New York Times movie critic Stephen Holden found "The Age of Stupid," a new mock-documentary looking back at a future environmental apocalypse, is a "frightening jeremiad about the effects of climate change." Coming from the left-wing critic Holden, that's high praise.
In "The Age of Stupid," a frightening jeremiad about the effects of climate change, the craggy-faced British actor Pete Postlethwaite plays the Archivist, a finger-pointing, futuristic voice of doom in 2055. Peering into a retrospective crystal ball that shows scenes from the early 21st century, he scolds the human race for having committed suicide.
The curator of the Global Archive, a storage site of human knowledge in what is now a melted Arctic, the Archivist presses a rewind button on a touch screen to show documentary scenes related to climate change that were shot when there was still time for humanity to save itself. At the end of "The Age of Stupid," which uses crude animation that depicts London underwater, Sydney burning and Las Vegas buried in sand, the Archive is sent into space.
A much sterner and more alarming polemic than "An Inconvenient Truth," "The Age of Stupid," directed by Franny Armstrong, will be taken by some as an emergency wake-up call to do everything possible to avert impending catastrophe. In the film Mark Lynas, the British environmental activist and author of "Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet," warns of a tipping point around 2015 if the world doesn't immediately act to reduce carbon emissions. Once global temperatures warm more than two degrees, he says, all will be lost.
A two degree rise in temperature will doom the planet? The planet has been hotter than that in the past, and humans still walk the earth. Yet Holden embraced the hysterical idea without question. Holden likes left-wing screedy documentaries, but not movies with conservative themes, such as "The Stoning of Soraya M.," about the subjugation of women in Islamic countries. (Holden dismissed it as "lurid-torture porn.")Holden concluded by suggesting, only half-facetiously, that if humanity doesn't make wrenching lifestyle changes to combat (hypothetical) temperature rises, perhaps we don't deserve to live anyway:
A thread of needling gallows humor runs through "The Age of Stupid." Near the end of the film the Archivist wonders: "Why didn't we save ourselves? Was the answer that we weren't sure we were worth saving?" He may have a point.