Combustible Celluloid

Interview with Al Gore

The Last Forecast

By Jeffrey M. Anderson


If you only see one movie in 2006 make it An Inconvenient Truth. It may not be the year's best movie or the most entertaining, but it's the most supremely crucial.

Directed by Davis Guggenheim, the film very simply documents the slide show that former Vice President Al Gore has been showing around the world for years. And though it could have been a dud, it's frankly quite gripping, and even rousing. Even Mr. Gore, who was labeled by critics as "wooden" during his 2000 presidential campaign, now comes across as dynamic, passionate, intelligent and even funny.

Mr. Gore recently visited San Francisco for a screening of the film. In it, he shows piles of evidence that the world has only ten years in which to avoid an inevitable disaster. Having worked on this problem for 30 years, including during his time in the White House, Mr. Gore says that he's adopted humor as a coping mechanism.

"That is one of the reasons why there's so much humor in the movie. It's for me as much as anyone else," he says, "because I've lived with this for such a long time."

In the film, Mr. Gore discusses the Chinese character for "crisis," which consists of two parts: "danger" and "opportunity." He hopes to use this as a metaphor for avoiding fear and prompting action.

"The time will soon come when enough people have absorbed the warning and accepted the truth of the challenge we face, so that the mix between danger and opportunity can be dialed up toward the 'opportunity' part of the spectrum," he says. "But right now the United States of America is still mostly in a bubble of unreality, where the climate crisis is concerned. So to punch through the Category Five denial, there has to be emphasis on what the danger is."

So far Mr. Gore is impressed with the movie's effect. He's especially touched by how many Hollywood artists and technicians dropped what they were doing and donated their time and skills to the film, for free. Even Melissa Etheridge quickly recorded a new song for the closing credits.

Mr. Gore says that even in the six months since the film has wrapped, change has begun: "General Electric changed its position; 85 evangelical conservative ministers broke with Bush and Cheney on this issue; 230 American cities have independently ratified Kyoto. Grass roots organizations are moving. These are straws in the wind, but there are more and more of them," he says.

Even so, the crisis cannot be underestimated. "I see this as the ultimate action movie, because it is designed to move the audience to action."

For more information and to find out how you can help, visit

May 2, 2006

Movies Unlimtied