THE 11TH HOUR
Release Date: August 10, 2007
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio as narrator
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 91 mintues
Distributor: Warner Independent Pictures
Director: eila Conners Petersen and
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Leonardo DiCaprio, Leila
Conners Petersen, Chuck
Castleberry, and Brian Gerber
Writer: Leila Conners Petersen and
Address Comments To:Mark Gill, President
Warner Independent Pictures
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
(A Time Warner company)
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Phone: (818) 954-6000
The documentary opens with shots of pollution, severe weather, famine, automobiles, and war, followed by four brief interview segments about the allegedly dire consequences of pollution and global warming. Then DiCaprio, the movie’s narrator, talks briefly about whether the planet earth and humanity are headed toward a tremendous ecological crisis of monumental proportions. DiCaprio says the filmmakers consulted “independent” experts to discover the truth.
Of course, most of the “experts” cited are environmentalist scientists, activists and authors, many of whom get funding from government grants, the government university system and the United Nations. Then, before wrapping up, the documentary looks at some technological solutions to the crisis and urges the media to spread the “news” about the global warming crisis. This last recommendation can be very dangerous if it turns out that the skeptical man-made global warming scientists are right and Leonardo DiCaprio is wrong.
To its credit, THE 11TH HOUR offers mostly on capitalist solutions involving solar, wind and recycling technology. Three-quarters of the movie, however, involve the typical environmentalist spiel, which turns everything into a big crisis. The environmental movement has turned out to be wrong before when it’s tried to do this (such as its previous alarmist opinions on over-population, the fear in the 1970s of another global Ice Age, and its ill-advised ban on DDT, which has led to the death of millions of people from deadly malaria-carrying mosquitoes). Also, there are still a number of major scientists who dispute the movement’s current alarm about man-made global warming (such as Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). In fact, the documentary’s alarmist view about severe weather and severe flooding around the globe caused by global warming, which suggests that half of Florida will be submerged under the ocean, is exaggerated (see the work of hurricane expert Dr. William Gray).
Finally, although it is good that the movie gives capitalist solutions to protect the environment, it contains some politically correct attacks on the United States and the Bush administration. These attacks include attacks on American consumerism and an attack on Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who is not really in charge of the Bush administration’s national energy policies. The fact that the movie doesn’t mention the problems of consumerism overseas in places like India, China, Japan, Europe, and Russia gives the movie an unbalanced, gratuitous anti-American viewpoint. While it's true Jesus Christ speaks against greed and materialism, He also speaks against envy. The anti-American content that creeps into this documentary seems too much like the radical left’s anti-American, anti-corporate “politics of envy,” which stemmed from a Communist worldview. This content is not scientific. Nor is it balanced.
Finally, the documentary shows world-renowned Stephen Hawking talking about environmental issues. Hawking is not a bonafide scientific expert on environmental issues. He’s an expert in physics. So, the use of him is little more than a political stunt.
To its credit, THE 11TH HOUR focuses mostly on capitalist solutions involving solar, wind and recycling technology. Three-quarters of the movie, however, involve the typical environmentalist spiel, which turns everything into a crisis. The bias reflected in the movie’s constant use of environmentalist advocates who are clearly not independent experts and in its singling out of America, as opposed to big polluters like China, is dangerous. This is especially true when the documentary urges the media to take sides rather than examine these issues objectively and scientifically.