Sun September 9, 2007
He's a fine actor . . .
By John DeSando, WCBE's It's Movie Time
"Perhaps catastrophe is the natural human environment, and even though we spend a good deal of energy trying to get away from it, we are programmed for survival amid catastrophe."
Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth sets the standard for responsible leftist documentaries, at least when compared with Michael Moore's screeds. So it is with heavy heart I report Leonardo DiCaprio's 11th Hour is a disappointing rehash of liberal hand wringing about global warming, soil erosion, and most other pre-apocalyptic disasters fomented by the upper monkeys?us.
So what else is new? Nothing, because producer DiCaprio and a variety of academic-type talking heads repeat ad nauseam clich?'s about nature and our responsibilities, seemingly saying the same thing for over an hour and a half. The only memorable moment for me came when Mother Nature's annual expenses were calculated at around $35 trillion. And she's not polluting and she's spending more than Exxon-Mobile makes in a year.
Unlike Gore's documentary, 11th Hour offers very little scholarship or stunning visuals (I remember well the glacier shots in Gore's Oscar winner). The Koyaanisqatsi-style montages would work even better if not intruded on by inane commentary.
I was hoping 11th Hour would offer suggestions about what we can do to address the problems it sets out. It offers little beyond some technological remedies except the heart-stopping note that 99 percent of all species that have ever been on this planet haven't survived. That about spells our doom since the durable birds are surely the one percent, not humans.
DiCaprio is distracting because his look is so different from the middle-aged pontificating types (Stephen Hawking and Mikhail Gorbachev represent the extremes, albeit they are impressive), he carries too much glamour for such a weighty subject, and the vanity shots of him at sunset are laughable. However, as in the case of Blood Diamond, I praise him for his social consciousness themes. As a doc maker, he's developing into a fine actor and citizen.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com