Another film that lets us know that our planet is in trouble and we're in worse trouble, "11th Hour" is produced by Leonardo Dicaprio (who also is featured and plays something of a host in the picture) and directed by Nadia Conners and Leila Conners Petersen.
The film brings a series of experts together to discuss the fact that the world's ecosystem is damaged and we have little time left to try and fix our actions that are wreaking havoc across the globe. The world's population has rapidly grown, and the world's hunger for fossil fuels has resulted in an increasing amount of pollution being released into the atmosphere.
The film offers a series of "talking head" interviews that go into varying topics regarding the environment mixed with footage that either offers a general look at various natural areas or offers up a visual look at the detail discussed (such as one scene where we are shown how solar energy and other new technology can be worked into our daily life.)
Speaking of solar, it's a frequent topic of discussion, and the film's discussion of both solar and wind energy and the current availability of the technology is informative and interesting. The amount of our footprint on the environment would be reduced to a remarkable degree if we were to depend on this technology for our energy. The world would also look kind of like an issue of Wired, and there's nothing wrong with that.
As one might expect, the picture also discusses our dependence on oil (for those who are interested in hybrid/electric cars, I'd strongly suggest looking into the documentary, "Who Killed the Electric Car?", which is a pretty fascinating picture.) One minor note is that there is a mild amount of discussion about how something has to be done now at times throughout the picture and, while I certainly don't disagree with that, this material should have been in the last 10-15 minutes of the film. Nothing against DiCaprio, but there's not much benefit for him to be seen throughout this film and thankfully, his role in a few "host" segments and occasional narration works.
"11th Hour" does cover a lot of ground that "An Inconvenient Truth" offered and does offer a more general overview on the subject than the former VP's film did. Still, there are some interesting insights on the status of the potential solutions and enjoyable expert interviews to be found here.
VIDEO: "11th Hour" is presented by Warner Brothers in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Presentation quality is fine - as one might expect from a movie like this that blends new interview footage with stock footage and other elements, image quality can vary at times, and some scenes look crisper and more well-defined than others. Mild grain is seen at times, but this appears to be an intentional element. No artifacting, edge enhancement or other concerns were noticed. Colors looked natural and accurate, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is largely dialogue-driven, but the film's many interviews are reproduced clearly.
EXTRAS: "11th Hour: Solutions" is another film's worth of additional documentary footage, broken into different parts: "Nature's Operating Structures and Solutions", "Solutions We Have Right Now", "Wonder of the World", "Religious Perspectives" and "Our Reactions in the Face of Environmental Collapse". This additional set of featurettes runs for a total of about 90 minutes.
Final Thoughts: "11th Hour" could have benefitted from being a little more balanced between visuals and "talking head" interviews, but the picture does paint both a dismaying picture of where the environment is headed, as well as a very interesting picture of the things we can do to solve what could be horrific problems down the road. The DVD offers fine audio/video quality, as well as a terrific set of supplemental featurettes. I'll definitely recommend the film, especially at the remarkably low retail price of only $5 bucks - it's certainly unusual to price a new release about the same as a rental, but I have to imagine it will be a significant assist to getting the film and its message out to more viewers.
The Film B