The 11th Hour (2007) Poster

(I) (2007)

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8/10
The Most Important Film of 2007
nilent17 August 2007
Kudos to Leonardo DiCaprio for putting his time and money into this outstanding documentary.

Let's face it, any informed/intelligent/objective person already knows that we're on a greased path toward species extinction and that we must "change course". "The 11th Hour" is an excellent vehicle for increasing the numbers of folks in that category (...and for reinforcing the knowledge base/commitment of those who think that that they "already know this stuff").

"The 11th Hour" goes way beyond simply pointing at problems. This wonderful documentary provides a fairly sharp focus on practical/viable solutions and serves up some inspiring/motivating ideas/insights.

The use of captivating cinematography and stunning images make for a powerful impact.

I hope that the production company releases a book that details/documents the observations/assertions/conclusions of film's experts. Such a volume (if done well) would serve as an excellent part of any school curriculum.

The 11th hour is a must see if you...

...care about whether or not there is a human race around in the next couple of hundred years.

...care about the quality of life for your children and their children over the next 50 years.

...are a young person who expects to be around for the next 60 to 80 years; then this is all about your future.

As one watches "The 11th Hour" it becomes painfully clear that it doesn't matter how rich or powerful one may be; there can be no escaping the inexorable consequences of the indefensibly insane/unsustainable global industrial/economic model; a model clearly based on little more than short term greed.

As effective/good as "The 11th Hour" is at conveying factual data in a way that holds your attention....it could have gone in a totally different direction.

A dramatic feature film needs to be made that more fully captures/documents the emotional and existential impact of the consequences of current environmental policies: a kind of "Erin Brockovitch" of Global Warming/Climate Change. Clearly, this isn't the last word in this genre.

This is not a crisis that is "out there" in some vague future. Real people's lives are being destroyed now. There are many millions of "canaries in the coal mine" of our biosphere for whom climate change is life and death issue in the near term.

Bottom lines: "The 11th Hour" is a powerful documentary that manages to alarm without fear mongering and to paint a bleakly honest picture without engendering hopelessness.

Go see/support this movie. The last half hour alone (which deals very positively with aspects of the political dimension) is worth the price of admission.
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10/10
terrifying, uplifting, and motivational
dedalus6265 September 2007
This is a wonderful and important documentary. The film is full of terrifying images and fascinating interviews from some great minds. But, luckily, it does not spend too much time making its case about our destruction. After getting the viewer sufficiently terrified, the film shifts its focus to the causes of the problem. The film also inspires viewers to go out and make a difference (and tells them how).

Of course, comparisons will be made to An Inconvenient Truth, so I'll cover that too: it's clear that this project was always intended to be a film; it didn't begin as a PowerPoint presentation. It also doesn't waste time with a biography of it's narrator. But, most importantly, it's got a better mix of fear and inspiration; DiCaprio's film made me want to change the world.
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The Earth will get by on its own
dobbin-12 September 2007
This very insightful documentary is not about the death of the world. Those whom extol such are, in my opinion, foolish dramatists. Rather, it is about the death of our species.

DeCaprio excels in bringing forth the intelligentsia who bring not only educated opinion but factual data. Facts show the Earth is suffering from the abuses of people. And the greatest abuses come from the largest and most technological countries. Yet, some of the worst abuses come from small, undeveloped countries too poor to encourage environmental regulation.

With all the pollution of land, sea, and air, we as people will ultimately succumb, unless we take great action to replace what we remove, or accept our need to find alternatives.

Global warming may be real or not. I haven't been around for a hundred thousand years or so, so I can't really say. In my oh so short time on this planet, I feel I can say one thing and that is we sure are doing a lot more to hurt ourselves, and this planet, than help.

Five stars for The 11th Hour.
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9/10
"Its all-hands-on-deck time"
Chris Knipp3 September 2007
Narrated, produced and spearheaded by Leonardo DiCaprio, this documentary about how humans have damaged the earth and what chance we still may have of reversing the destruction is hard to summarize, since it's a breathless amalgam of fact and opinion from dozens of experts and pundits. But here's a try: The planet is nearing meltdown. It's not just global warming. It began with the industrial revolution, when we started mistakenly looking on nature as external to us and endlessly exploitable. Forests have undergone major destruction. The ocean is turning stagnant. The soil itself is largely damaged everywhere. Worst of all, 50,000 species a year are becoming extinct, and no ecosystem can be identified as improving. Not to mention the fact that humans suffer from increasing numbers of diseases our pollution causes. At fault is the overproduction of non-sustainable manufactures, the immense waste and destruction, and the sustaining (unsustainably) of vastly more people than the planet can support. Behind all this the primary cause is the fuels we use, petroleum being the primary one.

So far, the process can still be slowed, perhaps reversed--but not for long. We have the technology, though nature itself rather than any man-made "thing" is the greatest resource, and the solution is in harmonizing ourselves with it, not further dominating it. In a few years, we will have reached the point of no return. This is not just the 11th hour, but the last few seconds of the sixtieth minute of that hour. Within this new century, if nothing effective is achieved, planetary damage will be dramatic and total in every area. It's impossible to predict, but extreme disaster could come very rapidly, once the balance is decisively tipped in the wrong direction, and it will happen everywhere. Nowhere is safe from it.

As one reviewer has said, if we don't slit our throats after hearing the first half of this story, some "intriguing options" are suggested in the last third Various speakers believe that while humanity may not survive, without a reversal of the trend, life on earth probably will. (Welcome to Insectopia.) But surprisingly enough, though everything we do has to be changed radically and totally, things won't necessarily look wholly different. The difference will be inside. An 85% efficient train car looks just like a little old train car, only its interior works will have changed. A wholly self-sustainable skyscraper still looks on the outside just like a skyscraper: the new Bank America building in New York resembles the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, only with more glass.

Not only are the technologies all available, but there are many plans about how to use them, and doing so can be immensely profitable even for existing businesses, if they alter their products and raw materials. The obstacle is resistant mindsets, and above all a lack of leadership. There's another obstacle--well, many; and they're mostly in the United States. The large corporations in whose interest it is to go on gobbling fossil fuel (or as writer Thom Hartman calls it, "ancient sunlight"), rule our world, and our American leaders are their marionettes. The average working guy doesn't think beyond the morning traffic report. We all need to learn to care. Dippy as it sounds, all we need is love. And we can act fast when we want to--look at the American performance in WWII.

Al Gore has greeted The 11th Hour as a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth. In a sense it is that. In David Guggenheim's Oscar-winning film Gore demonstrates why and how global warming is a reality and a cause of grave concern. The 11th Hour sets this event in a larger context, warns further of the urgency of acting now, and, unlike Inconvenient Truth, goes into detail about practical solutions. The 11th Hour, unfortunately, isn't as polished and effective as An Inconvenient Truth. The latter is unified by Gore's personality. DiCaprio provides an appealing sort of youthful everyman voice (even a Hollywood superstar becomes an everyman in this context), but he doesn't hold The 11th Hour together. Though the range of expertise is impressive and valuable, structurally there is a dauntingly rapid succession of different faces. Even during the 11th hour of 11th Hour new speakers keep appearing and it's difficult to take in all the names and credentials first time through. Luckily there are a few strong and unmistakable voices, like the broadcaster David Suzuki; Stephen Hawking; Mikhail Gorbachov. The soft southern accent of Interface founder Ray Anderson, a "good" corporate CEO, is familiar from the Gore film.

Sometimes information and animated diagrams go by with ridiculous speed. It's as if the filmmakers were a little terrified of omitting something. This will work fine on a DVD where you can freeze-frame to check things out; it doesn't work so well in a theater. Speeded-up urban sequences look like some sloppy version of Koyaanisqatsi. These flaws make one nostalgic for Gore's measured tones. His detractors called Inconvenient Truth "a glorified Power Point lecture." But that's much better than sounding, as DiCaprio occasionally does, like the narrator of some high school educational flick.

Consequently it's not too surprising that 11th Hour has fared less well critically than Truth, despite some significant champions--the critics of some of the major US papers, and smart writers like Andres O'Hehir of Salon.com, David Edelstein of New York Magazine, Jonathan Rosenbaum of The Chicago Reader--and one could go on. Ultimately, the film's weaknesses don't matter, because its content is too important and smart to dismiss.

Attacking The 11th Hour feels unwise--like killing the messenger. Conners and Peterson and DiCaprio and all those bright people are saying things we need to hear. Is the quality of this movie really such an issue? The far more significant issue raised is this: sure, we can "vote" by buying low-watt bulbs and recycling and reducing our individual "carbon footprints." But to act collectively, we'll need that so-far-missing leadership. Where is it going to come from?
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8/10
An inspiring documentary with an important cautionary message
vovazhd20 April 2008
I went into The 11th Hour expecting a straightforward, didactic documentary summarizing the current threats from global warming. If not for a momentary interest on the subject, I would have probably passed it up altogether. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was extremely nuanced, being an insightful and scientific investigation on mankind's role in global warming.

Rather than spurting out random facts and events (like most documentaries), The 11th Hour uses a wide range of viewpoints to build a conceptual foundation that explains the general scientific impression of global warming. Some of the ideas may end up being wrong, but all of them are at least plausible. The different speakers include Paul Hawken, Wangari Maathai, Mikhail Gorbachev, and (my favorite) Stephen Hawking. There are many different ideas communicated, but they are all based on the same underlying principle. The structure of the documentary is very dialog heavy, which can feel overwhelming at times but is guaranteed to bring forth new knowledge to viewers.

The main ideas are nothing new for most people educated on environmental news, but the speakers submit some profound new ways of looking at them. A common theme was relating Earth's existence to the human civilization's existence. If we continue to progress global warming, the planet might be able to heal itself eventually, but only once humans are gone. One thing I found especially interesting was the consideration of the economic value of nature, which ended up being roughly two times greater than the world's industrial wealth.

My only significant complaint is that the film is often rough in style, organization, and editing. The images sometimes feel out of place or even distracting from the message. Occasionally, the images rapidly jump between completely different environments, which can be hard to process. To be sure, most of the cinematography was excellent, but it just wasn't put together in the best way. Overall, it could have been more focused.

The 11th Hour is an insightful and inspiring documentary on one of the most important topics to date. It provides a balanced and comprehensive conceptual overview on the human role in global warming, but also expects viewers to take this knowledge out of the theater and implement it into their own lives. It is extremely educational experience.
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8/10
Film superbly does its job as a social responsibility educator.
mischa4914 September 2007
With the world economy expanding as it is bringing pollution along with it, combined with the lack of socially responsible leadership specifically in the forms of education and regulation, The 11th Hour superbly outlines the current status of our Earth's health, the movement to revive it, and a basis for the education that is needed to make necessary changes for a healthier planet. Much file footage is shown throughout the film that is sometimes not specifically discussed but does provide good visuals for the narration and speakers, which is the basis of the entire film. Although the production is a bit ADD (ie a screen cut every 1/2 to 1 second at times), the distress call for the environment and future of our world is clear. A 10/10 is deserved for this film for social responsibility and standing up against non-leadership while providing feasible options to reduce global climate change from the ground up.
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10/10
Thumbs Up To Leonardo Di Caprio For Caring About Our Planet
Seamus282916 September 2007
Let's face it gang, the 21st Century (and even the later phase of the 20th century)has been the era of the documentary,resulting in some of the most insightful,thought provoking,eye opening,and even enraging documentary films. Granted, I've seen some mighty fine docs,produced within the last 20 or so years,but they have not been blessed with the distribution of the ones within the last few years. The 11th Hour (or as it is being called, 'Leonard DiCaprio Presents The Eleventh Hour' in European markets),like 'An Inconvient Truth' from last year is a much needed wake up call to the issue of global warming,and just poisoning the Earth,in general. 'Hour' gets it's gumption from interviews with some key environmental figures, offering their take on what we're doing to our planet (and what we have been doing since the birth of the industrial age). These are the kind of films that should be playing out in the major markets,instead of just being shuttled off to the art cinemas. Okay,don't get me wrong. I like escapism from time to time, like anybody else,but I'm not afraid of truth whupping me upside the head with the proverbial/metaphorical 2 by 4. Despite the fact that this film has been taken on by a major studio (Warner Bros.),it has still,received spotty distribution. See this film & judge for yourself.
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7/10
Inevitable comparisons will be made...
jemps9184 October 2007
Inevitable comparisons will be made with Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, and so we might as well go ahead with it.

The 11th Hour starts off with terrifying the audience, in contrast to Gore's more introspective calm before the storm. Gore also interjects humor and his own personality into a documentary about his own crusade, while DiCaprio's is more straightforward, inundating the audience with mind-numbing facts and portents of doom. He also doesn't focus attention to his own personality but stays merely a narrator.

The 11th Hour is more comprehensive, drawing from various sources, but lacks breathing room to digest each infoload periodically dumped on screen. It decides to interject these pockets of space for reflection far too late, already in the middle of the reel.

DiCaprio's narration is also a disappointment. He is great eye candy that serves to pull the crowd to the theater, a terrific actor and is capable of memorizing tomes of text in his movies, but in his own documentary, his eyes too obviously dart left to right at a teleprompter, which loses the impact and earnestness he needs to communicate and connect to the audience. Meanwhile, the less-physically appealing Gore successfully portrays himself in Rocky-like fashion, valiantly trudging on in his uphill battle, which makes the audience identify with and root for him.

To The 11th Hour's credit, it offers more solutions on an individual level than Gore's. Despite the fragmented expositions of its well-meaning interview subjects, it offers hope and a heroic sense of optimism that we can still do something about the issue.
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5/10
Splat
James Owen13 December 2008
Sheesh, what a mess.

If Americans are relying on documentaries like this to convince Joe the Redneck that anthropogenic climate change is real I understand why we all feel there is so much more work left to do. You see, the problem with the film is its complete lack of a narrative, one scientist/politician/activist after another, however respectable, snappily quipping about consumption, pollution, the oil economy, in no particular order does nothing to explain where we came from or where we are headed, or why. So the documentary teaches nothing new, it just juggles around the same themes, incoherently referencing the all correct verbiage to satisfy an green audience but neither inform nor empower it.

The visuals do not help, we can't go 5 seconds without seeing an iceberg disintegrate or tree being chopped down. After the first half hour it becomes like some sort weird sort of exercise in CIA-style mental conditioning. Does no good, indeed it destroys a viewer's concentration, rather than enriching or rewarding it. Also, it has to be said, some of visuals are entirely erroneous, for a the moment when told that human behaviour may cause the release of subterranean methane, why are we shown a clip of a sea vent? There are at least a dozen similar misleading visuals here, and as much as I'm into green politics, let's face it, with instances like there is a touch of propaganda to this documentary.

Conclusions? Save some energy, turn it off, read some George Monbiot instead.
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8/10
Heed the warning
lastliberal22 May 2008
The best thing about this film was the fact that it did not focus on the Earth's destruction, but on man's eventual demise as a species. The earth with survive our rape and plunder. It has been here for 4.5 billion years, while we have been here but 150,000. We will eventually join the 99.999% of the species that have lived on this planet and who are now extinct. How quickly we join them is up to us, but we will eventually go the way of the dinosaur.

Through our heavy consumption and trash creation, we are rapidly stripping all of the resources from the Earth and polluting what we don't consume. Soon, we will be faced with the inevitable - it's all gone. If you haven't seen "A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash," then it should be on your list as a "must see." Along with "An Inconvenient Truth," this film tells us what will happen if we stay the course.

The only fault I found in the film was the rapidity with which it presented information. This stuff needs to be digested slowly, and we got it rapid fire. Still, it is an important addition to the story of humankind and how we are planning our own destruction.
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