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An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
Rated PG

Starring: Al Gore

Rating:
*****
out of
*****

If you have any doubts about whether or not there is such a thing as "global warming", I urge you to see An Inconvenient Truth, the new documentary by director Davis Guggenheim. You may not agree with the politics of Al Gore, but it's hard to look at the facts he presents in full, photographic detail and come away thinking that nothing is wrong with the Earth.

The film is, at its core, basically a filmed multimedia lecture given by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, interspersed with details of how Gore was motivated to make this plea to everyone who will simply listen. Gore proves himself to be an engaging speaker with a laid back sense of humor about himself, his detractors, the current U.S. presidential administration, and humanity in general. His message, however, is deadly serious.

In his presentation, Gore shows the hard facts of global warming as confirmed by "928 scientific peer journals." For those in the audience who might say numbers and statistics can be used to prove anything, he also provides clear photographic evidence that glaciers are melting. Not one or two blurry pictures, but pictures taken from space and from the affected sites themselves. Global warming is not, as one Senator has announced, "the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people". It's real and it's happening right now and it's going to affect more than just Americans. Gore points out how, if one part of the ice shelf in Antarctica were to melt, it would cause the sea level to rise 20 feet and displace over 100,000,000 people from their homes worldwide.

If you think this film would be boring, you'd be wrong. It's full of factual information and is definitely educational, but it's never boring. Gore shows us how a Category 5 hurricane like Katrina, which devastated so much of the American South, was made possible by the increased water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico. According to the film, 10 of the hottest years on record occurred in the last 14 years. If you're of the opinion that the warming of the Earth is of a cyclical nature, Gore shows us the last natural warming phase occurred quite awhile ago and it paled in comparison to what is occurring right now. This is not a case of someone latching on to one opinion and twisting the facts to make a point. The film -- and Gore's lecture -- repeatedly gives us the bad news from multiple sources, whether it be from weather balloons launched from the middle of the Pacific Ocean or ice cores retrieved from the North Pole, the damage is real and the evidence is irrefutable.

If the film has a flaw it's that it cuts away from the lecture to enlighten us about Gore's personal journey toward environmental enlightenment. I would have preferred this information had been at the beginning of the film so that the lecture could flow uninterrupted. The material presented is so eye-opening and shocking that the interludes featuring Gore's personal stories seemed intrusive. Putting them at the beginning, or eliminating them entirely, would have made the lecture's message even harder to ignore.

Hunt this film down and see it -- with friends if you can -- and listen to its message with an open mind. Ignore the political ignoramuses who will tell you this is a liberal film that's got an agenda. It does have an agenda. It's about saving the planet for future generations while sacrificing very little if we heed the warnings now.

Trivia: The movie's website, www.climatecrisis.net, includes various ways to help stem the global warming phenomenon. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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