Gore's `Truth' is warming, indeed

Ex-vice president charms viewers with humility in documentary on need to save planet

Critic's Picks: New Dvds

November 19, 2006|By MARY CAROLE MCCAULEY

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH -- Panasonic Home Video / $29.99

An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's documentary about the perils of global warming, wears its tree-hugging credentials proudly on its 100 percent-recycled sleeve.

The DVD is encased in a thin little cardboard jacket, in keeping with its admonition to consumers to "avoid products with a lot of packaging" to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions.

The inner jacket urges buyers of the DVD to, "Watch it. Share it. Donate it. Illegally download it."

OK, we made up that last one. Nonetheless, it's easy to get the feeling that the former vice president would secretly approve all measures -- this side of the law, of course -- that will get his message out to as broad a spectrum of the public as possible.

Potential viewers might be put off by the prospect of being lectured to for 96 minutes by a past presidential candidate, armed with flow charts, who is notorious for his wooden delivery. That would be a shame, for An Inconvenient Truth is an improbable, thoughtful charmer.

Gore comes across in the DVD (being released Tuesday) as that rarest of breeds -- a politician with little personal ego who has devoted his life to serving a cause that he sees as bigger and more important than him and his brilliant career.

Indeed, Gore appears almost humble when he describes his bewildered pain at his failure to get his message across and convince Congress to adopt more stringent environmental protections. If only he could have been more articulate, more forceful, more persuasive, perhaps more people would have heeded his call.

He is forthright about his own blind spots; it took his sister's death from lung cancer for him to put an end to the tobacco farming business in which the Gore family had been involved for generations.

Not that watching An Inconvenient Truth is an entirely pleasant experience. The film's graphic depiction of the consequences, if the world continues on its current rapacious course, is unsettling and alarming. The upside is that the movie may inspire viewers to make changes, however minor, to their lifestyles.

Special features

The DVD contains a few extras, including updated comments by Gore and a short feature about how the documentary was made.

ALSO ANTICIPATED

PRESTON STURGES: THE FILMMAKER COLLECTION --Universal Studios Home Entertainment / $59.98

This is a grouping of seven of the best films created by the American comic genius who has been described as "the father of screwball comedy."

A master of verbal and physical slapstick, Sturges is known for his exuberant wordplay of droll one-liners and double entendres.

The collection includes four films never before released on DVD: The Great McGinty, Christmas in July, The Great Moment and Hail the Conquering Hero. The collection also includes three much-loved gems: The Palm Beach Story, The Lady Eve, and Sullivan's Travels.

All that, and Henry Fonda, too.

MARY CAROLE MCCAULEY

mary.mccauley@baltsun.com

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