Leila Conners Petersen
Sylvia Earle Ph.D.
The 11th Hour (2007) (PG)
Documentary 93 min. August 24, 2007
Leonardo DiCaprio wants you to know that we are in serious trouble. No amount of artful chin stubble, it seems, will reverse the depletion of fossil fuels or help to slow population growth. No, my friends, the time has come for serious action, and that means traveling to various doomed picturesque locations in order to make direct-to-camera entreaties straight out of one of those Sally Struthers famine-relief PSAs. A cautionary eco-doc so earnest and moth-eaten that it should properly be seen on filmstrip during fourth-period social studies, The 11th Hour might as well have borrowed the title of Lisa Simpsons lecture about the pollution of Lake Springfield: "An Irritating Truth." The 11th Hour assumes you have no idea that the rain forests are shrinking, the Arctic ice shelves collapsing, the planets oil reserves dwindling. From start to finish, the film offers nothing more than a litany of pamphlet-ready factoids, unencumbered by the anecdotal wit that made Al Gores stats on global warming halfway palatable onscreen. (DiCaprios presence in this film on which hes also credited as a producer is so dourly humorless that even Gore 2000 looks effortlessly charismatic by comparison.) Its as if someone today had made a blunt, sober, 90-minute documentary explaining in laborious, unimpeachable detail exactly why smoking cigarettes no, really is bad for your health.