The 11th Hour

Leave it to America, a place where it is never too late to unite for a good cause, to rally behind the rich and famous when dealing with such a vital issue as the self-destructive path we have so desperately clung to for nearly three centuries now. With his contemplative “The 11th Hour,” actor Leonardo DiCaprio has joined the likes of Al Gore and many others in fostering one such movement for this generation.

In the new movie, first-time filmmakers Nadia Conners and Leila Conners Peterson show their novice skills, following DiCaprio’s inspiration. Gathering dozens of nature videos and interviews of experts ranging from Stephen Hawking to Michael Gorbechev, they switch from talking head, to a shot of a volcano erupting, to another speaker, to yet another ocean wave splashing ashore. It becomes difficult to concentrate on only one subject at some points.

Another major player in the film is the constant musical score underlying literally every second of footage. At times eerie, and at others overly bombastic and monumental, the soundtrack reveals that the filmmakers were going straight for the viewers’ heart with their dire message.

Beginning with the current state of earth and the human race, dozens of recognized professors, anthropologists, entrepreneurs, architects, and others make their case for why a pivotal change in global thinking is necessary to sustain consumer’s comfortable ways of life.

Anybody who has taken a history class knows how the Industrial Revolution transformed everything about how things are done within a functioning society. In fact, we still go on with our daily lives not thinking twice about how this period switched our thinking from raising our own food and making our own tools to relying on a supposedly infinite supply of natural resources to be used for mass production in factories.

It is this way of thinking, Gorbechev and others said that got us into the current unstable period, and that the time is running out for us to quit denying the obvious impact our wasteful lifestyles have created. If we don’t act soon, we are the ones that are at the most risk. Being at the top of the food chain, we would be among the first species to go.

The final portion of the film refreshingly focuses less on preaching about where we humans have faulted in our rise to the throne, but more on the ways we can still save ourselves, our ways of life and the natural beauty that surrounds us.

Some possible solutions to moving towards creating a sustainable economic system that supports the recycling of materials instead of their endless waste would include giving corporations incentives to be less wasteful with their production, initializing polluter pay systems and building more environmentally friendly houses and offices. All of these suggestions have begun trial runs in certain countries, and all have had positive impacts.

Though formed as an elongated PSA-like plea for universal awareness, “The 11th Hour” will do moderately well at the box-office, making an initial impact far less than “An Inconvenient Truth” did. The reasons for this may include the fact that the American psyche is so wired that it can only pay true attention to a one-man-show type of production (i.e. Michael Moore), and it is not yet ready to accept the kaleidoscope of other brains in this world ready to make change a reality. Or it may just simply be that the subject of this film that is suited better for the small screen and has too broad a scope for people to focus on anything palpable or revolutionary.

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