Revenge of the Electric Car (2011)
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Critic Reviews for Revenge of the Electric Car
The techie stuff is light and the mood mostly optimistic, which makes for a slightly bland experience.
"Revenge of the Electric Car" lacks the urgency of "Who Killed the Electric Car?" But Paine's thorough knowledge of his subject, and engaging way with an interview, make the follow-up film a fun ride.
If you thought you'd never mist up at a nonfiction movie about plug-in autos, you're in for a surprise. This is a surprisingly emotional trip, and a very enjoyable one.
Once a muckraker, Paine now acts mostly as a cheerleader, and his slick new movie trades heavily in the sort of flattering CEO profiles that grace the covers of business magazines.
Audience Reviews for Revenge of the Electric Car
While not having the blood, gore or mayhem one usually associates with a movie with 'revenge' in the title, "Revenge of the Electric Car" is still an astute, if flashy, documentary about the reemergence of the electric car after being unceremoniously trashed only a few years previously. The new developers include Nissan/Renault, GM and upstart Tesla, led by Elon Musk who is not the inspiration for Tony Stark unless he somehow funds a working time machine in the future which I am not exactly ruling out at this stage.
The bad news is the documentary does not know what to do with the unprecedented access it has been given to people in power, spending a lot of time on already thoroughly covered territory concerning the recent recession and almost complete failure of the American auto industry. In fact, the documentary would have fared much better if it had focused exclusively on Elon Musk, not in a scrappy underdog kind of way, but because he has more in common with a riverboat gambler with past successes that include Pay Pal and SpaceX and huge struggles in getting his Tesla off the ground which I had been curious about ever since seeing one on an early episode of "Leverage" in 2008.
Revenge of the Electric Car is a rather pedantic documentary that stretches for material. The film follows the re-emergence of electric car technology in the wake of the 2006 abandonment of the GM EV1. When the electric car appeared to have lost the fight to be the alternative energy vehicle of the future, Tesla Motors rises to prominence along with the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf. Though this film documents an interesting chapter in the quest for alternative energy vehicles, there's not enough material or distance to objectively analyze the situation. A lot of it is just PR for the car companies, which hurts the "documentary" aspect of the film. Though Revenge of the Electric Car is vastly inferior to the much more compelling original (Who Killed the Electric Car?), this follow-up film explores some interesting topics.
It feels like this documentary is attempting to piggyback on the success of Who Killed the Electric Car. It is exciting to see there is growing momentum in the car industry to make a push for electric cars. That excitement, however, does not translate into enough content to make an interesting full-length feature. There just is no meat to this, and it makes it move slowly. The subject matter is worthy, but the presentation and content are just not there. Sometimes good documentaries take years to make; this one needed to cook much longer.
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