Earnest doc proves Gore’s truth still in­con­ve­nient

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS & LIFE - By Kather­ine Monk

YOU say you want a rev­o­lu­tion? Well, you know: We all want to change the world. At 33, Rob Ste­wart may be too young to re­mem­ber John Len­non’s lyrics, but he’s old enough to un­der­stand the im­por­tance of re­sist­ing the sta­tus quo, and in a beau­ti­ful ges­ture of youth­ful ar­ro­gance and earnest­ness, his new movie takes a wreck­ing ball to the cur­rent world or­der where bad things like greed, cor­po­rate glob­al­iza­tion and plain de­cep­tion are push­ing the en­vi­ron­ment to­wards whole­sale col­lapse.

Af­ter Al Gore’s Pow­erpoint pre­sen­ta­tion al­tered the world’s think­ing on cli­mate change close to a decade ago, this is hardly new ground.

Sev­eral truly out­stand­ing works of non-fic­tion — in­clud­ing Chas­ing Ice and Peo­ple of a Feather have taken Gore’s lead and brought the gospel of global re­cal­i­bra­tion to the masses.

Ste­wart was prob­a­bly too busy tour­ing with his first film, Shark­wa­ter, to see th­ese ef­forts, so by the time we re­al­ize Rev­o­lu­tion is really just an­other fact-based di­gest of dis­con­cert­ing facts about our melt­ing planet, we may be feel­ing a lit­tle frus­trated at Ste­wart’s near-Pollyanna per­spec­tive.

He says he was spurred into ac­tion by wit­ness­ing the shark slaugh­ter at the hands of poach­ers and in­dis­crim­i­nate trawlers, but when he re­al­ized how in­tri­cately con­nected our world is to those of sharks, he saw a broader can­vas and a big­ger prob­lem.

Shark ex­tinc­tion in our life­time is a real pos­si­bil­ity, as is a mas­sive die-off of sev­eral beloved crea­tures, from the po­lar bear to the ei­der duck.

But thanks to our gi­gan­tic species ego and self-cre­ated feel­ings of in­vul­ner­a­bil­ity, we’ve never put our­selves on the plan­e­tary dis­card pile.

Ac­cord­ing to this movie, that will change, be­cause once the planet starts an ir­re­versible de­cline, it won’t be able to sus­tain life in the same num­bers as be­fore, es­sen­tially prompt­ing a mas­sive fight for sur­vival among all life forms — in­clud­ing hu­mans.

You can see the weight of this re­al­iza­tion just by watch­ing Ste­wart’s body lan­guage.

In Shark­wa­ter, the young Cana­dian out­doors­man showed us his lovely body in tight neo­prene, look­ing at home on the deck of a dive boat.

But in Rev­o­lu­tion, Ste­wart is a fish out of prover­bial water, tak­ing his mes­sage to in­ter­na­tional fo­rums and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­fer­ences seek­ing an au­di­ence of em­pa­thetic souls.

With prod­uct in his hair and cam­era in hand, he dives head­first into the whole cli­mate-change scene.

Be­cause Ste­wart has the squeaky­clean per­sona of a kids’ show host, a lot of Rev­o­lu­tion feels like cur­ricu­lum for a mid­dle school sci­ence class.

We get graphs and charts and all kinds of alarming statis­tics, which is good for mid­dle school teach­ers and hu­man­i­ties en­thu­si­asts, but just a lit­tle te­dious for grown-ups who are al­ready well versed on the is­sues.

Then again, Rev­o­lu­tion isn’t look­ing to pros­e­ly­tize the cal­ci­fied cur­mud­geons who made the mess we’re in to­day. This is a movie fo­cused on chang­ing the way the next gen­er­a­tion ap­proaches its re­la­tion­ship to the life­sup­port sys­tem called Earth.

And on that score, Rev­o­lu­tion does a pretty good job lay­ing out the facts, the scope of de­bate and the legacy that awaits us all should we carry on down the same road of ig­no­rance and de­nial.

Sure, the kids who are cranked up by Ste­wart’s mes­sage can’t vote yet, but they will, and lis­ten­ing to their sur­pris­ingly co­her­ent, ed­u­cated and al­to­gether real­is­tic views on the re­al­ity they will in­herit should give any boomer or X-er a moment of pause be­cause th­ese kids see what’s coming, and they want to change it, but they keep hit­ting brick walls.

Per­haps the most poignant moment is when some kids are phys­i­cally re­moved from a cli­mate-change con­fer­ence and taken away in a bus be­cause they are mak­ing a com­mo­tion.

When I was a whip­per­snap­per, the only things my peers were ready to put them­selves in harm’s way for was a Cab­bage Patch Kid, so to watch th­ese vul­ner­a­ble, del­i­cate lit­tle peo­ple raise their arms in protest is quite mov­ing.

Ste­wart’s film is far too vague, and too broad, to do much more than in­spire a swell of feel­ing that may spur the viewer into per­sonal ac­tion, but as a piece of well-re­searched pro­pa­ganda, it forces view­ers to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for our own part in cre­at­ing an overtrod­den planet.

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