by Dane Youssef
Pumping smoke stacks, puking exhaust pipes, fires burning, ice melting, deserts spreading... and most of the world turning a blind eye... until it hits them. Deserts are spreading. Icebergs are melting, shrinking. New diseases are developing. Old diseases are flourishing. Temperatures are sky-rocketing. Homes are being destroyed. Animal species are going extinct. People are actually dying...
The sky is a-blazing. It looks like desert heat all around. The ice age seems to be long over and now we're in a heat wave that shows no signs of ending. In fact, it all shows signs of worsening. At this rate, the future will resemble something like "Waterworld" or "I Am Legend."
He's flat-out told us again and again, "This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue."
AL GORE WAS THE MAN whom every democrat, every liberal-anyone with any common sense and taste was rooting to take first Presidential chair in 2001. The man received the Nobel Prize for World Peace. He received Vice-Presidency twice.
"INCONVENIENT TRUTH" has been a world-tour lecture, a book... and now a movie. And since then, probably a helluva lot more. Gore campaigns for saving the planet harder than he did for any political office. This is definitely a movie that needs to be seen-without question. And more than once to be totally understood. Memorized. Every last detail.
Now Moore's films are really editorials more than anything else. The Big Man delivers his opinion, his synopsis, his beliefs more than anything else.
Gore's movie is also one-sided, but more than the traditional documentary or even docudrama, "INCONVENIENT TRUTH" is more of an inflated Multimedia Key Note presentation filmed live in concert by the former would-be President of the United States. But there is plenty of doc-footage incorporated that's wrapped around Gore's lecture. He shows us the progressive thawing that has occurred in places like Patagonia and Mt. Kilimanjaro. How massive heat waves have been taken place that feel like summer in Death Valley all-year around.
There are certain movies that should not be copyrighted at all, but rather in the public domain. Michael Moore allowed "Fahrenheit 9/11" to be put online and downloaded for free because he believed every person on the planet needed to see his message.
While it's billed as a documentary (or "docu-drama"), about 90% of "AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH" is flat-out PowerPoint lecture in the form of slides, rather than an actual documentary. Michael Moore has become to the documentary what... well, George Washington or Abraham Lincoln were to politics. And what Gore has always wished he could be. My mother said she's loved ever since the days when he was Clinton's right-hand man. She voted for him when he went after the presidency and was heartbroken when he was denied his rightful seat in office.
"INCONVENIENT TRUTH" is occasionally a documentary. Director Davis Guggenheim incorporates some footage of the personal trials in the man's life. His family that were tobacco farmers and how this cost him his only sister. The evil of the Red State Party. His son's near-death experience. And of course, the fact that the official seat of power was almost criminally denied to him in the year of our Lord, 2001.
There are even slides. Gore calls his presentation "a slide show." Now that doesn't seem like a high selling point. Power-point. Slide show. Environment. Not exactly something that describes the summer blockbuster, is it? And yet, this is not only one to see--it's a must-see. An absolute
must-see. Like the latest breaking news exclusive... it's necessary for the sake of your life, the lives of your loved ones, everyone else... the whole wide world itself.
Remember that awful summer blockbuster "Waterworld"? It was so bad, God Forbid that piece of over-budgeted tripe come true.
That one was all wet, but that was an absolute possibility? Hell, it could be even worse. None of the humans may make it at all. Not even Kevin Costner and Dennis Hopper.
But "INCONVENIENT TRUTH" doesn't just keep on the impending global end as the movie interrupts to shine on the former vice-president's personal life: his loss of the presidency, his son's near-death experience, his childhood home and the memories he made there.
Gore's daughter Kristen, writes for the science-fiction cartoon "Futurama" and Gore even uses a clip from an episode on global warming to illustrate his power-point all the further. Hell, it practically defines the term "Power-Point." No, it's not as enthralling as a Moore pic. But it's certainly more interesting and informative that the standard boilerplate college geography/science class. And Gore shows us as always, America is "by far, the biggest contributor to the problem." Speaking personally as an American, why is that always the case?
And those docudrama scenes are sprinkled with just a hint of the right dramatic music. 99% of the movie, which is the photographed multimedia lecture has no music on the soundtrack--probably so we can focus on Gore, his Power Points ... and we, the people can draw our own conclusions from the facts he give us.
When Gore talks of his childhood spent on the tobacco farm, he gives me a line that filled me with jealousy: "As a kid, it took me a long time to figure out the difference between play and work." Yeah, rub it in, Al. Rub it in.
After this, one feels he should be elected God. Of everything. Well, at least our personal hero. I laughed when I read this professional review from Mick La Sale of the San Francisco Chronicle remarking, "The camera has never loved Gore, but something is going on in "An Inconvenient Truth," and that's the other big story here. Gore has come back on the scene heavier, older and a lot more likable, physically transformed in a way as to allow people to see him as if for the first time. After years of looking like Clark Kent without the glasses, Gore looks like a heavyset mensch. Moreover, the change seems to be more than surface."
It's not that the camera really hates Gore. It's that the microphone doesn't really love him. The man has no energy. He always seems to be sedated, under the influence of an overdose heavy Valium. Albert Gore does not have an enthralling show presence. On stage, he tends to come off rather fuddy-duddyish. Dull. He never really electrifies. Gore is a bore. Usually.
Now a handful of folk have hated this film. We're not meant to please everybody, are we? I'm the kind of person who believes if you are pleasing everybody, you're doing something wrong. Gore comes across as a Harvard college professor giving a lecture-but maybe that's all this movie needs to be. And in the end, "INCONVENIENT TRUTH" made me assured that I made the right choice voting for him twice. Even though somehow we all knew Lucifer and Rosemary's Demon Seed was going to win. After this movie... I think just about anybody would put this man in office. If not in the White House, then maybe the head of Greenpeace.
George W. still resents Gore for daring to threaten his attempt at the Presidency-following in his father's footsteps. And so do all of we. It's worse than mere melting of the polar ice caps. Yes, there have been floods-a lot of them. But excuse me for saying so, that is just the tip of the iceberg. We hear about how people in hotter climates of the world (Africa, Egypt, India, etc.) are dying of heat exposure. We see there is drought as well as flood.
Gore, director Guggenheim and co. could have literally just layed a lot of music on the soundtrack to force the "right opinion" on us. But damn them, they let us have our own opinion. There could have been a lot more newsreel footage with a lot of pop music on the score-as well as a lot of biased commentary telling us "what is" like the thrilling, infamous (but often perjurious) docudramas of Michael Moore. But Gore and his crew try to let the statistics speak for themselves. Gore has never come across as enthralling or charismatic... at least now until now... somehow.
But Gore is not the only politician in this movie. We hear from the other-side, the red-state, right-wing "bad guys" who attempt to silence the plea to stop "the end of the world as we know it"-that's right, largely Republicans and Capitalists who know that the companies causing the Greenhouse Effect and the End of the World are also causing wealth, power and employment. And want more than anything else-ANYTHING NOT to cause a panic among the American people.
Well, Gore wins our love as much as he did when-no, MORE than he did when he ran for the Presidency solo. Now we love him. And Gore makes the star of this movie--the worsening environmental crisis-not himself. Though a politician first, he does make some personal plugs. He manages to shoehorn in a lot of his personal life into the picture numerous times-like a bumper in-between commercial breaks. Perhaps this a must-we should have some affection for the messenger.
Now normally when I review a film, I try to not to give away the ending. But in this particular case, the ending is still being written. By us. If only he really had taken home the Oscar. Contrary to popular belief, he really just showed to up to take it home to director Davis Guggenheim. Too bad. Losing the US presidency and taking home the US Academy Award six years later would have the perfect poetic justice.
As as for "Waterworld" realized-- come on, this is all inevitable- and it all seems to be COMING SOON. The "End of Days.*" Maybe in the end, all we can do is postpone it.
--As Always, Dane Youssef
*Hell, that would have been a great title for this movie if it wasn't snapped up by that crummy Schwarzenegger flick.