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Movie Review: The 11th Hour

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In this modern world information is easy to obtain. There is a great interest in the state of our natural environment. Many people are taking the problems that are facing our planet under consideration. In this documentary 50 leading scientists, thinkers, and leaders, such as former Soviet Prime Minister (and Founding President of Green Cross International) Mikhail Gorbachev, Scripps Institute oceanographer Jeremy Jackson, and author and science reporter Andy Revkin (The New York Times), are presented with questions and discuss the most important issues that face the planet and its prospects for survival as we know it today. Most people believe that the world as a planet will be fine, and that's probably correct. The problem is that human beings and their existence are in trouble.

This informative and compelling film uses a tutorial as well as a narrative format to enlighten viewers as to why humans are on a crash course with nature, and what we can do to change the course. The narrator of the film is Leonardo DiCaprio, who is also one of the producers. He seems to be quite passionate in his beliefs because he and the co-directors/writers/producers Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners made two shorts, Global Warning and Water Planet a couple of years prior to this project. He also established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998, fostering awareness of environmental issues through participation with such organizations as Natural Resources Defense Council, Global Green U.S.A. and National Geographic Kids, to name a few.

The dialogue in this film is made simple enough for a child to understand and it provided a better understanding of our impact on the Earth. Creating the images of drought, flooding, severe rainfall, and extremely high temperatures gives the audience an impressive idea of the problems and offers solutions on how we can create a positive and sustainable future. The main question was about our continued existence. The answer from the experts was unanimous — that we must become conscious of nature in order for humans to survive.

My question pertains to the nature of man and technology versus the structure of society and how man ignores the natural order of life. It seems to be more of a social problem rather than an environmental problem. How can ecology or nature be a problem when it is the basic form of existence? Socially we must manage earth's resources and not detach ourselves from nature. After 200 years of industrial revolution, the atmosphere has undergone a very serious change. "The earth has a natural greenhouse effect," explained Stephen H. Schneider, Professor and Senior Fellow at Environmental Science and Policy of the Institute for International Studies. He elaborated that temperatures are about 60 degrees Fahrenheit warmer due to water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane — what we call greenhouse gases or trapping gases. I feel that humans are basically competing with nature when we use tailpipes to exhaust waste into the atmosphere, whereas nature disposes its own waste in a manner that balances the order of the environment naturally. There are several clean forms of energy to power vehicles and machines. As we pollute, we are contributing to the shift in the planet's temperature, which is a red flag in relation to human existence. At this time 20% of the sea ice has melted in the Arctic regions due to technology's waste. The earth has gone through one Ice Age already.

I was inspired to make changes in my personal life for a better world after seeing this film. My plan is simple. I'll try not to purchase products that are harmful to the environment. As much as I enjoyed this documentary, I had only one problem with the making of the film, not the content. I felt the film lacked a smooth flow because DiCaprio as the narrator seemed too relaxed in his presentation. Perhaps a more forceful approach would have been better in relaying the urgency of the film's message. Otherwise, this wake-up call of a film is for everyone to see.

Directed by: Leila Conners Petersen & Nadia Conners
Running time: 91 minutes
Release date: August 17, 2007
Genre: Documentary
Distributor: Warner Independent Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG

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About Gerald Wright

  • just saw 11th Hour, the “Nature’s Operating Instructions” extra feature is especially interesting… apparently there is some amazing technology built into nature, a lot there that we should use as a model for our own technology

  • karen

    this movie sucks and is so boring