"An Inconvenient Truth" presents more bias than fact

Sept. 14, 2006, midnight | By Josie Callahan | 17 years, 10 months ago

Film's political motivation conveniently detracts from main issue

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.

Josie Callahan. Josie Callahan is particularly opinionated despite her small appearance. She loves everything Irish and her life is consumed by her one true love- Irish Dancing- which suits her just fine. She also adores British accents, performing, theatre, tiaras, and sparkly dresses. Josie is particularly excited … More »

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