STUDIO: Warner Brothers
MSRP: $4.99

  •     11th Hour Solutions – 11th Hour Featurette Gallery

The Pitch

The Earth will melt one day, let’s make money off of it.

“The Emerald Forest” has had a hard time finding work since John Boorman kicked it out of his poolhouse.

The Humans

Leonardo DiCaprio, Thom Hartmann, Kenny Ausubel, James Woolsey, Wangari Maathai,  Mikhail Gorbachev, Stephen Hawking and Tzeporah Berman

The Nutshell

People want to know what’s happening to the planet. Most are turning towards short term green answers. They’re taking free canvas bags to the grocery, so that they can carry their supposedly organic food. Leonardo DiCaprio has teamed up with documentarians Nadia Conners and Leila Conners Petersen to deliver this look at how we’ve wronged the Earth.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your drilling!

The Lowdown

The 11th Hour is a little too late for the zeitgeist. Even the opening segment that dwells on natural disasters having their way with the populace feels a little trite. What follows is a basic explanation of the convergence of crisis. The problem is that the explanation is really soft and it dodges the issue of overpopulation. Not taking the basic abusive human behaviors into play is doing a disservice. Western Civilization has heard the call to give a hoot and don’t pollute. Where’s the basic line of reasoning that if you keep fucking, you’re going to start starving?

Directors Nadia Conners and Leila Conners Petersen try hard to craft their tale, as DiCaprio keeps dotting in and out of the narrative. I admire the directing team’s ability to cobble together a response team that includes everyone from recent Nobel Prize winners to the former leader of the Soviet Union. Spreading their response across the film’s three sections opens up an interesting question. What the hell do some of these cats know about the planet’s current fate? Thus, we enter into the heavy speculation that the film dwells in.

New Jersey hasn’t been the same since the State DOT stopped blasting A3 every morning.

The film is manipulative to say the least.  We’re given a lot of talk from quick hits of the assembled response team. Stephen Hawking talks about how the planet could turn into Venus, but it’s a sound bite. You’re never given more than quick hits of staggering fact tidbits about the decline of the Earth. There’s no follow-up, outside of the brief listings of basic consumer level options to healing the planet. But, there’s no grand scale accountability. No one really tackles consumer response to the big polluters. There’s no real assault on basic human beliefs of entitlement. The 11th Hour is an angry letter without teeth.

If The 11th Hour wanted to be effective, it needed to improve their focus. What the average viewer is going to see is more people whining about actions that feel out of the grasp of normal citizenry. These detached whine sessions do nothing for regular people, but they seem to be inching closer and closer to a mainstream approach. That’s such a dirty word, isn’t it? Mainstream….it gets tossed around in niche subcultures as this thing to rebel against. Well, if you’re going to do anything from launching a product to saving the planet, you’re going to need them on your side. The 11th Hour fails in that venture.

Take a look, kids! It’s a Richard Dreyfuss / J. Michael Straczynski Brundlefly!

The Package

The 11th Hour arrives on DVD ready to get the hippies excited. You get an Earth friendly package design that comes shrink-wrapped in a really awkward cover. Make sure to be careful opening the outer wrap, as you can very easily rip straight into the DVD case. This packaging shit seems to have started with Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and has even tainted the Futurama Direct to DVD Movies. I guess it’s something we’ve got to put up with until digital distribution becomes feasible.

The A/V Quality on the disc is pretty good for a documentary. There’s no dropout in sound and you get a wide range that keeps the front channels busy. The transfer is solid with only minimal haze when the film cuts to the montage footage of the planet in peril. Outside of that, you’re just looking at a standard documentary. Not really a disc to set the home theater on fire.

Supplemental material on The 11th Hour includes 11th Hour Solutions. It’s a featurette that only superficially adds onto the main material of the film. You get basic answers and short interviews that allow for a catch-up course to those that were moved by the film. It’s a noble effort, but one that falls flat. 15-30 minutes of spoon-fed information won’t go that far. After all, you’ve got to combat postmodern consumer indifference.

Chief Shirt Made of Recycled Water Bottles wants you to give a larbage and throw out your garbage.

Global Warming and  Over-Reaction go hand in hand on both sides. The 11th Hour succeeds in showing the real threat to the planet and getting concern raised. The film falls apart when we’re being read a laundry list of complaints. I came for a documentary and not a lecture. The lectures don’t work anymore, as the modern audience knows that how to click them off before they have even begun.

5.5 out of 10