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Whether its cartoons or serious cautionary tales, we've got you covered for movies this long weekend
In 2805, Earth is covered in garbage due to decades of mass consumerism and pollution due to the megacorporation Buy'n'Large. In the year 2105, Earth's remaining population evacuates in fully automated starliners. They leave behind WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth Class) robots to clean the planet. Eventually B'n'L abandons hope and shuts down the WALL-E robots except for one who develops sentience after 700 years life experience. One day WALL-E discovers a growing seedling and joins with his love-interest (and far more advanced) robot EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) in order to deliver the seedling to the Axiom – the B'n'L starliner – to prove life can be sustained on Earth.
Wall-E is a heartwarming story about the changes a humble individual can make to the future of our planet, and the importance of friendship, love and hope in order to sustain human life.
Fern-Gully: The Last Rainforest (1992)
A community of fairies live in a peaceful place in the forest called Fern Gully, which has been protected for years by a wise fairy called Magi. Her grand-daughter Chrysta comes across a human named Zak, whom she accidentally shrinks down to fairy-size. The story follows their growing relationship and the fairies fight against the forest loggers in order to protect their home from the malevolent pollution entity, Nexxus. This one is for the 90's kids!
Erin Brockovich (2000)
Erin Brockovich is a biographical film set in 1993. Erin is injured in a car accident, loses her job and persuades her lawyer to let her work under him in his office. Erin stumbles across a case in her work regarding a company, Pacific Gas & Electric, which is using contaminated water and giving it to patients.
Erin Brockovich is an uplifting true story about the underdog giving the big nasty corporation its comeuppance, and making a better life for herself and her children. A classic!
Happy Feet (2006)
Apart from just being cute and entertaining, Happy Feet broadcasts one major environmental issue. The main character, Mumble, is forced into a different world due to his inability to sing. It combines the human rights movement with human approaches to ecology: penguins will starve if humans continue to over-fish and pollute the ocean. Mumble is banished because the penguin community believe the fish shortage is his fault, and when leaving his colony, Mumble realizes there is a large Catepillar earth mover that may be the source of the shortage.
It's a cutsie kind of movie, but its great entertainment for the kids (if I'm honest, I don't have kids and I love it). The cast is awesome too.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
I am natural-disaster-movie OBSESSED. For some reason I'm fascinated by how creative film makers get with the notion of global warming. In truth, this movie is a terrifying exaggeration (I hope) of what global warming could do to us. Paleo-climatologist Jack Hall presents his findings on melting polar ice caps in a UN global warming conference in New Delhi but fails to convince the diplomats of his findings. What follows is an accelerated series of severe weather anomalies that launch Earth into a modern ice-age.
The film follows Jack Hall and his son Sam Hall, and gracefully imparts the harrowing notion that mother earth is ever-powerful and will correct herself of carbon pollution however necessary. I think I watch this movie on average every two months, and I almost know every line, but the best message comes in the final line spoken in the film. I won't give it away. Just watch it.
A lot like The Day After Tomorrow, Interstellar has a pretty bleak view on the way things might be headed in terms of global warming and pollution. This film is a cautionary tale about the way humankind is headed when we use up our natural resources. A group of engineers, pilots and scientists leave earth indefinitely to search or a new habitable planet for humans to continue their race. Apart from the amazing music and incredible visual concept for a black-hole, the overarching theme remains: what is the worst case scenario if we don't start caring for our climate? If you don't feel like a tear-jerker, I suggest steering clear of this one. If you're okay with a bit of a cry, this movie is the best.
Reminiscent of Fern-Gully, Avatar is set on Pandora, a planet 6 light-years away from Earth. It's the year 2154 and humans have depleted Earth's natural resources leading to a severe energy crisis. Humans have travelled to Pandora to mine its most valuable mineral, Unobtanium. It is inhabited by the Na'vi, 10-foot tall, blue-skinned sapient humanoids. Humans engineer Na'Vi-human hybrids to explore the biosphere, and Jake Sully is thrown into the Avatar program due to the death of his twin brother.
Avatar follows Jake Sully's journey in learning the Na'Vi's culture and lifestyle, the developing love story between him and Neytiri and his internal struggle between doing his duty to humankind and doing what is right for the planet of Pandora. Avatar subtly mirrors the damage done to Earth through mass mining and deforestation.
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (2009)
Teg Wiggins is an idealistic 12-year-old boy who will do just about anything to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. He lives in "Thneedville", a walled city where everything is artificial and plastic. Ted ventures outside of the walls to find the mythical tree and meets Ocnce-ler in the contaminated wasteland outside. Once-ler tells Ted about the trees over multiple visits. This story is at the top of my list, because literally every time I watch it I cry – and I'm a crier in movies. Dr. Seuss perfectly imparts the main point of the film:
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”- - The Lorax