Despite its subject matter, 'Cool It,' the latest must-see work by award-winning filmmaker Ondi Timoner (director of two of the best docs of the 2000s, 'We Live in Public' and 'Dig!'), is not just another global warming documentary. In part it's actually an answer to them, especially Davis Guggenheim's Oscar-winning 'An Inconvenient Truth.' Literally, 'Cool It' features clips of Al Gore's Power Point presentation and offers itemized responses to specific claims, including those regarding sea level change, hurricanes, malaria and polar bear extinction. Some of these answers come off as obvious as "the right way to stop polar bears from dying is to stop shooting them."
That's a solution made not by Timoner but Bjorn Lomborg, whose controversial books 'The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the State of the World' and 'Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming' are sort of the basis of the film. He appears as the primary focus of 'Cool It,' though it's not necessarily about him nor the scorn he's received from critics who think his writings and lectures are harmful to their global warming cause. To some of those scientists and activists (a number of them appear in the documentary), this might be viewed as an "anti-'Inconvenient Truth,'" as it's been labeled in certain discourse. Timoner prefers to think of her doc as a "follow-up," or the earlier film as a jumping off point.
"I'm not gunning for Al Gore or 'An Inconvenient Truth,'" the director told me in a phone interview. "I was really interested in just the opportunity to put something out there that filled the void we had, where we're not getting anything done. There is some rebuttal going on here, as in, 'let's talk about what the actual published science is.' It's not the 20 feet [sea level rise] that Al Gore said. That paints a picture and you see Florida and New York underwater and it's terrifying. And maybe that helped to wake people up, but it was definitely time for something else to be out there."