Global Warming in the study with a candlestick
Coral Reef Adventure (2003): 3 out of 10: Do you like pretty pictures? Do you hate Global Warming (boo hiss)? Do you like the music of Crosby, Stills, and Nash? Let me repeat that last question again because this is very, very important… Do you like Crosby, Stills, and Nash music? Even if it is remixed and sung by starving children to a Peter Gabriel back-up band? Then you might enjoy Global Reef Adventure. Everyone else above 12 should check their eyeballs before watching, as rolling them this much could cause permanent damage.
This is the story of a husband and wife team who investigate the death of a village’s reef in Fiji. It turns out the villain was… Hold on before I give away the big surprise. Let me explain a few things. My girlfriend and I had just finished watching John Hurt in Michael Radford’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and I put this documentary on because I thought a nice short colorful coral reef film might be nice after such a grey depressing movie. (Plus a piece of coral was a feature object in the former drab film so I was going for a subtle synergy).
Little did I know I was putting on a piece of propaganda so heavy-handed that Big Brother himself would have blushed. Look, no matter how you feel about global warming, the villain in this piece was those nice Fijians who were logging and overfishing and killed their own damn reef. The movie shows this and then completely ignores its findings to declare global warming the boogeyman (though in this particular case it was innocent. As local reefs, not near the giant silt runoff and not in the fishing grounds, were thriving.) But the Fijians can’t be guilty of course, cause they look so cute in their Sunday best and they have quite a haunting rendition of Marrakesh Express. Such propaganda, no matter how well-intentioned, needs to be called to the carpet. In particular, when it is aimed towards children.
The film has other faults. It is overproduced by half with wipes and sound effects that look like they belong in a Disney DuckTales movie. Top-billed Liam Neeson narrates for all of a minute and top-billed Jean-Michel Cousteau appears for about as long.
It probably isn’t that bad a film with the mute on. For one thing, you would miss the appeal at the end to support politicians who hate global warming (boo hiss). Apparently, 2 plus 2 does sometimes equal 5.