Friday, 1 May 2009

No. 114 : Who Killed The Electric Car?

Together with entertaining, the point of a documentary has to be informing and educating its audience. If you asked any person the question posed in the film’s title they’d no doubt reply ‘oil companies?’ - and guess what - you’d be right! As an exercise in the bleedin’ obvious the film does well, but less so when the criteria is to be enlightening and informative.

When the credits show that Martin Sheen is doing the narration and that Ed Begley Jnr. is a contributor you have a good idea where the film’s leanings lie and your instinct would be correct. It’s well enough made and it keeps its sound bites short while peppering the film with interesting facts and graphics. What is also does however is give you the sense that you’re being lectured and that the conclusions were drawn long before the first camera rolled.

The arguments presented are pretty damning with the electric car seemingly killed off despite its magical abilities. Of course the oil companies and the car manufacturers are interested in making money and it is hardly surprising that they did what they could to throw a spanner in the works. With the technology more or less proven the oil industry lost interest as they still have 30 years of supplies to flog. The car makers lose out on the lucrative servicing of the dirty gas guzzlers so they have an obvious interest in the status quo.

So that fair enough then, we are in a capitalist economy and the corporations should be free to do as they please as long as it’s legal. Not so, as this film gleefully shows with endless small groups of hippy types blockading car storage facilities and boo-hooing over the crushing of their beloved, but short range cars. All the usual suspects are trotted out with the self righteousness of some of the output strong enough to power a small nation.

There were a few interesting snippets and I was at least glad to see that technology exists that will serve us when the oil goes. For now the government is in the pocket of the oil companies and the wars in the gulf keep industry turning and the backhanders rolling in. It’s clearly not right but that’s how it is and nothing short of a revolution will stop that. Well a revolution or staging a tacky mock funeral for an ugly car at a cemetery.

The film is OK as a naive distraction but if they think anything will be changed by stating the obvious or staging cheap stunts they have to be as mental as the chap who clearly enjoys sticking more than his charger into his boxy car!

Best Bit : Mel Gibson’s beard
‘W’ Rating 11/23

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