Concerned about his young daughter's future, filmmaker Damon Gameau travels the world in search of new approaches and solutions to global warming.
2040 almost comes across like an apology to the next generation. Introducing and reminding the viewers of the many issues with the quality of life on Earth; issues that have passed the tipping point (thanks to economic greed), that need to be reversed in the short term to avoid the destruction of the human race. Our host Damon Gameau directs his documentary towards his four-year-old daughter, with the intention of inspiring the current generation in power to make changes that benefit their children, rather than themselves.
What is refreshing about 2040 is the overall positivity that Gameau consistently brings to each scene. Providing a solutions-based direction, Gameau is not aiming to scaremonger, instead, aiming to prove the social, economic, and environmental advantages to changing the status quo, focusing not on dreams and perfect world scenarios, but on technology and innovations that already exist.
Splitting the documentary into six sections, Gameau discusses the specific areas of energy, transport, agriculture, oceans, education, and female empowerment, explaining the problems, providing a solution that exists already, but also going on to ensure the audience understands the barriers that are in place. There is a reason why electricity is not currently 100% renewable, why solutions are not being used globally, and it comes down to the greed of those in power.
Above all else, Gameau keeps the documentary focused on a positive outlook, using interviews with children around the world to remind adults of what the concerns and dreams of the next generation are.
2040 does well to keep everything to a manageable scale, sticking to only one main solution per area of interest, and using computer-generated images, real footage, interviews, and analogies to keep the information as accessible as possible. It is all explained and shown in a way that a child could understand and looks not only at top-down approaches but bottom-up grassroots campaigns too.
The pacing can come across as a bit slow, and the constant switching between 2019 and the theoretical 2040 projections felt unnecessary. It may have been better off providing one big combined projection at the conclusion. Some of the solutions that are discussed are widely known and have been demonstrated in other documentaries (self-driving cars, and solar power, for example) but there are definitely some details and technologies that will be of interest (the agricultural and oceanic areas were the most inspiring).
A refreshing pace from the doom-and-gloom, that is often attributed to environmental documentaries, and--hopefully--a film that will inspire and motivate change and regeneration in an antiquated system that only benefits the top 1%.
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"There's more to a person than the things they have done"
from 'Eastenders' TV show.