Monday, July 03, 2006

"An Income-eating Snooze": the new movie about Al Gore, his triumph over adversity, and - oh, yeah - global warming

Forget everything you've heard about the "new" Al Gore (like, for instance, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this). You know what I'm talking about: the reborn Gore who is suddenly authentic, engaging, folksy, funny, self-effacing, whose touch transforms dross into gold, etc. Yeah, that new Al Gore. Guess what? He doesn't exist. Or, at the very least, no such person appears in Gore's tedious, self-indulgent paeaen to environmental activism - "An Inconvenient Truth."

Though I am somewhat uncomfortable lumping in discussion of Gore's character and personality together with an assessment of Gore's arguments, the movie allows for little alternative, so tightly is Gore's godlike apprehension of the seismic dangers facing the earth interwoven with his many triumphs over personal adversity. Indeed, the film showcases no Gore characteristic so much as his boundless self-absorption. At three distinct junctures, the plot diverges from its ostensibly central concern with global warming in order to explain Gore's ongoing environmental enlightenment as he overcame his son's near-fatal car accident, his sister's death from tobacco-induced lung cancer, and his own (unfair) defeat in the 2000 presidential election.

Frankly, I think this whole tact of Gore's argument is distasteful, probably spurious, and a transparent appeal to sympathy (ad misericordiam, for those keeping score at home). But if we do accept Gore at his word - what does it say about him that the epiphanies following his son's accident and his sister's death weren't enough to push him over the environmental edge? Let's see: almost dead son, sister dead from product (tobacco) grown on the family farm...does Albert "get it" yet, how precious life on earth is and how he must make it his mission to save humanity from itself? Nope, that doesn't do it. But after losing the presidential election it finally becomes clear?! Got to respect a man with priorities.

Aright, enough of that. So how was the movie?

If it had to be boiled down to one word - "boring." Two words - "very boring." Ok, I know, it's a partisan documentary, what do I expect? Well, let's see. A couple years back, the very same media and liberal establishment that can't get enough of Gore now couldn't get enough of another left-wing flamethrower, filmmaker Michael Moore. Now, let's be clear: I detest Michael Moore, and I believe that "Fahrenheit 9-11" is both dishonest and politically wrongheaded. But you've got to hand it to Moore - he knows how to make a movie. The action moves along quickly and is suffused with humor at the expense of rightwing naysayers. Moore narrates but does not make himself the center of the story - because, well, as egotistical as he might be, Moore realizes that the story is bigger than he is. As propaganda, F911 is brilliant.

Gore's hapless effort could not be more different from Moore's effective work. There is very little action to speak of in Gore's film. The closest thing to ongoing activity is the appearance of countless before-and-after photos of various icebergs and lakes that have receded over decades or even centuries. Pass the popcorn! Somehow, some footage of 9-11 gets thrown in, as well as some Hurricane Katrina coverage. But that's about it. Honestly, as tenuous as the connections are between current weather patterns and hurricane/disease activity, the movie would be much more exciting if it had more in the way of disaster footage. If you're trying to scare, then scare us, you pussies! Instead, the most threatening image in the film is Gore plotting a line on a graph that supposedly proves that temperature is going to go up some tremendous (but indeterminate) amount right NOW. Wait, not yet. NOW. Nope, oops, sorry. Ok, NOW! No, actually, get back to us on that.

Fine, so the movie does not really reflect well upon Gore personally and is lacking from an entertainment perspective as well. But how about the nut and bolts? Does it make a good case? Basically, no. Maybe I'll get back to this another time...


Blogger Danny the Manny said...

I'll be honest, I only read the end of this post. I figured I might still get the gist of it. When people send out press releases, they said a longer and a shorter version. Maybe you should adopt that policy.

So based on my reading, I do have one comment:

"But how about the nut and bolts?"

Maybe he has testicular cancer. God, have some compassion for a man who is half the man he used to be. See? You just have to look at it from a different perspective.

10:12 AM  

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