“An Inconvenient Truth”: Al Gore’s global warming movie delivers the goods

Vice President Gore and Tipper outside the Guild Theatre. Image Courtesy Tom at TED blogTry to imagine 50 Silicon Valley leaders sitting on the edge of their chairs for a nailbiting, 90-minute powerpoint presentation. In the land of “10 slides and you’re out,” filmmaker Lawrence Bender has accomplished something very special — bringing the passion of Vice President Gore’s live talk on global warming to the screen in a way that feels completely natural and emotionally engaging. “An Inconvenient Truth” and its companion action site ClimateCrisis.net promise to change the way America thinks about global warming (you can see the somewhat overheated trailer here).

I’ve seen Gore deliver his talk twice, and I’ve always wished more people had seen it. Much of the movie covers the same content: a highly convincing review of the science of climate change, and a wide-ranging discussion of the concrete and near-term effects climate change will have on our lives. Gore has given the talk over 1,000 times, and Bender does a great job of interweaving multiple presentations to give you a sense of just what kind of mission Gore is on.

It’s not the Gore you thought you knew. He is genuine and funny and open enough that you feel you are getting to know him, right from the opening line: “Hi, I’m Al Gore and I used to be the next president of the United States.”

Bender weaves numerous anecdotes into the film, including the trials and tribulations of Gore’s personal and political life. What struck me is just how connected Gore has been to global warming, and just how long he has been on this crusade. In the 1960s, Gore studied under Roger Revelle at Harvard University, the man credited with firing the opening shot in the debate over global warming.

The film makes an impact. As the Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen states in his review, “Only a fool would ignore Gore on global warming.”

I couldn’t help feeling a little despondent at the end of this preliminary cut. This is a film that shows melting glaciers, ice shelves disintegrating, animations of major cities around the world flooding, real images of extreme weather events, and other gloomy visions of the future. Fortunately, Gore has teamed up with Participant Productions on a social campaign site that promises to show us some possible solutions.

By the looks of the recent traffic stats, the buzz is building. We’re hopeful that in addition to waking up Americans about global warming, we can also move on to positive action.

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  1. Richard Binns - April 26, 2006

    We have a 100% chance of Global Warming affecting us all vs effectively a 0% chance of being personally affected by “terrorism”. When will we get our priorities right? I guess when the government is run by oil companies, that meay be too late. You may like to check Ethos Fuel Reformulator at http://www.smartgas.us – the Chinese are buying $millions of this per month to reduce thier air pollution – saving 10-19% on fuel usage is a side effect.

  2. Anonymous - April 26, 2006

    Now if only someone would explain what “select theaters” it will be playing at.

  3. Judi - April 26, 2006

    Where to see this? Where will it be playing?

  4. Jan - May 6, 2006

    You can check back here to see updated listings of cities and theatres.

  5. Guzang - May 25, 2006

    How can people get copies of this great documentary?

  6. Adam - May 25, 2006

    I imagine it will be available on DVD pretty soon, but for now you’ll have to catch it in the theaters. You can also watch Gore delivering the lecture on which the movie is based here:

  7. Anonymous - June 25, 2006

    I loved this movie! And I think this is a great idea to help with this gas thing. http://www.OneAmericanVoice.org

  8. Ramona - June 25, 2006

    I was watching Mr. Gore’s book signing in Washington D.C. on PBS and was most impressed with his warm demeanor and the size of his audience for the signing. Even Ralph Nador bought a book and had Al sign it. Old campaign foes sitting on the same side of the table on this matter. Good news.

    I am interested in the site mentioned in the posting above. OneAmericanVoice.org. I have seen it mentioned on various bolgs and energy sites lately. They have a solid mission statement and concept. Unusual for this kind of site. Their bottom line is correct. Remind us how to make the democratic process work for Americans again. Seems we have forgotten how. Too many people on too many sites talking to each other, complaining getting nothing meaningful done on this gas price situation. This site offers a simple, powerful solution. Well done whoever you are!