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2040 - Film Review

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by JC (subscribe)
I have a had a life-long love of the arts; enjoying theatre, ballet, art and movies. We are all time poor and have limits to our entertainment budget so I hope an honest review will help make your choices easier.
Published May 17th 2019
Climate change solutions?
Award-winning director Damon Gameau, who brought us the hit 2015 documentary That Sugar Film, now brings us 2040; a documentary that explores how the future could look if we embraced the best planet improving solutions already available to us.

The film opens well with Damon explaining both the science and statistics of increasing carbon emissions. The use of simple everyday language and animation cleverly illuminate the subject and highlight the pending climate change crises.

With the problem clear Damon, next aims to turn down the possible paralysing anxiety that climate change facts can often induce. According to Damon, "more and more images of destruction and suffering fill our news feeds, this is the narrative we are showing our children and, sadly, these images overwhelm and paralyse us from taking action". In this film, Damon has therefore tried to change the narrative and focus on possible solutions. Based on consultation with experts from around the world, Damon presents a series of diverse solutions targeting energy production, farming, aquaculture, civic design, transport, education and more.

From my perspective, this is where the film took a slip. The solutions while based, as promised, on current science often lacked real-world application for the average Australian audience member. Additionally, while the introduction focused on the statistics behind carbon emission growth the solutions are more qualitative than quantitative. For example, seaweed aquaculture is factually presented as a rapid growth crop with the potential to quickly lock down carbon, but I was left questioning how the average person could take the ideas presented, like seaweed farming, and make a difference. I was also left wondering what impact each solution would have on the well-articulated carbon emissions numbers from the beginning of the film. If Australia was to fund seaweed production or farming changes, what would this cost and how would each of these contribute to our carbon emission target of 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2030?

2040 has been constructed as a visual letter to Damon's 4-year-old daughter; blending traditional documentary style reporting with dramatised sequences and high-end visual effects. This style of documentary is certainly entertaining and will appeal to a broad audience. The liberal use of children to express both their concerns and ideas, as well as the cheeky animation scenes, reminiscent of Honey I Shrunk the Kids, will have great appeal to children. Overall this a family friendly outing where education can be cunningly disguised as entertainment.

2040 has a runtime of 92mins and will be in cinemas from May 23, 2019.
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Why? Entertainment that educates
When: May and June 2019
Where: Cinemas
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