite a positive and uplifting experience, and the end credits are full of ways in which we can make a difference.
The only failing of the film are the brief interludes detailing several ‘significant moments’ in Gore’s life. They serve as useful chapter breaks in his presentation, but they come off as either irrelevant, schmalzy or overly adulatory. I didn’t feel such history needed to be explored unless it pertained to his personal crusade to educate about global warming, and in fact it worked against the film’s credibility by resembling something cooked up by a public relations team. Director David Guggenheim perhaps thought that it made the film a more personal experience, but I could have done without it. Gore’s response to the Presidential Election of 2000 or his son’s accident in 1992 perhaps belonged in a fully fledged biographical documentary rather than this.
An Inconvenient Truth is an historic film first of all because it has succeeded in making a lecture compulsive big screen viewing – though perhaps the praise should go directly to Gore who is such an excellent speaker on the topic. The film is a call to arms, and it certainly got me motivated, so one can only wonder how much change it will influence.Rating: