Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy was reviewed by Variety. This is not going to be pretty.
… at least not here on Science Blogs, which was the epicenter for a Lord of the Flies like gang bang of Olson’s film by approximately half of the known reviewers from the science blogosphere. Variety liked it. In fact, they are quite positive about it.
Although I agree with much of what Variety claims, I am not totally in line with the review. For instance: Referring to the Mitch-Denialist alliance:
This is where “Sizzle” shifts into a direction that perhaps Olson didn’t intend or foresee: The skeptics actually begin to win the day, at least onscreen, and Julia Bovey, spokeswoman for the environmentalist Natural Resources Defense Council, comes off as far less convincing than Olson may have hoped.
I don’t think that this is true at all. This is like the scene near the end of Hancock where (SPOILER WARNING) the two main characters are dead. The nadir. The low point. The part where you don’t see a way out. Then they somehow get out of that fix anyway (being dead, being alined with libertarians, whatever).
Also from the review:
The film emerges, more skillfully than “Flock of Dodos,” as an exceedingly clever vehicle for making science engaging to a general audience, and also presents climate-change science in a more complex light than the overtly partisan “An Inconvenient Truth.” Olson admirably exposes himself to the counters of a potent voice like Michaels, who looks as though he could make a helluva good doc himself.
The comic undercurrent through it all is the Mitch-Brian tandem on one end, desperately searching Los Angeles for a celeb participant, and the Marion-Antwone team on the other, yielding a surprising twist with the aid of Olson’s spunky n’ funky real-life mom (memorably named Muffy Moose Olson). Finale in New Orleans is the pic’s only miscalculation: It shuts off the comedy and fails to make any scientific link between warming and hurricanes such as Katrina.
Again, I agree with most of this, but I don’t think New Orleans is a miscalculation at all. The reviewers, having not fully understood the meaning of Julia Bovey and the Mitch-Cato Institute alliance would also mis New Orleans, quite likely.
By the way, many reviewers have noted the hurricane-global warming link or non-link from this film. I want to say a word about that:
The linkage between global warming and increasing hurricane intensity or frequency, and the increased likelihood of hurricanes or tropical storms leaving the tropics, is theoretically very likely, but empirically harder to prove than idea because of the large variation that happens in hurricane activity and a lack of high quality historical data.
Olson both said that there is a likely link and that it was not proven. True. It is too bad that he could not have done more but he did all he could manage.