Review: ‘Time to Choose’ Is Smart But Stiff
Academy Award winning director of ‘Inside Job’ Charles Ferguson stimulates thought on the perils and possible cures to climate change, but fails to let the subject breathe long enough to give the audience ‘Time to Choose.’
As long as environmentally un-inclined industries and their purchased politicians lay waste to the planet in a reckless mad-grab for resources, climate change documentaries such as ’Time To Choose’ will have an audience to inspire. Unfortunately while informative and somewhat thought provoking, the film is a bit long-winded and ultimately fails to find a comfortable balance between academics and entertainment.
Cinematics (Cinematography, Plot, Acting, Etc.) – 3.5
‘Time to Choose’ is well-researched, there is no doubt about that. As a former academic, director and co-writer Charles Ferguson packs in an onslaught of examples and solutions for his statement about climate change. The scenes are woven together well-enough, but doesn’t really do much to push the envelope in terms of creativity. The documentary sticks to a standard model, mostly comprised of expert interview segments melded with clippings from other news stories, stock footage, and so forth. While ‘Time to Choose’ is definitley robust in information, it seriously suffers in the area of entertainment and fails to fully engage the audience.
Actor Oscar Isaac (‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’) lends his voice to the project as the film’s narrator. Typically I hold Isaac in VERY high regard. His phenomenal performances in films like ‘Ex Machina’ make Isaac a highly-watchable face in the emerging top-tier of young Hollywood, but this narration was not one of his best performances. His hyper-serious and bordering on somber tone does very little to modulate the audiences about the, at times, already hyper-serious subject matter. Overall, the narration felt very flat and without any emotional contour to really engage the audience.
Entertainment Value – 3
This commentary on climate change paints a grim picture of a global crisis, an industry driven world stressing the limits of the planet with little concern for the repercussions. The pitfall is that ‘Time to Choose’ comes across more as a lecture than a documentary, and for that reason it is not as stimulating as Ferguson’s previous works. While ‘Time to Choose’ has noble intentions and breadth of knowledge to share, it’s at times far too pedantic to hold attention. There are, however, some amazing aerial photography sequences and other ‘Planet Earth’ type moments that do serve as eye candy.
Re-Watchability – 2.5
I can see myself using ‘Time to Choose,’ in bits and pieces, as a supplement to a personal argument on climate change, or for a “did you ever hear about this?” moment. I could even see students using this as a perspective piece on the still-controversial global subject matter. As for watching the full 140 minutes again, I think I’ll pass. I am an avid fan of documentaries, and highly recommend them often, but this will not be one of them.
Watch the official trailer for ‘Time To Choose’ below:
- Entertainment Value
'Time to Choose' is smart, but ultimately a bit too pedantic to be engaging. It takes up a noble cause, and definitely does have a fair share of enlightening moments. As for watching the full 140 minutes again, I think I'll pass. 'Time to Choose' is good at best.
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