An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

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Released 25-Jan-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Director Davis Guggenheim
Audio Commentary-Producers Laurie David, Lawrence Bender, Scott Z Burns and L
Interviews-Cast-An Update with Former Vice-President Al Gore
Featurette-The Making of An Inconvenient Truth
Music Video-I Need to Wake Up by Melissa Etheridge
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 92:36
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Audio Format Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Davis Guggenheim
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Al Gore
Case ?
RPI ? Music Michael Brook
Melissa Etheridge
Jay Lash Cassidy


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format ?
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I missed the theatrical release of An Inconvenient Truth and I'm not sure why. Possibly because I'd rather spend my hard earned dollars on being entertained, perhaps subconsciously I didn't want to hear the message it conveys. Even once this review disc had arrived on my door stop, it took all of the motivation that I could muster to watch it. Once I got around to watching it with my wife and daughter, it scared the hell out of me. But former US Vice-President Al Gore is not scare mongering, in fact he is quite calm and rational for a man who believes the Earth is almost at its 'tipping point.'

    An Inconvenient Truth has garnered the type of publicity that filmmakers and politicians crave. It has received impressive reviews, accumulated decent box-office figures (for a documentary), won an Academy Award and has been controversial. I don't want to write a controversial review that preaches to you to that either supports or detract from Gore's position. Hopefully, I can tell you a little about the film and you can make a decision to help you reach that 'tipping point' to see the movie and decide for yourself.

    The film itself is quite simple, just a middle aged man with a Southern twang and his Keynote presentation (that's Apple's Powerpoint equivalent for you non-Mac users). Al Gore has apparently been doing variations of this talk for 30 years. He got on the global warming band wagon early, thanks to the influence of a college professor from his undergraduate days. That very professor was studying the effect of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and their effect on the Earth's temperature, all in the 1950s and 1960s! Apparently the naive congressman was trying to get his mentor in front of the US Congress in the 70s to hear about global warming, but the Congress wouldn't have a bar of it.

    Most of the film is comprised of Gore talking in front of an audience with a giant slideshow behind him. The power of the presentation is in its simplicity, graphs and charts explained simply by a layman, not a PhD. Gore is surprisingly warm, genuine, and passionate, not at all like the cardboard stiff cut out of a presidential candidate he was in the 2000 election campaign. If Gore had shown more of this side of his personality 7 years ago, maybe he'd be the President today. He has a great sense of humour, is amusingly self-depreciating and connects with both the onscreen audience and the viewer at home in their living room.

    The film not only details Gore's  presentation, but also manages to give a small insight to where Gore's passion for the environment has come from. He shares childhood experiences on his father's tobacco farm where he fell in love with the land, then talks about being a young senator trying to make a difference and then to the experience of almost losing his son and how that changed his perspective on life.

    When the film leaves the auditorium a lot of the cinematography and images are spectacular. Retreating glaciers, shrinking ice caps, tropical storms and rising oceans are shown startlingly. There is footage of Gore on the road, presentation in hand, stumping all over the US and in many different parts of the world. Gore has stated he has no interest in running for politics anymore, but surely the most effective way for him to influence the world on climate change would be from the Oval Office?

    Whether or not you believe in the science or that global warming exists, you owe it to yourself to see this film. It may not change your mind, but it might at least cause you to think about how you could make a difference in the way that you live your life.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The documentary is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and the transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    I was surprised at how good most of this film looked for a documentary. There is a varied assortment of footage, ranging from Gore's auditorium presentation (which looked very good) to Gore on the road (decent) and then archival footage of various locales around the world (pretty ordinary).

    Colours look good. The auditorium is quite dark but the presentation comes out looking good and contrasts nicely with the dark setting. Skin tones are natural. Black levels are quite good, with shadow detail sufficient for a documentary.

    Footage of Gore on the road is obviously shot on a HD Handycam and looks good, but can tend to be a little grainy in places. The archival footage is a considerably lower quality than the rest of the film but can be forgiven as it is a documentary. There is no grain or film artefacts in the 'presentation' part of the film.

    Overall, it's a pretty good video transfer.

    The subtitle options are for English, English for Hearing Impaired and English subtitles for both commentaries.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is a competent Dolby Digital 2.0 track. Dialogue comes through loud and clear.

    There is some music used to good effect. The surrounds are unused as is the subwoofer.

    A good track but nothing that really stands out. It does the job just fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Commentary with Director Davis Guggenheim

Commentary with Producers Laurie David, Lawrence Bender, Scott Z Burns and Lesley Chilcott

    The commentaries are a little on the dry side. Guggenheim's is largely technical but also includes info on global warming and his thoughts on a lot of the issues. The producers track mainly talks about the global warming issues, with some anecdotes and comments on the film. Sadly, there is no track with Al Gore.

An Update with Former Vice-President Al Gore (32:24)

    Gore talks for about 30 minutes on what has happened since the completion of the documentary. An interesting and informative post script for the film.

The Making of an Inconvenient Truth (11:08)

    A brief behind the scenes look at the making of the film.

Music Video: I Need to Wake Up by Melissa Etheridge 

    What a painful song!

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Ours seems to be identical to the R1 release.

Summary

    A 'must-see' documentary.

    The video is pretty good.

    The audio is decent.

    Special features are pretty good.

    Definitely worth a rental. For environmentalists or Gore groupies it's a must!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDMarantz DV4300, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL HS10 projector on 100 inch 16x9 screen + Palsonic 76WSHD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-DE685. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPioneer
SpeakersDB Dynamics VEGA series floor standers + centre, DB bipole rears, 10" 100W DB Dynamics sub

Other Reviews NONE
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"Whether or not you believe in the science..." - Anonymous