On one hand, I thought this was a bad movie.
The script seems to have been written for fourth graders, and every camera shot is from a helicopter so you start to get the feeling that all the slow gliding movements are on purpose and you’re watching a giant slow-motion Bollywood video. Narrator Glenn Close throws huge numbers and statistics at us until they become meaningless.
“faster and faster…”
“billions and billions…”
“There’s no time to be a pessimist.”
The slow pace, lingering on each beautiful helicopter shot, and precious repetition-heavy voiceover stinks of pretentiousness, as does the stereotypical music (the kinds of howling African female singers that Martha Wainwright listens to). Sometimes the music turns new-agey, and the voiceover says stuff like “The earth is a miracle. Life remains a mystery,” I’m thinking as a concession to hippie-minded creationists. I wasn’t sure if the doc advocates vegetarianism as part of its packaged hippie agenda or because meat is actually worse for the earth than veggies. And in the length between cuts, I had time to reflect on the irony of a conservationist riding over the whole globe in a helicopter. Maybe their copter ran on biofuel, but more likely they paid a farmer in bolivia a dollar fifty to plant some trees then declared their film “carbon-neutral” in the credits.
But speaking of the credits, jeez, this was shot in twice as many countries as The Fall, and there’s no doubt that the visuals are amazing, especially in the high-def version that I watched. And the point of the movie is to keep the viewer hooked with these visuals while impressing upon us how severely we have destroyed the earth (for people like me who missed that Al Gore doc), and what consequences we will soon face. Glenn Close tells me that “humanity has no more than ten years to reverse the process,” then I turn off the movie and, no shit, read the headline “global warming skeptics growing in numbers,” along with the usual business about war, politics and health care. A few windmills in Florida are not gonna be enough to forestall the wrath of Glenn Close’s global-warming pandemic.