Popcorn? Check. Movie? Check. Environmental message? Check!
Having just watched Dr Seuss’ latest book to film adaptation ‘The Lorax’, a family friendly animated film that heavily preaches the importance of protecting the environment before it’s too late, inspiration for a blog post came crashing down on me like the endangered trees in the movie.
I started thinking, what other films have I come across in my time as a self-proclaimed movie aficionado that have ‘green’ messages (just to clarify, green being environmentally friendly… not the Incredible Hulk), and furthermore which ones are actually worth watching?
You’re probably wondering what’s so great about environmentally themed movies? Well, let me educate you as simply as possible on why movies can play an extremely important role in spreading environmental messages. If done correctly movies are a great way to rip down pre conceived barriers and create awareness of important and sometimes ‘dry’ issues (let’s be honest, before an Inconvenient Truth most people fell asleep at the very mention of global warming). Movies offer a wider audience the opportunity to understand key issues on a basic level, thus creating greater understanding and opinion. Once an issue gains more awareness in the public forum and becomes widely discussed, policy makers realise they need to take action on the issues relevant to their voters. Once these ‘environmental campaigners’ are elected they are in a position of power to help make changes and develop new policy to address environmental issues.
The criteria I’ve used for picking my top five films involves the following;
- The quality of the story, acting, directing and overall production of the movie
- The film must be entertaining
- The discussion and debate created by a movie
- The number of people the movie has reached
I will be dividing my top five films over two blog posts, therefore without much more ado I present number four and five on my list of the top five films with an environmental message:
Number 5: Happy Feet (2006)
A happy film about cute animated penguins dancing and singing, pretty straight forward…not quite, as the film progresses the environmental themes become more apparent as the viewer realises the serious problems Antarctica faces. Overfishing rears it’s ugly head as does pollution, we are shown a depressing glimpse of the impact mankind has on this once untouched environment and the innocent animals that inhabit it.
Happy Feet has managed to entertain kids and parents worldwide, all while subtly opening their eyes to the real and shocking side effects of over fishing and polluting which invariably has a harmful effect on our cute penguin friends and their fellow Antarctic creatures, not to mention the irreparable damage being done to their habitats. Bonus points for the all-star cast with a distinct Australian flavour, it’s also directed by George Miller (Babe, Mad Max franchise).
Number 4: An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
Whether you believe in global warming or not, Al Gore was polarising in his presentation of the facts for why global warming is real, and why we need to take action now before it’s too late. This documentary has had a lasting effect and managed to bring environmental issues to the forefront of debates worldwide, it also managed to prove to movie studies that documentaries are a worthwhile exercise and if done correctly can make money while being environmentally themed.
The main reason why an Inconvenient Truth is on this list and what I believe to be its most significant contribution to the environmental film genre is how the documentary managed to get people talking about the previously thought ‘dry’ topic of global warming. I’ll be honest, before watching this documentary I couldn’t have cared less about global warming, and had no idea about how it was affecting the world. However after watching this film my eyes were opened, I become more aware of my personal impact on the environment and to this day am trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle. An inconvenient Truth managed to captivate me as a year eleven student in high school on an issue I previously had no interest in, for that reason alone it makes my list.
Check back next week for my remaining top three environmentally themed movies.
What do you think the top three environmentally themed movies will be?