Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth can be found on most lists of top environmental documentaries; it is one of the few documentaries that was widely advertised and opened in many mainstrem theaters. As Jessica Knoblauch says, it is “a great primer on global warming”; it entertains and informs in a straightforward way, it has a big name attached to it, and it has high production values.
I agree. Not only is “An Inconvenient Truth,” award winning and widely popular, it is easily accessible. That is, it is a great basis for beginning to understand climate change. While it is smart and insightful, it is not obnoxious, incoherent, or elitist. It explains simply the causes, the problems, and potential solutions without being partisan or accusatory. Several other documentaries that focus on specific animals are effective too, such as “The Cove,” are effective, but not reach the global extent of Al Gore’s documentary.
I think An Inconvenient Truth is the most commercially successful. However, I also have to mention Koyaanisqatsi. It’s an environmental film that can best be described as an experimental documentary — all images and a theme song, no spoken word at all. It’s beautiful to watch and really makes you think. I go to film school, and Koyaanisqatsi is very well known as an artistic piece and is widely discussed in many of the classes I have taken; most people I know have seen it.
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