(director/writer: Leila Conners Petersen/Nadia Conners; cinematographer: Peter Youngblood Hills/ Andrew Rowlands; editors: Pietro Scalia/Luis Alvarez y Alvarez; music: Jean-Pascal Beintus/Eric Avery; cast: Leonardo DiCaprio (narrator); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Leonardo DiCaprio/Leila Conners Petersen/Chuck Castleberry/Brian Gerber; Warner Independent Pictures; 2007)

“Felt like a college lecture more than a cinema experience, but is essential viewing.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This sobering educational documentary by inexperienced filmmakers Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners, who are sisters, felt like a college lecture more than a cinema experience, but is essential viewing. It’s a sort of follow up to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and its urgent ecological message about global warming (that we must find a way to control the pollutants heating our atmosphere), as it gets out the needed info about what dangers the world is faced with if those in power don’t heed the warnings of scientists to change their current destructive environmental policies and wasteful consumerism. Admittedly the reel-to-reel talking head film (with Stephen Hawking one of the featured talking heads; he’s worried that without ice caps as reflective properties the Earth may heat up like its sister planet Venus) is not great filmmaking (clumsily put together) and the lecture points are preaching to the choir, but its earnest message is right on the money and is worth telling.

Leonardo DiCaprio serves as host.

The experts, to a man, tell how we are killing ourselves and the environment by our foolish policies of not protecting the environment and that we are doing great harm to the planet by going along with the greed of corporations to look only at the short-term benefits to the economy and at increasing corporate wealth at all costs, while the public is plagued with such mundane problems as deforestation, overfishing and the unprecedented rise of asthma in school children. There’s an unnerving message about the great calamity that is around the corner if we don’t listen to the objective scientists (among them an assortment of physicists, architects, oceanographers and medical doctors) and instead continue to be led by our corruptible and not too wise politicians. To criticize this film as a leftist propaganda film is to not have a heard a word that was being said, and it’s an indication of how far we have to go to make the public more aware that these issues raised are real and cross political boundaries.

REVIEWED ON 9/1/2007 GRADE: B   https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/