A good documentary DVD should tell you why you are watching it and perhaps enlighten to some degree. Joshua Tickell's documentary Fuel does not do that until about halfway through but then it really gets interesting. Fuel won the 2008 Sundance Audience Award for Best Documentary and a few other such awards at other festivals. Available at Amazon
This film is a series of four or five minute capsules on oil related topics. Most of the early segments are déjà vu. We are running out of oil. Bush and Cheney were oil men so big oil had more than an ear in the White House. The war in Iraq is oil based.
Some of the early segments are interesting. Henry Ford manufactured ethanol powered cars that were quite popular in the Midwest. J.D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil sponsored Prohibition which basically made ethanol illegal and the year after Ford gave up producing ethanol powered cars Prohibition was lifted.
This Joshua Tickell documentary DVD really picks up halfway when it gets informative. One segment in particular is the Follow the Money section where Chris Sanders makes an analogy between the war in Iraq and someone robbing a gas station because they are broke. Another is the story of Rudolph Diesel whose engine ran on biofuel until he was disappeared on a boat to England and Standard Oil came out with petroleum based diesel fuel.
The segment on how European countries are cutting their dependency on oil proves it is possible. It is unfortunately cut short by a segment on Katrina, Louisiana oil companies, and global warming.
The best and not coincidentally longest segment is on the growth and sudden demise of ethanol and especially biodiesel at the turn of this century. Fuel also presents the rebirth of alternative energy from algae fuel and other sources.
The last segment on this documentary DVD looks at what the near future might hold. Tickell makes it sound more plausible than a crunchy granola tie-dyed t-shirt pipe dream though the rah rah factor is a bit high.
DVD Bonus features include: How to Get 150 MPG From Your Prius, Building A Green Bottom Line With John Paul DeJoria, How to Save Thousands Through Energy Efficiency, Sustainable BioDiesel with HeroBx, How to Make Fuel for Under $ per gallon, and Filmmaker Commentary track. (Street Date: 7/27/10 / $26.95 / 112 mins/ Documentary/Eco-Packaging )
Fuel will premiere for the first time in Canadian theaters at The Bloor Cinema in Toronto. July 2nd to 8th. Details at www.bloorcinema.com.