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Sept. 14, 2006

"An Inconvenient Truth" presents more bias than fact

by Josie Callahan, Online Features Editor and Copy Editor
From the riveting previews for Al Gore's documentary on global warming, one could expect "An Inconvenient Truth" to be frightening, fascinating, compelling and inspiring. The film, however did not fully succeed on any one of these measures, and proved to be 1 hour and 40 minutes of political propaganda. The travesty of global warming is overshadowed by an overview of the noble life of Al Gore, as the movie focuses on his many contributions to the U.S. government and efforts to change environmental policies, scattered with dry details of the upcoming devastation of the world.

The film begins with scenic shots of a river flowing and a voice over by Gore, describing the serenity and fragility of nature. The focus of the movie then permanently changes from nature to Gore as the following scene transfers to a lecture hall in which Gore is giving a presentation on global warming to an eager and supportive audience.

Receiving warm laughter from his self deprecating introduction, "I used to be the next president of the United States of America," Gore proceeds to enlighten his conveniently avid listeners with a brief definition of global warming by showing a corny animated clip and an explanation of the process of the warming of the oceans and thinning, fragile atmosphere surrounding planet Earth.

He proceeds to show his audience several graphs projected on a large screen which show the progression of the temperature of the Earth since the ice ages, and the direction that our temperature is heading as a result of the heating caused by global warming.

Throughout his long and dry explanations, Gore succeeds in blaming the current and past administrations for making excuses and telling blatant lies about the dire situation of the world. Despite his efforts, Gore comes across as bitter about past political defeats and struggles throughout the film to portray himself as a noble advocate for an admirable cause that ignorant leaders have ignored. This "superhero" image that he depicts for himself detracts from the main focus of the movie, the environment. After a dull 15 minutes, the movie takes a drastic turn into a biography of Al Gore and his successes in not just politics, but in his entire life. Director Davis Guggenheim fails at providing a direct correlation with Gore's personal life with global warming.

From coverage of the tragic event of his son getting hit by a car, to an overview of Gore's childhood on a farm in Tennessee, to lamenting his loss in the 2000 elections, the cinematography attempts to portray Gore as the small-town hero that Americans can relate and look up to.

Ironically, the Harvard educated son of former Senator Al Gore Senior, comes across sounding condescending. The tactic of using what was supposed to be a monumental environmentalist film for a pulpit of political propaganda was both obvious and tactlessly accomplished.

One of the shortest and consequently most riveting parts of the film is the shots shown of different parts of the world several years ago compared to shots of the same locations today. It is both fascinating and frightening to see that mountains, such as Mt. Kilimanjaro, that were previously coated with snow and ice are now nearly barren and dry. The pictures also show the disappearance of lakes and rivers as a result of the warming of the atmosphere and the quickly melting glaciers, once prominent in the North Pole, Antarctica, and other parts of the world.

The effect of these images is lost as the shots are rapidly flipped from one to the next with little explanation for the extreme situation that is taking place. Though it is one thing to let pictures speak for themselves, the viewer does not have enough time between shots to take in the actual severity the pictures preach until Gore interrupts with yet another political rant.

Despite the political and personal interference that Al Gore corrupts the movie with, it is not a total disappointment. The connection drawn between Hurricane Katrina and other tropical storms with global warming hits viewers hard as the national disaster scars the memories of U.S. citizens. One of the most shocking and effective tactics used to persuade viewers to join the fight against global warming is a graphic of what will happen to parts of the world if this destructive path is continued. This shows that in less then 100 years time, Manhattan will be underwater, as will the coast of Florida, California, and countries outside the U.S. in low elevation such as the Netherlands. Seeing that Earth, a home so constantly taken for granted, is on the brink of destruction thanks to recent human activity, is enough to make any viewer forget the politics for a second and pledge to save our world from disaster.

As the credits role, the audience stays seated, reading dispersed statements of ways that Americans can help with the problem of global warming. Upon exiting the theater, viewers forget that the movie is propaganda and feel a fleeting determination to save our planet. No thanks to Al Gore, mission partially accomplished.

"An Inconvenient Truth" runs 100 minutes long, is rated PG and playing in selected theaters.



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  • Paco (View Email) on September 14, 2006 at 6:57 AM
    I watched a lecture by al gore which the movies was based on, and yes it was also a political rant, but some points of interest, not a total lost: search al gore lecture on google video
  • The Truth on September 14, 2006 at 11:35 AM
    This article is slander and entirely false fact. The issue of the environment is one in which needs to be discussed and this movie is a bridge way into more conversation. Our country is a nation that uses the most oil of any country in the entire world. We need to bring the Kyoto Accords back to the senate when we have a senate that is leaning the way in which it should.

    Also, the thing that is at stake is not only our economy but also our ability to live. We need to have good legislation in which promotes environmentally sound forms of fuel and energy.
  • 07 on September 14, 2006 at 2:36 PM
    no we don't. the kyoto accords are worthless and would cost us billions of dollars for a minimal gain. check out steven milloy's site. i know who he is, but if u can use gore i can use milloy, they are equally bias
  • Bob on September 14, 2006 at 4:24 PM
    and how is this article slander? its a review of a movie, and if the movie is propaganda, shouldnt the review reflect that? This is not the place to talk politics.
  • good movie on September 14, 2006 at 5:10 PM
    I think the author missed the message or point of the movie. Global warming is something to be taken very seriously and Al Gore does a good job portraying the consequences of our inactions to stop it.
    While Al Gore might not be the most riveting and exciting person while giving speeches, he truly cares about this issue and that is clear throughout the entire movie.
    This movie is not political propaganda, it is bringing to light an issue that needs to be discussed. Yes, it is true that he talks about how politicians have not done anything, but this is what he is trying to change. Not just for republicans. An Inconvinient Truth is a wake up call for everyone, politicians and regular citizens as well
  • oh yeah? on September 14, 2006 at 6:06 PM
    I completely disagree with the author. While there were trace elements of political propaganda, Gore kept the focus on the important issue of global warming, an issue that desperately needs to be addressed, and which few politicians are willing to touch. Personally, I did not find his lecture dry at all, and even though I previously considered myself knowledgeable on the subject, was surprised at how much about global warming I didn't know. Gore kept things interesting throughout, and the movie was probably the most interesting documentary I have seen in a long time.
  • nice try on September 14, 2006 at 8:19 PM
    "The travesty of global warming is overshadowed by an overview of the noble life of Al Gore, as the movie focuses on his many contributions to the U.S. government and efforts to change environmental policies, scattered with dry details of the upcoming devastation of the world."

    The point Gore tries to make is that the "travesty" is accentuated by a lack of political contribtuion; pointing this out is as valid as pointing out the detrimental effects of fossil fuels, and this political indifference is essentially another one of those crimes humanity commits against Mother Nature.

    "Director Davis Guggenheim fails at providing a direct correlation with Gore's personal life with global warming."

    I am sorry to say that you missed this point entirely. The majority of his life story focuses directly on Gore growing up in harmony with his natural surroundings. Besides establishing ethical justification, his stories demonstrate that global warming is more than just a scientific matter - it's a personal one too. Gore connects to the audience on a level beyond that of the expert scientific testimony, and this is evident throughout the movie.
  • David on September 16, 2006 at 9:45 PM
    I saw this movie during the heavy rains we had towards the end of June this summer. Not only was i worried by what I saw in the film, but the next day when I was riding in a car on flooded streets late at night all the way from Bethesda, to downtown DC, to Silver Spring (in all places, streets were closed off due to flooding and fallen trees), I realised the true effects of global waarming. I dont think Gore's message is lost in the film, even with the self promotion. Great film.
  • hmm on September 17, 2006 at 1:40 PM
    what exactly is a 'false fact'?

  • DjWizard (View Email) on September 17, 2006 at 8:18 PM
    Its only eventual human nature to start taking the movie apart point by point to character assasinate the messenger. Don't believe anything Al Gore says, but go and research the topic for yourself before writing a review that dis-courages the public to hear his vitally important message.
    At least Gore is creating a talking point about something other than terrorists.
  • Will Bucher (View Email) on September 17, 2006 at 8:50 PM
    OK, I feel I need to defend my colleague and friend’s writing here, against what seems to be an onslaught of criticism.

    No one here has successfully said that this article is of poor quality. It is a review, not a news brief. Yes it is biased, and yes so is the movie, and all of this bias is fine.
    Anyone who views any movie will immediately bring their whole life worth of bias into their opinion, we can’t change that, and we shouldn’t, bias is what tells us the man walking around in the black hood at two in the morning is probably someone you want to get away from.

    What the author did miss was not that the movie was biased, but that like her own bias this is perfectly OK. Yes politicians seem to do everything to get more popularity but that’s what keeps America moving. Through their constant attempt to get elected they bring to light important issues like global warming. Getting things done is a side benefit to the political process; the political process is not an inconvenient way of getting things done.

    The “Inconvenient Truth” for those of you who claim the article is “bad” it that the author examined the movie, interpreted it for the SCO audience as she viewed it, and present in a thought out and organized way her views. This movie is in no way slander or libelous. It is a review which makes it exempt from almost all types of liable, and further more Gore is a public figure meaning it would take a total lie to even begin to qualify as liable. To the author named “The Truth” I would also like to point out that while the movie may have been meant as bridge into a conversation on global warming, this article seems to be doing a far better job at invoking dialog.

    WillIVRooster
  • To Will on September 18, 2006 at 5:25 PM
    It's true that the author accomplished the purpose of a movie review perfectly, but the point that Will is missing is that this comment board is for people to express their own opinions in response to the opinions of the author. Just because people say that the author makes "bad" points does not mean that they are undermining the value of her article.
  • brad (View Email) on January 9, 2007 at 10:59 AM
    haha the movie was gay.. i fell asleep. i did decide to check it all out after it ended, cause we watched it in school. i have found many many sites and back up info proving so much of Al Gores facts to be false. LOOK THEM UP PEOPLE... oh and once again... the movie was GAY!
  • scout (View Email) on March 13, 2007 at 10:06 PM
    Well, we all know "brad" still has some growing up to do; way to use a bigoted slur, dude. Do you feel big and important now?
    "An Inconvenient Truth" is serving a purpose that has never been touched upon before in so public an arena. No matter how global warming is caused, we need to acknowledge that it is happening, and Gore is helping to do just that. If every single one of you kids commenting on this page grew up to be as passionate about one thing as Gore is about spreading his warning on global warming, you'd knock the socks off this tired old world.
  • Zack (View Email) on March 20, 2007 at 11:13 AM
    "No matter how global warming is caused, we need to acknowledge that it is happening, and Gore is helping to do just that."

    If he wants to bring attention to a problem, why not use facts?
  • Kryic (View Email) on March 20, 2007 at 1:47 PM
    Is Al Gore trying to brain wash us?.....
  • DrinkeroftheJesusJuice (View Email) on March 20, 2007 at 1:50 PM
    I got the message, Global warming is a problem, i agree totally. But things like the idea that the Ice on Greenland melting will raise the sea level by 20 feet..come on. If there was actually scientific fact that pointed to this and not one of Gore's "Friends" then i might belive it, otherwise, this movie relied to much on "friends" for my liking
  • @Scout (View Email) on April 19, 2007 at 11:55 PM
    "If every single one of you kids commenting on this page grew up to be as passionate about one thing as Gore is about spreading his warning on global warming, you'd knock the socks off this tired old world."

    If every single one of you kids commenting on this page grew up to be like Gore was in this movie, you'd be viewed as no more than a politician who was trying more to promote him/herself than to promote awareness of global warming.
  • Mex (View Email) on May 5, 2007 at 3:34 PM
    Everyone should watch "The Great Global Warming Swindle" proves that Al Gore never speaks the full truth. he just says what gets us going but never goes into the fact that all of this global warming has occured before. it is a naturally occuring process, and it is vein of humans to think we have caused this. The sun is what causes this and the Earth will cool eventually. There has already been a warmer climate in past years of the Earth. The medival Period.
  • Michael N. Mazur (View Email) on December 13, 2007 at 12:25 PM
    How dare you!?!??!?!?!? If GLOBAL WARMING is not taken care of, you will all die! Conservative SCUMBAGS!!!!!
  • ... (View Email) on August 26, 2010 at 5:44 AM
    I am studying this movie in school at the moment and truely did find it helpful, although alot of bias has been created and perhaps false facts have been presented majority of the information we have been provided with is true and a huge smack in the face. Personally i think glabal warming is true and a major issue that people should stop trying to overlook and Gores Inconvenient Truth is only trying to portray to us the severeity of global warming if we let it go on.
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