The age of “is this a documentary I’m watching or fiction or…both?” has slowly crept up on us in past years. I’m not just referring to stuff like The Office which his shot like a documentary, but also about documentaries that are either disguising themselves as a feature films or blending a bit of scripted “reality” into the mix to liven things up. In the case of The Age of Stupid it’s full of interviews with real people, but it’s told from the year 2055 where Earth is devastated. Granted this could be seen as a scare tactic by some, but for the majority it’s going to be a kind of scary look into what we’re inevitably headed towards unless things change.
The year is 2055. The Earth is devastated. One man (Oscar® nominee Pete Postlethwaite, The Usual Suspects, Clash of the Titans) remains in “The Global Archive,” a vast storage facility protecting all of humanity’s collective achievements. Based on mainstream scientific projections from the present day, THE AGE OF STUPID focuses on the archivist as he tries to work out why we didn’t save ourselves while we still had the chance. He flips through a startling array of news clips, interviews and scientific reports from our current time, each its own warning sign of the destruction that is looming if we don’t change our current consumption practices. From the director of McLibel and the producer of the Academy Award®-winning One Day in September, the fresh, fast-paced and often hilarious THE AGE OF STUPID continues to break all the rules of independent film distribution—including smashing the world record for the largest live film event when its global premiere reached over a million viewers in 63 countries.
There’s a quote on the box from the Los Angeles Times that says “Think ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ but with a personality” and it really couldn’t be any more apt than that. It’s the same essential environmental Armageddon documentary that we’ve gotten several of over the years, but this kind of makes it a bit more “realistic” somehow by actually portraying the year 2055 as a year that a devastated Earth would truly exist. Combined with Pete Postlethwaite as our “guide” through all of this, the documentary manages to be simultaneously tongue in cheek as well as deadly serious, which is an odd combination for something with such serious subject matter.
Truth be told the ninety minute film isn’t nearly as impressive as the rest of the content on this DVD set, but it is a nice little documentary regardless. There’s really not much to say about this film other than it’s another depressing look at how little we’re doing to avert this inevitable future, but at the same time it kind of fills you with hope that if we produce enough of these documentaries something major will happen…who knows. All I know is the shot of a bicycle with “Not Stupid” plastered on it and a shot of a Hummer with “Stupid” stamped on it is a great way to sell this disc (unless you own a Hummer, at least).
Overall a Recommended documentary.
The two-disc set arrives in environmentally friendly packaging and…well, that’s all there is to say about that, I suppose. It’s a really nice bit of fold out packaging that smells oddly like puzzle pieces and continues the documentaries slight quirky-ness throughout it. Menus are simple and easy to navigate and everything about the video and audio of the set looks generally good, with the occasional news clip/interview looking only slightly off. The audio is a DD5.1 track but it’s really not something you notice.
Extras, however, are something you notice here as there are over five hours of them. There’s a lot here to list as the DVD menus seem to go on forever (there is two discs of this stuff after all). I’ll just stick to the official “blurb” of the extras to condense it all: 50-minute Making-Of Documentary; Pete Postlethwaite Ambushing the UK’s Minister for Climate Change; 8 Deleted Scenes; 8 Extended Interviews; 8 Short Climate Films; Crew Commentary; Trailers; Right to Reply from Alvin, Fernand and Piers; Launch of the 10:10 Campaign….and more!
And there is more…a lot more and I have to say the extras were just as great to watch as the film itself was, even if it did seem like I was never going to finish the set. Overall this is another Highly Recommended disc from docuramafilms and definitely one that you can easily pass onto others once you’re done watching it.
The Age of Stupid arrives on DVD on August 24th.