The theatrical poster and subsequent DVD cover art for An Inconvenient Truth could not be any more appropriate. Depicted is a set of smoke stacks emitting a cloud of smog that quickly transforms into a cyclonic storm. This link, between CO2 emissions and the Earth’s climate, is the focus of Al Gore’s 96-minute global warning on Global Warning.
All-in-all, An Inconvenient Truth is a presentation that encompasses the Earth’s history, present condition, and projected future in terms of climate. Gore proposes fact after fact, chart after chart, and image after image that startles the mind and persuades the viewer to “become part of the solution.” The most striking details are in knowing that there will soon be a shortage of drinking water due to the constant melting of glaciers; the hottest 10 years in Earth’s history have occurred within the last 14 years; polar bears are being forced to swim more than 60 miles to find ice (some drown in the process); and, in 2005, the world observed a record-breaking number of hurricanes, typhoons, and tornados (not to mention the highest mean temperature ever recorded).
Shocking statistics aside, the film’s major drawback is its emcee and his delivery. Neither the most dynamic nor lethargic of speakers, Al Gore basically talks his way through a slideshow. The film turns out to be more like a lecture than a motion-picture. The experience is more-or-less a seminar with intermittent personal reflections from Gore pertaining to his childhood and 2000 campaign defeat (which nearly centers the film on Gore rather than the situation at hand). All the same, Gore does manage to add some humor to the speech by placing gold and the entire world on a balance, cracking on the then-current administration, and featuring a Matt Groening cartoon.
With that said, An Inconvenient Truth is still an absolute must-see, not necessarily because of masterful filmmaking, but because of its heavy pertinence to every living being. The film is a wake-up call that brings the reality and severity of global warning directly into your living room, and thus, instills these revelations in your persona. Despite An Inconvenient Truth being slightly slanted to the left (as opposed to neutral), the picture presents a rare case where the documentary’s importance trumps its overall quality to leave a lasting impression. In addition, outside of being your basic fact-filled feature, An Inconvenient Truth is so startling and relevant that it is beyond recommended viewing; it is demanded viewing.
Much like Al Gore says, “This [the ‘climate crisis’] is a moral issue; it is your time to seize this issue, and it is our time to rise again to secure our future.” Sadly, if these words do not impact the world’s population to take control of the climate, the most unfortunate occurrence will be to witness either a much more urgent sequel or – even worse – the consequences of the picture’s disquieting projections.