Nadia Connors, Leila Conners Petersen
Leonardo DiCaprio is a great actor and I’m glad he cares about our planet. The problem with this, as with most "message" documentaries like it, is that he went out and found fifty talking heads that agree with him—a technique only effective in preaching to the choir. (I could find 15 nuts who think the Earth is flat, show damning footage out of context and achieve similar results.) That’s why THE 11th HOUR only works to scare, not inspire you. The filmmakers throw in a kitchen sink of overwhelming topics— politics, globalization, overpopulation, autism, pesticides, consumerism, social class and race, endangered species, Alzheimer’s, entertainment and advertising, narcissism—in the hopes you’ll associate all their negative aspects with global warming. However, with no real story or narrative arc, THE 11th HOUR instead comes off as random people overreacting (“We're committing suicide!") for 1.5 painfully boring hours.
Actually that’s not completely true. After they get done trying to frighten you in to communes, the experts begin to offer some potential solutions, most of which are gloriously ridiculous. Here are some of my favorite things presented in THE 11th HOUR:
The overall suggestion: We have to remake and redesign everything and completely change the world. Sounds easy!
One guy says, “Hey, don't get up every morning and think about traffic on the way to work or doing well in school or what you'll eat for lunch. You really need to just worry about Planet Earth all day.” Yes that's possible for actors and rich people who have nothing but time and money on their hands. But for the average schmoe…sorry, I have rent to pay.
Another uses the reasonable metaphor of the planet being “sick,”, but then suggests that the lights of Earth as seen from space are an “infection.” Because we obviously need to go back to the Dark Ages, Snake Plissken-style.
Soon we can live in photosynthetic buildings like trees—combining housing, energy generation, waste treatment and food production in one structure. Finally, a real reason to crap where I eat and sleep!
One expert, who shockingly does not have a medical degree, suggests that up to 60% of kids today have asthma. A quick Google search says the number is closer to 10%.
“Man made products like Kevlar are wasteful and unnecessary. Spiders make a web that's stronger than steel!” Tell that to the soldiers in Iraq…while you wear a spider web in combat.
All of these ideas can be done quickly because, as one expert says, “We mobilized really fast after Pearl Harbor, why can’t we do it now?!”
And you’re left with one final hippie-like thought: “The bottom line is LOVE, the force that makes us fully human!” Then THE 11th HOUR finishes with a nameless Indian pleading for peace and greenness. They might as well have had him shed a single solitary tear (since I’ll be littering the ground with this eco-friendly DVD case.)
Extra Tidbit: Even the founder of Greenpeace didn’t like this movie.