It could almost be a “Beatles or Elvis” or “Mac or PC” question, this: are you an Inconvenient Truth person, or is The 11th Hour more your bag?
I really came to this expecting a tragically hip makeover of Al Gore’s dull scare-mongering slideshow (that description should let you in on my answer to the above question, lol). But though there’s certainly something about Leonardo DiCaprio squinting at the audience that’s at times potentially as annoying as Gore, and the movie does feel at times like a good sit-down-telling-off session, it’s probably put best towards the end by one of the ‘experts’ when he says, “It’s not just global warming …”
I found the movie overall much closer to the “What the Bleep?!” movies (1 2) – though all the talking heads in some way support the overall message that we need to do something about global warming, they’re all very distinct personalities and have very different philosophies about the why of it all. My favourite line in the documentary comes towards the end (sorry to those concerned, I didn’t note down any names): “We need to be slower and we need to be smarter. That means disengaging from consumerism as the main avenue of experience.” It’s really as much about us being plain better as a race as it is about turning off the lights when we’re not in the room. To complete the first quote I began with, “It’s not just global warming – it’s an outward mirror of an inward condition.”
Like I said, it does feel a lot like being told off for 90 minutes. Oddly, my response to that is: if you really feel like you’re above being told off just ‘cos you left school a few years ago, then perhaps you deserve the shitstorm that’s coming. I found it a much more intelligent movie than Al Gore’s, perhaps because the things it’s asking people to do – which really amount to just being a little more considerate – apply whether global warming is real or not. Viewed that way, I can’t deny, this movie really kinda gave me chills.