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June 19, 2006 - Image 10

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-06-19

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 19, 2006
Gore cae hnde the Truhi

By Amanda Andrade
Daily Arts Writer
The shadowy specter of 2000's
presidential election still hangs like a
darkened cloud over Al Gore: It hov-
ers ominously
in the air as he An Inconvenient
deadpans to a Truth
gathered audi-
ence, "I used At the Michigan
to be the next Theater
president of the Paramount Classics
United States."
It lingers in
the memory of those congregated to
watch their former candidate.
But six years after the electoral cir-
cus that turned hanging chads and the
proud state of Florida into late-night
TV punchlines, Al Gore finds himself
stepping into the limelight again -
not, as one might expect, for political
resurrection, but rather as the courier
of a dire message for this country and
this planet. His wooden mannerisms
are gone, his gait is easy, his tone flu-
ent. And his point is unmistakable.
Global warming is real, and we
must take action.
Appealing to a country long-since
taught to doubt the phenomenon as a
tree-hugger's boogeyman, Gore takes

great pains in the film to clarify the
full and honest repercussions of our
actions on the planet. He appeals to
the scientific community, in com-
plete agreement as to the reality of
our current situation. He diagrams
the science tidily in one very com-
prehensive PowerPoint presentation,
complete with enough persuasive
graphs and cute cartoons to make the
viewer want to donate a day's salary
to the Sierra Club, walk home from
the theater and buy a hybrid.
But though "An Inconvenient
Truth" is startling in the potency of
its message, it's also more than just a
slideshow spliced with high produc-
tion shots of the Patagonia. Wisely,
the filmmakers have broadened the
scope to include Gore's own struggle
to warn the world, from his days in
the Senate, through his first failed
presidential bid - a race in which
he tried to bring global warming into
the national debate - to the heart-
breaking loss in 2000 that effectively
halted this nation's progress on envi-
ronmental responsibility. The film-
makers mark every hard step he's
taken to curb the ever-escalating
disaster of global warming just to
gawk at the indifference and derision
with which his pleas have been met.
It's a stark reminder of how far peo-
ple, both politicians and the public,

will go to avoid the inconvenience of
an inevitable truth.
With the mountain of evidence
brought forth and the rationality of
Gore's warnings, watching President
George H.W. Bush brush off environ-
mental protection by prophesying an
America up to its eyes in owls will
give you some sense of his frustra-
tion. And seeing him walk from stage
to stage repeating with a tireless con-
viction his plea to save our world is
awe-inspiring.
Indeed, both as documentary and
mass-marketing tool for Gore's mes-
sage, "Truth" owes much of its suc-
cess to the newfound likeability of
the former politician. Recapping his
infamous loss, Gore's sadness seems
genuinely to radiate from a desire to
help the country as opposed to any
narcissistic ambition. Much has been
made in the media of the "new Gore"
- cracking good jokes, his Tennes-
see twang at near-dangerous frequen-
cies and finally wearing those earth
tones with real authority.
That's all true, and it's completely
hollow.
He's at his best here because without
the pressure of politicking, Gore can
finally work in ideals and principles.
Here he is freed from the constraints
of being inoffensive and discovers the
confidence to be unaffectedly affable.

Courtesy of Paramount classics
That globe looks just out of Al's reach ... kind of like the 2000 election.

Perhaps that explains why so many
liberals have already lined up around
the block (or outside the theater selling
T-shirts at my screening) to campaign
for his 2008 presidency. A hearten-
ing thought, until considering that his
patriotic push at the end - attempting
to stir fervor by pointing to America's
military greatness - rings like a sour
note at the end of a revelatory sympho-
ny. Back to being a salesman, Gore is
strangely ineffective.
But it's not enough to block out the

film's extraordinary power. Solidly
constructed and highly watchable as
a conventional documentary, "Truth"
is nonetheless a public announcement
first. As the credits roll, viewers are
urged to visit climatecrisis.net and com-
pel their friends to see the film; it might
seem pushy if it weren't so urgently war-
ranted. Global warming can no longer
stand as a contentious political debate,
but rather, as Gore suggests, a matter of
morals to those with the courage to seek
an inconvenient change.

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