Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film) writes, directs and stars in this documentary exploring his hopes and dreams for his daughter Velvet’s generation. What Gameau gets at – as he takes us through the planet’s trouble hosting humans and the efforts people are making to save our struggling environment – is that maybe they aren’t just hopes and dreams after all.
Gameau frets over the planet he is leaving to his daughter and her peers. The film opens with a short, incisive briefing on the climate crisis and why it poses such an existential threat to humanity. From there, rather than wallow in the ensuing tragedy – or blindly espouse technological solutions that don’t exist or are unworkable – Gameau wants us to learn achievable ways to create environmentally sustainable societies by 2040.
2040 is an inspiring, uplifting documentary, occupying a sweet spot between overexcited hopefulness and grounded realism. A series of whistle-stops introduce us to simple, ingenious methods and inventions that are in the formative stages of their development, with the potential to be adopted worldwide for the benefit of the environment.
The mash-up of interviews, narration and imaginative flash-forwards builds a clear image of the future Gameau foresees. Ambitious forays into the future using visual effects are impressive and approach believability – even if some of the running jokes about how cringe-inducing a dad Gameau is going to be are, well, cringe-inducing. Another quirky graphics technique is to have the author Tony Seba enter into scenes as a miniature figure. Seba appears a few inches tall in these moments; it’s not clear why this is done.
It may be odd, but this is all in keeping with the film’s approach. These are big ideas being made digestible for a wide audience. Why not throw in some weird dad jokes and quirky CGI to keep the audience engaged? It works – 2040 is engaging, entertaining, informative and essential viewing.
2040 is released nationwide on 15th November 2019.
Watch the trailer for 2040 here: