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DVD Review: Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie

August 16, 2011

Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie – An eOne FIlms’ Release

DVD Release Date: August 16th, 2011

Rated PG for mature themes

Running time: 93 minutes

Sturla Gunnarsson (dir.)

David Suzuki as Himself

Our reviews below:

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Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie DVD Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

In honour of his 75th birthday, David Suzuki delivered a last lecture of sorts in British Columbia.  Force of Nature starts with him looking back on his humble beginnings facing racism in Canada because of his Japanese heritage, as he comes to reflect on his own influential work as a brilliant scientist and leaves the audience with a vision of where he hopes we’ll be in the future.

Directed by Sturla Gunnarsson, Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie is an interesting and ultimately moving look at the life of an inspirational man, filled with fascinating ideas on where we place in the universe.  The quietly philosophical wisdom that David Suzuki shares here is often unforgettable.

The DVD includes a feautrette on the Suzuki foundation, as well as excerpts from his Legacy Lecture.

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Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie DVD Review by Erin V.  

*** (out of 4)

Force of Nature is the filming of a sort of ‘last lecture’ that David Suzuki gave in honour of his 75th birthday.  Combining the lecture with doc footage telling the story of his life, this is an interesting film that gives us a further insight into his perspective.  It’s not overwhelming to sit through, rather keeping a contemplative pace.  Quietly giving us much to think about – while still remaining positive towards what future generations can accomplish with the right mindset – this is a worthwhile documentary to check out, especially for fans of the CBC show The Nature of Things.

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Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie is a beautifully philosophical documentary on life and our place in the universe.  Suzuki reflects on his own life, from the racism he faced as a Japanese Canadian, to his research on fruit flies and, most of all, his love and reverence for the natural world.  He talks about his family, from his first wife to current family, right up to his adorable newest grandson.

David Suzuki also reflects on how every breath we take has been shared by every person before, and how that same air will be shared again.  He reflects on how, as a relatively young species, humans have so much potential.  If only we took care of the natural world.  Humans have recently become greedy, obsessed with man-made things such as money.  He tells us that if we all remember we are a part of creation, then the world will be a better place.

While slow-paced at 93 minutes, Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie doesn’t seem to drag.  I would definitely recommend the film to schools as well as those interested in environmental conservation, ecotheology or philosophy.

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Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

I’ve always admired David Suzuki, watching and learning from him off and on for years, through shows like CBC’s The Nature of Things.  In Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie, we are given a touching personal glimpse into the life events that shaped the man who is known around the world as a respected Canadian scientist, educator and environmental activist.

In the documentary, Suzuki delivers his legacy lecture, a last lecture of sorts for him to share his thoughts on humanity and the natural world as well as his hopes for the future of both.  The film also shows historical footage of life moments for Suzuki, including internment of Canadian-Japanese and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, his visit to Japan many years later, his work and personal relationship with the Haida nation beginning with their fight to stop logging efforts n their land.  It’s really nice seeing David Suzuki holding his infant grandson who is half Haida.

This documentary, though somewhat slow-moving at times, is so full of thought-provoking ideas and gentle wisdom that it is worth sitting back, enjoying the scenery and making an effort to really listen to what this brilliant and articulate Canadian has to say.  Force of Nature is a must see for David Suzuki fans and would make for interesting viewing in Canadian classrooms.

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Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie includes a “last lecture” interspersed with a guided tour of scenes from Suzuki’s life and career, sharing the lessons he has learned.

Born in 1936, Suzuki’s childhood was disrupted by his family’s internment into the BC interior. As a Sansei (grandchild of Japanese immigrants) well assimilated in the city, he found himself bullied in the camps by Nisei (children of immigrants) because he didn’t speak Japanese. When his family was moved on to southwestern Ontario his maternal grandparents were deported to Hiroshima where they perished. With no Asian girls around and no hope of dating white girls, David found joy exploring the wildlife in a swamp (now a mall), which led to his studies in biology.

His first career at Oak Ridge TN where he began his famous work on fruit fly genetics was very satisfying but with a Japanese-American wife and kids he couldn’t stomach the segregation of the early 1960s. He gladly accepted a position at UBC but his early around the clock commitment to research ended his marriage. Back in the day with his iconic hippie image (long hair, headband, beard and casual dress among the faculty suits) he became well-known beyond the campus as a good communicator of science to the public, first on CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks and then on CBC Television’s The Nature of Things. His environmental concerns helped in the campaign to curtail logging on Haida Gwaii. Severn Cullis-Suzuki, one of two daughters by a second marriage to Dr. Tara Cullis, has since married into the Haida Nation and we see her son in the arms of his proud grandfather.

Backed by projected images, the lecture itself is vintage Suzuki. Using bacteria as an analogy for exponential growth, he points out how close humanity is to overrunning the Earth. Human mythologies and modern laws of economics can not override the laws of nature. Our interconnectedness with nature, chemically and otherwise, is a valuable lesson that traditional cultures have always known.

Though I generally agree with him, I know that Suzuki is not taken seriously enough by the rich and powerful, and it is obvious that he was preaching here to the choir. Unfortunately, preaching alone quickly puts me to sleep, so it is to director Sturla Gunnarsson’s credit that the alternating lecture and documentary format held my interest over most of the film’s 90 minutes. This film should have a wide audience but I don’t see how.

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Consensus: Filled with quietly philosophical wisdom on where we place in the universe and what we can do to better our future, Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie is an interesting look at the life of a very inspirational subject.  *** (Out of 4)

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