Where's the Annual Love for Ferngully, Bio-Dome and Medicine Man?
Is it Earth Day? You wouldn’t know it from the lack of relevant content on the movie blogs today. Aside from reviews of Oceans and promotions of Avatar on DVD, I’ve seen only a few acknowledgments and celebrations of Mother Nature and the films made in her honor. So I’d like to recommend two little-seen environmentalism-themed movies that you might enjoy:
Pom Poko - Made by the same Japanese animation studio that produces Hiyao Miyazaki’s films (most of which also have a pro-nature theme), Isao Takahata’s 1994 movie about a war between forest-dwelling raccoons and the humans trying to plow that forest down for suburban development is just as worthy of your and your children’s attention. Just as long as you don’t have a problem with giant, malleable testicles being a prominent part of the story.
The Last Winter - Larry Fessenden’s 2006 eco-thriller has some of the cheesiest special effects and corniest third acts I’ve ever seen in an otherwise excellent, highly suspenseful film. Considering you’ve spend time and/or money watching terrible environmentalism movies like The Day After Tomorrow and The Happening, you owe it to yourself to at least check out the first two thirds. And even including the Hellboy movies, I have to say it features Ron Perlman’s best role since The City of Lost Children.
Here are a few other Earth Day-related recommendations from around the blogosphere. Share your own favorites in the comments.
- Meredith Woerner at io9:
The Toxic Avenger
In all actuality this movie makes me want to pollute, because how else am I going to bring this hilarious monster/superhero to life? But on the flip side, Toxie doesn’t take kindly to polluters, so it’s probably best to keep our act clean. Don’t litter, kids, or the Toxic Avenger will rip your arms off.
- Krystal Clark at ScreenCrave (from “Top 5 Movies: When the Earth Strikes Back!):
The Day After Tomorrow is an extreme worse case scenario of what will happen if we don’t nip global warming in the bud. The film stars Dennis Quaid as a climatologist named Jack Hall whose research suggests that the planet is about to experience a major climate change. As usual the one scientist who has all the answers is initially ignored but after cities start freezing over and bodies start popping up they begin to take notice.
Not only does Hall have to deal with saving the country but his son (Jake Gyllenhaal) is trapped in another city fighting off the elements. If Dennis Quaid tried to warn us about the environment we’d be skeptical too but once that first dead body surfaced we’d start to listen.
- Adam Rosenberg at MTV Movies Blog (from “Celebrating Movies That Save the Planet from Implausible Disaster Scenarios):
“The Day After Tomorrow”
Like “I Am Legend,” humanity isn’t exactly saved in “The Day After Tomorrow.” Global warming hits disaster scenario status and much of the planet’s population is wiped out. American citizens begin breaking their way across the Mexican border, looking for the warmer weather conditions that are closer to the equator. You know what is saved though? Hope. Thanks to Dennis Quaid. That guy can fix everything; he can even find his presumed-dead son (Jake Gyllenhaal) in an iced-over New York City.
- Cole Abaius at Film School Rejects (from “An Earth Day Guide to Destroying the Planet”):
There were plenty of alien invasions like They Live, and science fiction hybrids like Night of the Comet, but there were also some great environmental flicks that attempted to display the death of the planet. Slipstream (from, Steven Lisberger, director of Tron) opened in a new future where mankind’s wanton disregard for the planet eventually created an ecological death sentence involving a jet stream forming which wiped out whole cities with its force. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind was the birth of Studio Ghibli, but it showed both the aftermath of global devastation as well as the new environmental threat of a massive toxic wasteland that populates the planet. And, of course, there’s Solarbabies, which should not be watched by humans, but is set in the future where almost all the water is gone.
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