Cool It

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Cool It Movie Poster Image
Controversial but hopeful global warming documentary.
  • PG
  • 2010
  • 88 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Bjorn Lomborg sends a mixed message here. On the one hand, he does not employ scare tactics, as An Inconvenient Truth did, but though he does offer hope for a bright future, he doesn't really let viewers know how they can begin to help on an individual level. Moreover, though Lomborg is clearly trying to help, he is a marginalized, controversial figure, and he spends a good amount of time defending his views rather than championing them. On the plus side, the movie has lots of good ideas, and lots of people working hard to combat the climate crisis.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bjorn Lomborg is a dubious role model. He is working hard to find ways to combat global warming and the climate crisis, and part of his method is to challenge and question the current methods. This has earned him many enemies, and so he has a kind of defiant, defensive attitude. Some people -- some actually interviewed in this movie -- think he's a fraud and/or dangerous to the cause, but others think he has the correct answers. Either way, he continues to work hard to solve problems, and he continues to fight against impossible odds.

Violence

There are a few disturbing images, notably pictures of polar bears being shot.

Sex
Language

One use of the word "idiot."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the documentary is touted as a kind of anti-An Inconvenient Truth, although both films acknowledge the threat of global warming and climate crisis and both try to find solutions. Host Bjorn Lomborg, who is the author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist," debunks the scare tactics used by Al Gore's movie, and tries to find cheaper and more effective ways to go forward; unfortunately, his methods have made many enemies, and he spends a good deal of time defending himself. The movie features some strong imagery (scenes of destruction, dying polar bears). Kids of middle-school age and up that are concerned with the environment should be OK watching this.

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What's the story?

Since researching and publishing his book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" in 2001, academic Bjorn Lomborg has become active in trying to stop global warming. He has taken the controversial view that, though the crisis is real, the world is not going to end anytime soon, and that there are more practical ways to spend money on solutions. This documentary introduces us to Lomborg, defends his positions, and outlines some of his ideas. Scientists explain how some of these concepts could work in both the short- and long-term. In general, this movie debunks the scare tactics used by An Inconvenient Truth, leaving off with the hopeful notion that the crisis is treatable.

Is it any good?

Cool It is forced to deal with the controversy and opposition surrounding its host Lomborg, and it can come across as a bit defensive, causing viewers to question numbers and facts presented here. Nevertheless, regardless of the previous existence of An Inconvenient Truth, Cool It still offers a persuasive, if alternate, argument on the state of the climate crisis.

Director Ondi Timoner does not only focus on Lomborg; he interviews many scientists and thinkers, most of whom support Lomborg's ideas, but some who do not. The good news is that, unlike many issue-oriented documentaries, this one has a fairly positive attitude, and is not out to frighten viewers or make them angry. It simply wants viewers to ask some questions, and not to give up hope. However, as with any documentary -- An Inconvenient Truth included -- it's good to keep an open mind and refuse to take everything that's here at face value.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether Bjorn Lomborg is right or wrong here. Does this movie provide enough information to make an educated decision? What else do you need to know about Lomborg to better understand where he's coming from?

  • How does Cool It compare with An Inconvenient Truth? Is it less scary? Why?

  • According to this movie, what can an individual do to help combat global warming?

Movie details

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