Happy Earth Day, you disgusting mass of consumers! What better way to celebrate than with a round-up of the worst eco-friendly, lecturing movies? We also include a few "green" films that won't make you feel bludgeoned by a tree.
Worst Earth Day Messages In Movies, Ever
The Day After Tomorrow
Movie Message: Your polluting lifestyle has led to the melting of the polar icecaps, which disrupted the North Atlantic current. And then we're all fucked. You filthy pigs. Why can't you drive a Prius, get educated, and recycle - like disheveled scientist Dennis Quaid? Unless you are a better person and stay behind with sick kids in hospitals, you will die in a fire tornado, or an attack by frost wolves. Recycle, or at least start stockpiling goods to help you face the next ice age. Also, we should really be nicer to Mexico.
Why It's Toxic Waste In A Biodegradable Wrapper: Bottom line, the FX and idea in this movie are cool as hell. Even though the execution and actions taken by each character are exceptionally stupid, weren't you secretly wishing for the next awesome-looking ice age while watching? A massive combined flood, tornado and snow attack could easily save you from credit card debt and annoying job, and spark the chance to be the everyday hero you always knew you could be. The "save the Earth" message was completely lost in the "What would you do?" fantasizing. It leaves us saying, "Let's bomb the polar ice caps and screw with the currents now. I'm ready, I've got two crates of baked beans in my basement and footie pajamas. Let's do this."
Highest Point of Contamination: It's been said before and we're going to say it again, the frost running scene. Absolutely ridiculous.
Movie Message: We've changed the Earth's core temperature, somehow, it's not really explained. But I'm sure it's something you did, or the Mayans.
Why It's Toxic Waste In A Biodegradable Wrapper: Unlike The Day After Tomorrow, if you're not one of the lucky rich people on the magical Noah's Ark, you're screwed. So what's the point? We're all gonna die anyways. It says so in Earth's date book.
Highest Point of Contamination: The final stand off, when Chiwetel Ejiofor is pleading with Oliver Platt to open the ark doors and let the rest of the people inside the boat. Then they do and everyone almost dies. The answer is always, "Tough shit, people. If it's you or me, it's always going to be me." Plus their idiotic sympathy almost got the last bits of the human race killed.
Movie Message: Don't mess with the natives and their magic soul tree.
Why It's Toxic Waste In A Biodegradable Wrapper: Why is being a Na'vi so great anyways? The film never fully explores the depth of this culture - instead, it treats the Na'vi like such a single-minded cliche that it's hard to sympathize with them when they are exterminated by the other massive cliche in this film, Colonel Quaritch. All sympathy and emotional impact are lost when dealing with the tragedy that befalls this alien race - because we don't know much about them besides the fact that they can have sex with their hair. It's only when the film deals with individual characters like Neytiri that we really feel sympathy.
Highest Point of Contamination: The New Age chanting around the magic soul tree, with all the swaying natives and the will o'wisps.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Movie Message: Whales.
Why It's Toxic Waste In A Biodegradable Wrapper: Whales?
Highest Point of Contamination: Whales.
Movie Message: Pollution is actually caused by a singing smoke monster who sounds a lot like Tim Curry. Don't release the monster stuck in the tree, humans, or he'll cut down the rain forest.
Why It's Toxic Waste In A Biodegradable Wrapper: Look, I love Fern Gully. But it doesn't really teach you much about saving the Earth, other than trees feel pain when you cut them down. Plus Hexxus is such a bad ass, how can you not cheer for him over the old fairies and their tree house?
Highest Point of Contamination: The sexy Tim Curry contamination Hexxus singing about "Toxic Love," it's a dirty/awesome scene.
Movie Message: If you over fish the waters/pollute them you are killing off adorable penguins, whom we only love because they can dance, and sing.
Why It's Toxic Waste In A Biodegradable Wrapper:Animals are awesome because they can do tricks for us. Ugly animals who can't dance are so screwed.
Highest Point of Contamination: When people send the main character penguin back to his homeland after it's discovered he can dance. Never in a million years would this happen. That poor thing would be electrocuted and put on the stage to dance for the masses at $100 a pop, until he died of exhaustion.
Movie Message: You are a fat, disgusting, lazy slob. And you're going to ruin everything. Consumerism is eeeeevil, but please buy tickets to our movie, popcorn, candy, soda, a Wall-E plushie, Wall-E t-shirts and anything else we can quickly manufacture and slap a price tag on.
Why It's Toxic Waste In A Biodegradable Wrapper: It's really not, it's a great film, it's that the message about us being lazy polluters is a little ham-fisted.
Highest Point of Contamination: The tidal wave of cartilage-based nubbin flesh fatties in the very end. Little much, Pixar. But I still think this is a great movie. Plus they really thought out how the human species would slowly dissolve into floating consumer blobs who will do whatever they are told.
Movie Message: The plants are going to kill you because you are killing them, in a group, angry at your possibly unfaithful wife, or any other reason that M. Night Shyamalan can think of to make his characters kill themselves in laughably hysterical manners. Let's not forget the lion death sequence.
Why It's Toxic Waste In A Biodegradable Wrapper: Besides the fact that Mark Wahlberg is such a ludicrous actor that any response he has to anything overturns the seriousness of the "subject matter." The subject matter itself makes absolutely no sense. We really don't know why the plants are killing humans, or when plants suddenly decided to grow the ability to discern different human emotions. Then the main characters have to run away from the wind - the wind! The whole movie is a confusing pile of garbage.
Highest Point of Contamination: Everything. Every single moment in this movie is tainted. Here's a collection of some of the low points from this film.
Earth Day-esque Movies We Recommend:
Night of the Lepus and Black Sheep
Experimenting on animals is wrong. Especially when that means you could turn into a blood thirsty half sheep, half human monster. Learn why we must respect animals and their natural habitat the right way. By watching animals mutate into killing machines with sharp pointy fangs.
The Planet of The Apes
Nuclear War is bad, unless that means the apes get to take over and you get a hot bikini model bride, then it's pretty win-win for everyone, if you can survive the fall out. But in all honesty, nothing tops the big reveal at the end of the original Apes. Plus, not only does it make you want to be nicer to our simian brothers, but it makes you think twice about pushing the big red button. You can't hug with nuclear arms, you guys.
Besides the fact that Hayao Miyazaki's Princess kicks so much ass, her friendly forest pals are the things sweet acid dreams are made of. This film doesn't take deforestation lightly, and it's war on the Tataraba mining company, motherfuckers. I'll be on team green if it means I get to ride a giant wolf into battle, any day.
The Toxic Avenger
In all actuality this movie makes me want to pollute, because how else am I going to bring this hilarious monster/superhero to life? But on the flip side, Toxie doesn't take kindly to polluters, so it's probably best to keep our act clean. Don't litter, kids, or the Toxic Avenger will rip your arms off.
This post originally appeared on io9 on April 22, 2010.