By making environmentalism fun, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Captain Planet could succeed where Barrack Obama and Pope Francis have failed.
Leonardo DiCaprio is producing a remake of nostalgia-tastic 90s cartoon Captain Planet. But can Leonardo take pollution down to zero?
Hollywood loves bringing back old shows. From the Avengers to Spiderman to The Incredible Hulk to Westworld, we thirty-plusers have been treated to a ton of nostalgia-laden remakes.
But Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t care as much about nostalgia as he cares about environmentalism. Unlike many Hollywood producers, he’s not interested in financial returns. And he’s not particularly bothered about bringing back a 90s cartoon, either. Leonardo DiCaprio has one passion. It’s the passion to make we humans an environmentally friendly bunch. It’s the desire to save the world from climate change.
And he’s using Captain Planet for this?
Yeah. Captain Planet, “He’s our hero. Gonn take pollution down to zero.”
Weird thing is, when I watched Captain Planet I wasn’t thinking about recycling. I was just thinking how cool it would be to be Captain Planet and fly. I sat there in my pajamas eating a ton of sour-candy-keys. And not for one second did I really think to myself “I’m going to put my rubbish in the bin to save the planet.”
Which brings me to the point. How, precisely, can a 90s cartoon influence people to be more environmentally friendly? And why Captain Planet? Why not just make a brand new intellectual property, with a new premise, new story, etc…?
Or hey, why not create a serious movie about a serious problem?
Well, actually, Leo just did that. It’s called Before The Flood and it just came out. But you might not have heard of it unless you’re either a serious Leonardo DiCaprio fan of a movie buff.
You wouldn’t have heard of it because it’s just not that good.
Like Captain Planet, Before The Flood is all about environmentalism. Thing is, it’s not a cartoon. Far from it. It’s a devoutly “serious” movie. In it, Leo interviews Barrack Obama, Pope Francis and other world leaders. And he asks them serious, scientific, political, or religious questions about climate change.
Problem is, no one actually gives a crap about Before The Flood. It’s currently averaging reviews of 50%. That’s lame, especially by Leonardo DiCaprio’s standards.
What’s wrong with Before The Flood? Roger Ebert says, “Much of the movie becomes a wash of sentiments that range from “Oh, OK” or “Yeah, noted.”
Sounds familiar. Sounds like all those other movies that feed you full of “important information” about a “serious subject matter” than you ummm and ahhhh through and then do nothing about.
Simple truth: people hate being preached to.
Before The Flood proves that when somebody stands above you preaching from a pedestal, you’ll turn the other way. Thanks to reviews from Before The Flood, Leo has learned that the super-serious preachy way does not get the job done. It just turns people off.
Now, Leonardo DiCaprio is turning to a more fun, enjoyable theme. A 1990s kids cartoon. Can’t get any less serious than that. But the thing is, it very well could work.
Because unlike the Pope and Barack Obama—people who demand “respect” and “attention” and other unpleasantness—Captain Planet just says, “Let’s go on a fun journey together”.
And that’s what people need. They need an emotional connection. They won’t ever care about moral loftiness. They want fun and adventure.
If Leonardo DiCaprio wants to get people to care about the environment, he’s going to have to make it fun. That’s what Captain Planet can do.
By making environmentalism fun, Captain Planet can succeed where Barrack Obama and Pope Francis have failed. He can genuinely inspire people to want to be environmentally friendly. Not by preaching. By making it enjoyable.