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The 11th Hour: We Are All Doomed

The apocalyptic documentary The 11th Hour is dreary in tone and drab in execution. It's basically a series of talking heads alternating with images of everything from industrial progress to scenes of famine to pictures of angry nature wreaking havoc on the world's helpless creatures. Every once in a while, Leonardo DiCaprio comes onscreen to try and hammer home some point, though even his involvement isn't particularly interesting. In fact, during his segments I found myself zoning out altogether.

The so-so filmmaking aside, some of what a few of the interviewees had to say is thought-provoking. Much ado is made over the wonder and beauty of the human mind — though this is quickly tempered by the assertion that the mind has been both the key to our survival and the thing that has thrown us out of balance with the rest of nature. Basically, humans made this mess and now we need to clean it up. I did find this comment particularly intriguing: "Nature has no rights today. We see nature as property. Nature needs rights, too." Specifically, our generation is critical to designing a way for the human race to coexist with nature.

These interesting tidbits are truly hard-earned, however, since the viewer has to slog through a considerable amount of doomsday moaning about the state of the environment — and our guilty placement at the very center of this sorry state. Given the kind of audience this movie will likely attract, it certainly seems to be not just preaching to the choir, but sternly lecturing and shaming the choir, too. To find out what I mean by this,

Indeed, shame plays a huge part in this film. By a third of the way into the documentary, I felt guilty for ever having been born into this wildly overpopulated world, since overpopulation appears to be at the core of the ecological crisis. But that's not all — elsewhere on the long list of people/things to blame for all this destruction and pain are the following: the economy, politicians, TV, industry in general, advertising, the media in general, the fishing industry, human greed, wealthy people, consumerism, American culture and more. Among the things that have resulted from all these evils are the icecaps melting (which, of course, I get), natural disasters and any number of debilitating diseases and really, suffering of all kinds. By the end of the movie I felt terribly, and like I was somehow responsible for everything from Katrina to testicular cancer.

I also felt ashamed of being an active participant in the apparently cruel media... until I realized the irony of that sentiment. Here they are conveying a message via... film. And they're hoping active members of the economy (ahem, consumers) will use their dollars to see this film. Not only that, but they're using an A-list celebrity to help them carry this message to the fat, greedy, single-minded Americans they so disdain.

Still, for a while after the movie ended, I was more aware of my natural surroundings, and found myself thinking more about my relationship with nature. So, since the documentary makes it sound like we're doomed to extinction anyway, I suppose it's nice to remember to enjoy nature while we're still around.


Join The Conversation
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I am personally sick of the "how can we earthlings slow down the ultimate destruction of our universe" lecture. Just tell me how to speed it up so i dont have to look at these hypocrites anymore. Bring back the styrofoam containers MCdonalds!
PinkNC PinkNC 9 years
I's probably see it ONLY once. Mmm don't know about this one already. Maybe it'll be better just to watch once.
Entertainment Entertainment 9 years
Ha ha, cool! I'm glad you enjoy the reviews, and it's awesome to find like-minded folks. :) It's always so great to hear your thoughts, too, princess_eab. I feel badly giving a bad review to a film that's ultimately trying to do some good. I guess I just question how they went about it! If it's a topic of interest for people, I'd suggest renting it (or buying it, if you're really into documentaries) when it comes out on DVD. There are definitely some interesting nuggets in there.
princess_eab princess_eab 9 years
I totally respect your movie reviews, Buzz, not least because we seem to have very similar taste :) I'll probably be skipping this one. I'm trying to remember where exactly I heard that this was so inspirational... so odd that it stuck in my head.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i don't like this un-hopeful way of presenting information! it seems to just make everyone feel guilty which i don't think will make anyone willing to put in the effort to adopt eco-friendly practices.funny that with all the fuss about this, since a celeb is backing it up etc and how much influence do celebs have with causes kind of thing, and this ends up sucking!
Entertainment Entertainment 9 years
princess_eab -- That's interesting. I'm trying to think back on my experience watching it with that in mind since maybe I just saw it in a negative light for some reason? But it really did feel like an awful lot of explaining how dire a state we and the world are in and very little of the "every little bit helps, and here's how you can do your part." In fact, when the part came around when these experts started saying that maybe -- maybe! -- all is not completely lost, they made it sound like such a massive, insurmountable feat to do any good for the earth that I started wondering why they would position that way if they truly wanted to inspire people? It definitely made me think, for sure. But I wouldn't say it had an inspirational tone at all.
princess_eab princess_eab 9 years
That's weird, I've read the complete opposite about this film-- that it was aiming to inspire people and not be a gloom and doom type thing. I wonder why the complete disparity?
jmast jmast 9 years
I've been trying to live more Green and do my small part. I will see this..because I actually believe what they are saying. However, I'm not going to feel guilty because I was born into an overpopulated world. I will take what changes I can make personally to do my part, and feel good about it. If everyone would just make these small changes in their life, it can make a difference. If every person just shrugs it off and figures someone else will do it, how is that going to help our planet and the future of our children and our children's children, etc.?????
mwmsjuly19 mwmsjuly19 9 years
This looks like something I will totally skip. I was moved by an "Inconvenient Truth" and made some changes because of it. Good on you, Leo, but this one's not for me.
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