Monday, October 15, 2007

Waterworld meets Al Gore

There needs to be an introduction to this entry since it has been written as a hybrid article, and not as a straightforward film review. Recently I stumbled across the blog posting from the Blogger PR team they had posted a week ago (see Blogging for the Environment, October 8, 2007). The blog entry served as a writing prompt for thousands of blog writers to join together as a group on October 15th and publish an article that is relevant to the issue of environmental safety. I was left scratching my head wondering why October 15th should be the day in which a large group of people should join together to produce a collection of blog entries to create an awareness of environmental protection. After doing a quick search online for any kind of connection with the date I stumbled across an interesting little factoid. On October 15, 2003 a famous Canadian environmentalist had passed away at the age of 83. Back in 1970 Ben Metcalfe had created an organization that would place every possible effort into protecting the environment to keep the human race moving for several more generations to come. The name of the organization is known as the Greenpeace Foundation. On that note I would like to delve in to the heart of this article by focusing on what I consider to be a film that is the most relevant allegory to the environmental issues that we are currently facing.

Did you know that as of October 14, 2007 at 1:45pm Pacific Standard Time there was a grand accumulation of 32,566 members that had rated this film on a scale of 1 to 10? The average rating produced by this large crowd of film watchers came to a mediocre 5.5 out of 10 possible rating points. I was only one voter in that large crowd of people, and I gave the film an 8 out of 10. It was supposedly a disaster from the moment it production expenditures started going over budget during its production days. I never did get to see the film until I had rented the it on DVD years after the theatrical run had ended.

Yep, it's true. I actually enjoyed watching Kevin Costner's futuristic film Waterworld (1995). The film was so interesting to me that I am proud to admit that I now actually own a copy of the DVD. What attracted me to the film was its sense of cult like quality as you would see in a classic B-movie that would attract a huge following despite it's lack of clean appeal. The Rocky Horror Picture (1975) show is a cult classic film that was made for an estimated $1.2 million, and isn't the typical film that would reach a large audience.

What dragged my interest right into the story was the awesome opening sequence. The animated logo for Universal Studios is famous, and easily is easily recognizable as the shot of the rotating sphere of the Earth as it slowly comes to a stop when the continent of North America comes into frame. But what this film so special is the camera zoom that moves in closer to the North Pole as the audience listens to the opening narration, spoken wonderfully by Hal Douglas who is widely known as the voice of "in a world..." Provided below is a video of the inspiring opening scene, including the rather distasteful moment with an edited version of the "water purification" scene.

I can't think of very many other films that have utilized such an interesting opening sequence, although I'm thinking that one of the Jurassic Park sequel films did a similar opening. I can't quite remember which one did it since it's been a while since I've watched either of the two sequel films.

Taking a look back on the film a good twelve years after it was released in the theaters I realized that it was a story that was just peaking out ahead of its time. Before Al Gore released An Inconvenient Truth (2006), co-founded a huge musical concert fundraiser, or won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, this film came out showing a potential demise. If we were to continue wasting our supply of fossil fuels that produced unnecessary pollution and not maintain our world's natural supply of resources then our future will be rather dim.

As you read this I'm going to actually suggest that you plan for a double feature movie night soon. Go and rent a copy of Al Gore's film as well as Waterworld (1995) and watch them back to back. If you happen to watch Al Gore's documentary first then you'll most likely be viewing Kevin Costner's film differently than before. You may be surprised and how a slight change in perspective can provided a completely new aspect to a second viewing of a film. You might even get a good laugh if you start imagining key political leaders playing the lead roles in the film.

I do hope that we can be more conscientious of the steps that should be taken right now to reduce global warming, to increase the power of recycling, and to avoid the destruction of our future. As quoted best by Dennis Hopper's character in the film when he says, "Dry land is not just our destination. It is our destiny!" It sounds dorky, but it's true. We should make it an active goal to chip in with some kind of contribution to take care of our home.

If you are interested in contributing to an environmental protection group I personally recommend The Nature Conservancy group. The mission statement for the non-profit group, as quoted directly from their website, states their goal "is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive." Protecting the land and water supply not only keeps the animals alive, but also benefits us through protecting our supply of water, land, and food. If you are interested in making an online donation to this group you can visit the donation page located at The Nature Conservancy website.
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