What are some of the best movies with environmental messages?


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    Some of the most popular include An Inconvenient Truth with Al Gore, Erin Brokovich with Julia Roberts, and the recent academy award winner the Cove. The Grist produced a top 15 list in 2007 that contains some must sees: http://www.grist.org/article/movies/

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    I don’t know what you would qualify as the best but I can tell you my favorites. Wall-E where all natural life on the earth has been destroyed except for one small plant and a robot goes on a crazy adventure to introduce that plant back to humans who now live in space and are lazier than ever. And Avatar, where humans go to another planet and interact with another species of being learning about the extreme connectivity of the earth with the species while the human military tries to take down this meraculous society.

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    There have been many movies made in the past few decades, some of them terrible and some of them wonderful.  Here is a list of the best three documentaries followed by the three best fiction features, in one humble Earthling’s estimation.


    3. The Cove

    The former trainer of Flipper the Dolphin visits Taiji, Japan, where a remote cove, guarded by barbed wire and a billion-dollar dolphin entertainment industry, a secret dolphin hunting industry hides under cover of night.  The Cove follows the documentarians’ quest to expose the secret of Taiji, and the measures taken by the hunters to secure their secret.  Terrifying and engaging, The Cove  is a must-see for everyone, not just dolphin-lovers.

    2. An Inconvenient Truth

    Interspersing the science of climate change, this documentary follows former Vice President Al Gore’s campaign for the environment in a non-political, engaging manner.  It suppresses an agenda (somewhat) in favor of facts, allowing the viewer to make his or her own conclusions about climate change.  An Inconvenient Truth is not a lament for our impending doom, but a call for action to be taken to prevent it, and preserve the earth that nurtures us, and that we all share.

    1. Planet Earth

    If you haven’t seen BBC Natural History’s Planet Earth series yet (re-narrated by Sigourney Weaver and run on the Discovery Channel in 2006), stop reading now and go acquire a copy.  Not a movie, per se, but this expansive mini-series shot in high-definition is the most complete and beautiful portrait of our planet ever made.  Taking you up mountains, underwater, into caves, over deserts and plains, and deep into jungles and forests, Planet Earth delivers surprises, oddities, and some of the most remarkable wildlife footage ever captured. 


    3.  Waterworld

    If you’re scoffing right now, watch it again.  Kevin Reynolds’ epic Waterworld got a bad rap for bad acting and melodrama, and although it isn’t scientifically accurate, everyone—with no exceptions—I’ve asked about it has enjoyed it.   Taking as its launch pad the question “What if the ice caps melted?” Waterworld is an exciting race between two groups of people trying to find a mythical area of dry land, over beautiful sets and nail-biting action sequences.  Underneath that, the battle between fossil fuel consumption and sustainability reverberates. 

    2. Avatar

    There was a lot of complaint that James Cameron’s Avatar had a less-than-stellar storyline.  Although I agree on some counts, no one can dispute that Avatar was exciting and visually mind-blowing.  Pitting greed versus necessity, Avatar is the moral quest of the one man who can truly experience both sides.  The allegorical struggle on Pandora encourages a certain amount of introspection about our practices and beliefs on Earth.  Avatar totally deserved its box office domination and was the best blockbuster since The Return of the King in 2003. 

    1. Princess Mononoke

    If you passed this one up because it was a cartoon, I recommend you give it a shot.  Master animated filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki wrote and directed this adventure about a young man who travels east in search of the source of a demon that attacked his home town.  What he discovers is an ongoing struggle between Man and harmony of the forest.  Beautiful animation, jaw-dropping battle and action sequences, diverse and absorbing characters, and a truly original story, Princess Mononoke is masterpiece in every respect.  As if that wasn’t enough, an all-star list of voice-talent graces the American version, starring Billy Crudup, Billy Bob Thornton, Claire Danes, and Minnie Driver.

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      Hey Whitefish, I just mentioned to a friend that I wanted to watch Princess Mononoke because of your description above, and he had a copy, so I just saw it this evening for the first time. It was a wonderful movie, thanks for the suggestion.

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    one of many great movies is Food Inc.. it has a cow on the D.V.D cover!

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    Some other environmentally-oriented movies include FERN GULLY, ICE AGE, and the new movie FURRY VENGENCE.

    Fern Gully was released in 1992 and is geared towards children. It addresses the destruction of the tropical rainforests. It included the voices of Robin Williams, Christian Slater, Samantha Mathis, and Tim Curry.

    Ice Age addresses climate change.

    Furry Vengence addresses the destruction of a national park.

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    Ok, honestly I think the best (aside from AVATAR) would be the Pocahontas.  Honestly, if you don’t love that movie and want to save the planet afterward, your heart is made of stone.  

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    We used to take trips to the omnimax theatre (I don’t know if they have those everywhere) in elementary school and I credit the oceans, rainforest and safari movies with the birth of my desire to save the planet.  The images are breathtaking and something most of us will never get a chance to experience first hand.

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    How about Into the Wild? Charlotte’s Web and Dances with Wolves. The last two really help show the deeper connection with animals and nature, how everything has its place and is worth respect.

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    I think “Be the Change” is an excellent documentary about living sustainably.  Also the movie “Happy Feet” has an excellent message for children about how we affect the world around us.

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    My personal favorite is Gasland, a documentary about the effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

    However, as a young girl, I loved The Lion King, and it inspired me to learn more about real African animals.  I’ve loved them ever since, and that love helped push me in the direction of being an environmentalist.

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