Uncool – Climate Skeptic’s Documentary Flops

  • Published on November 15th, 2010

It was supposed to be the middle-of-the-road answer to the “global warming sensationalism” of Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth”.

But “Skeptical Environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg’s un-scary climate change documentary, “Cool It”, appears to be anything but sensational. It opened this weekend to the rousing reception of a tree falling in the forest with nobody there. It took in a frigid $26,847 at the box office –  $655 average per theater.

Gore’s film, in contrast, opened with $281,330 (on just four screens!), and went on to take in nearly $50 million worldwide on its way to a “Best Documentary” Oscar win.

(For background on Lomborg and the documentary, read our article from Friday, ” ‘Cool It’Documentary – Sensible Take on Global Warming, or Nonsense?”)

How did it make out with the critics?

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinal:

There’s plenty of room for debate within the broad scientific discussion of global climate change. The question raised by the new documentary “Cool It” is whether Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg deserves a place in that debate.

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune:

It’s soothing when a film suggests that there are neat, simple solutions to vastly complex problems. But it’s probably wrong.

Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter:

The economics of climate change policy get a thorough dissection in “Cool It,” from two-time Sundance grand jury doc winner Ondi Timoner. Polemical in tone, wide-ranging in scope and persuasive to a degree, the film seems unlikely to find as many fans as either of her more engaging titles (“Dig!,” “We Live in Public”), but may attract modest art house interest — although cable and DVD likely offer broader audiences.

Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times:

Blond, boyish and with an irrepressible faith in human adaptability, Mr. Lomborg is the anti-Gore.

Matt Pais, Metromix.com:

A scattered narrative that occasionally feels like Grumpy Old Men: Science Edition.

Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post:

With the charismatic, articulate (and, yes, kind of hunky) Lomborg in front of the camera for much of the film – along with a parade of scientists who support his views – “Cool It” makes a convincing case that there are better things we can do than drive a Prius. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, he says; it’s just not going to solve much.

Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Inquirer:

Cool It offers no new insights into the internecine debates in enviro-policy.

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle:

It’s hard, too, to shake the sense that Lomborg is promoting more than just a different perspective on climate debate. He’s promoting his book — and himself.

More background:

About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.


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