2040 – Documentary Film Review


A Wonderfully Optimistic Look At Our Future

What will the world look like in 2040? With the constant onslaught of negative media coverage, social media dominance and doom encapsulating the entire planet you’d be forgiven for thinking 2040 is another fear-inducing ride into the darkest depths of despair. Narrated by Damon Gameau (who also writes and stars in this feature)2040 is a refreshingly ambitious, optimistic look at the future and how we can adopt some very innovative technologies right now to stop the rate of global warming.

The documentary begins with a look at our current climate – both environmentally and socially – before diving deep into the heart of the problems gripping our planet. From renewable energy sources interconnected through a hive-like system to recyclable food waste and driverless cars, Damon enthusiastically guides us through the different technologies we have at our disposal and how these could transform our very planet if we adopted them now. There’s a simple, breezy tone to a lot of this that makes things very easy to understand and while some may feel this borders on the line of patronizing or preachy, given the target audience is clearly as many people as possible (including kids), it’s easy to look past this.

Acting as an ode to his daughter for when she turns 21 in 2040, the documentary combines a simple and effective message of hope for the future with several interesting stylistic techniques to keep things engaging and accessible throughout. Expect plenty of talking head segments with kids, miniature versions of characters talking atop wind turbines and a nice combination of stop motion and visual effects to get the message across. This constantly evolving visual design really helps sell the ideas being presented and the ease in which Damon talks really reinforces just how simple and effective this could be to implement.

Of course, given the optimistic tone the documentary does deliberately leave out some of the trickier elements to these measures being adopted. Attitudes to change and apathy toward our climate, especially from a mass public that doubts the validity of global warming to begin with, is a big hurdle. Alongside that are the various big money men and capitalistic leaders that profit from fossil fuels continuing to be used who certainly won’t take kindly to losing some of this precious revenue stream. Given the collective, global effort it would take to reverse our fortunes in the coming years, a lot of these ideas do face substantial hurdles and obstacles to overcome that perhaps aren’t so easy to solve.

Having said that though, 2040 is a really engaging and interesting documentary and the light bites of humour are a lovely touch to keep things optimistic and uplifting. It’s actually really refreshing to watch a documentary film like this and there’s a lot here to get you thinking about where the future will go if and when these big events start to escalate and become more dangerous than they already are. Given we have the technology and the resources to change our fates, will humanity come together as a collective and solve these problems? Or are we destined to be the catalyst for our own downfall? Only time will tell but in the meantime, 2040 is a wonderful pick-me-up that’s well worth a watch.


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  • Verdict - 8.5/10

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