The Walking Dead
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No consensus yet.
All Critics (42)
| Top Critics (20)
| Fresh (29)
| Rotten (13)
Does Paine owe capitalism an apology? The market for electric cars was there, after all, and electric cars finally came along.
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.
As filmmaking goes, Paine's follow-up is a dud.
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.
The first film was charged with drama. "Revenge" is somewhat anticlimactically charged with a wall plug.
It's an important issue that can be appealing even to those without a burning passion for cars, electric or otherwise. It also has the added bonus of positivity.
But Americans, despite lecturing from documentaries such as this, just haven't shown a great interest in the unattractive but efficient electric vehicles that have been produced so far.
It's a slick and reassuring follow-up, if a naggingly superficial one...
It's an unexciting story, told in an excited manner...
A surprisingly optimistic progress report.
Following up his 2006's Who Killed The Electric Car, film-maker Chris Paine has a more difficult task here.
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.
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