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An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

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Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Davis Guggenheim Rating:8.5/10 (2 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Jay Olie Espy on June 24th, 2010:Find all reviews by Jay Olie Espy
Director Davis Guggenheim divides his time in this commentary between how a documentary about a “slide show” could be made interesting and what Al Gore was like in making this film while traveling the globe to share his warning about global warming.

It was Laurie David and Lawrence Bender who were moved by Al Gore’s presentation to want to make a documentary about it. They approached Guggenheim with the project. At first he was reluctant to accept because he felt a movie about a slide show was going to make for a “bad movie.” The challenge at hand for Guggenheim was to make a film about a slide show interesting. His approach to this challenge was to make the graphics as dynamic as possible and to put Al Gore “front and center.” Guggenheim’s father was a documentarian for 50 years and he taught his son that audiences connect with people. So Guggenheim included what he calls “little films,” in the doc, which are vignettes that tell Gore’s personal journey up to this point.

There were a few interesting factoids included in this commentary. First, he points out that the film was shot in four different formats: 8MM Kodachrome, 16MM, 30FPS, and hi-def digital. To make this film happen, one producer happily wrote out checks, which went to the plasma TV’s, the wide screen, and the sound stage for which Gore used to present his slide show three times and for which makes up the bulk of the presentation that you see. The documentary itself was started in the early summer of 2005 and lasted for six months. This means that Hurricane Katrina was unraveling as they were making this film, thus Inconvenient Truth becomes one of the first Katrina docs. Lastly, many companies and corporations donated to the film. For example, the cost of rights were waived for the Futurama sequence, the end glacier sequence from The Day After Tomorrow, and the end cue of Thomas Newman’s score from In the Bedroom.

Davis Guggenheim talks much about Al Gore—how he worked and as a man. He tells us that Gore does all his own research because it is his passion and obsession. He is a master of rhetoric that knows how to compel an audience. He is also brilliant in taking abstract and esoteric ideas and explaining them in laymen’s terms, well knowing that people will demand change if they understand why they are demanding it. An interesting point was when Gore secretly chartered planes to rescue friends who were stranded in New Orleans when Katrina hit. He didn’t tell the film crew that he was going to do this because he didn’t want it captured on film and have people think he was doing it for the publicity. Ultimately, Guggenheim suggests that Gore fits the archetypical hero explained by Joseph Campbell’s “Hero with a Thousand Faces.”

There’s not a lot of energy coming from Guggenheim in this documentary. In fact, I swear that in several spots he suppresses yawns. Silences and lulls begin setting in by the hour mark. Although he gives us a lot of interesting information, I felt there was so much more to be said. Perhaps the producers’ commentary does that. I’ve seen the film several times so it was worth the listen, others may not think so. It also may be worth a listen to those interested in Al Gore and his mission.
Commentary 2: Producers Laurie David, Lawrence Bender, Scott Z. Burns, and Lesley Chilcott Rating:10.0/10 (1 vote) [graph]Login to vote or review