In 2006, one of my favorite films at SIFF
was Who Killed the Electric Car?
Directed by Chris Paine, it was an expose presented like a murder mystery, about the rise and eventual demolition of the EV1 electric car.
The audience laughed (and sometimes cried) at what was put before them, then were encouraged to act when they left the theater. To write to the government. To boycott GM. To get mad as hell.
And something worked.
As if by magic (er, American auto industry collapse), one of the most staunch supporters of the old school—Bob Lutz of GM—changed his mind and became an advocate for the creation and revival of electric cars.
So, Paine brought the band back together and created this follow-up documentary, Revenge of the Electric Car, to bring everyone up to speed (no pun intended) on what has transpired in the past five years.
The update is (thankfully) good news about the progress electric car creators are making, and a look at how happy all of the consumers are with the finished vehicles.
Like the first film, there are celebrity appearances—Danny DeVito, Jon Favreau, The Governator—though Lutz is by far the most interesting person on screen. But unlike the first film, there is nothing here that holds everything together.
Sure, the topic (and political slant) is consistent, but what's missing is the fun gimmick of the 'murder mystery' in the first.
Of course that same theme wouldn't work well here, but going for a different, humorous theme may have kept the pace a bit more agreeable.
Basically, if you have interest in electric cars, you're sure to smile a lot throughout; but if you're going to the film simply to be entertained and enlightened, you may instead find yourself checking your watch.
Sometimes sequels just don't deliver.
Labels: 2011, Cinebanter, documentary, Revenge of the Electric Car, Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF