Metamorphosis (2018)

Most rational-thinking people are aware that humans have had a dramatic impact on the environment – and most of it hasn’t been good. We’ve caused a lot of problems and used up a lot of resources. We’ve had several movies about the subject, many of which hope to spur action in the audience. The most well-known is probably An Inconvenient Truth, which played out largely like a lecture about the subject. It’s dry. Important, sure, but dry.

On the other end of the spectrum is Metamorphosis, which has some facts and opinions, but plays out more artistically than most of its contemporaries. It tells stories through narration that plays out over wonderful visuals, shows both the bleak side to climate change and offers several moments of hope and inspiration, and while it goes over some well-worn ground, it is never dull thanks to the filmmaking on display.

The film is, essentially, split into two halves. The first deals with the environmental impact that humans have had, while the second offers some solutions. Along the way, we’re treated to some psychological and ethereal reasoning, too. Its central metaphor is that of the monarch butterfly, a resilient creature that evolves from a larva and in its final form has to travel thousands of miles. The idea here is that humans are still the larva, and in order to allow the planet to return to much of its former glory, we’re going to need to evolve and change our ways, much like how nature is constantly evolving.

It’s nice to see one of these documentaries that eschews the typical talking heads in favor of a poetic and enlightening visual journey. Metamorphosis‘s message becomes a touch repetitive by the end of its running time, but that’s par for the course with these sorts of things, isn’t it? “Hey, let’s maybe stop destroying and start rebuilding the planet” is a strong enough thesis to hammer home until it’s accomplished, after all. And it’s not all fearmongering, either, which is great. It offers genuine reason to be hopeful.

Metamorphosis is a visual delight with a strong message that manages to stand out from the crowd thanks to its different approach to telling the same type of story. People learn and absorb information in different ways, so movies like this are important. Forgoing the lecturing and the talking-head interviews in favor of visual storytelling with personal narration is a different approach and one that works well to accomplish the same sort of goal.

Conclusion: Metamorphosis takes a more poetic, artistic approach to the climate change documentary, and it stands out from the crowd because of it.

Recommendation: If you’re sick of the talking-head documentaries about climate change, give Metamorphosis a look.

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