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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Running Dry
Running Dry
Ironweed Film Club // Unrated // March 1, 2009
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Ironweedfilms]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted June 16, 2009 | E-mail the Author
C O N T E N T
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The Show:

When you look at the world's most precious resources there are few which stand out as being vital to the support of life on our planet. Water pretty much tops that bill because without it, we're screwed. It's the giver of all life and the planet is covered by it, but as you're well aware there's a smaller percentage of H20 that is actually suitable for drinking. But what would happen if that water all dried up? How would the landscape change? What would happen to the plants, animals, and people who live in the region?

Put together by the Chronicles Group and released on DVD by Iron Weed, Running Dry is an 82 minute documentary that focuses on the global water crises. Narrated by Jane Seymour, the material is harrowingly truthful and will really put your position on the matter into perspective. Sure some of the documentary feels like an environmental promotional piece, but it really does make you think about how you use water on a daily basis.

This documentary starts out by talking about the problems here and now. Over 14,000 people die a day due to unsafe drinking water and sanitation issues, and the majority of those deaths are children who are lost an average of one every 15 seconds. That's just an estimation and the numbers are actually probably much worse when you take into consideration the disease caused by water contaminants. Also looking at the fact that regions in Africa, China, and the Middle East are the most affected, it's a problem that's afflicting a majority of the world's population.

As the documentary goes on to show, many of the world's water issues are caused by the hand of man. Pollution, urban runoff, sewage, human waste, and the diverting of water to new regions have left many of the natural reservoirs and rivers tapped out completely. The landscape has changed drastically over the course of the past century and we're largely to blame. Just look at how China's terrible environmental policies have screwed over their own country. People in the northern regions are stricken with disease and living in squalor due to a lack of suitable drinking water. Is that where we are headed? It stands to reason that with the consumption rate by Americans and flippant use of our water resources (pools, sprinklers, running water down the drain, etc.) we may find ourselves warring for water instead of oil in the not too distant future. Think about that the next time you fill a water balloon or squirt gun!

There is a second documentary included in the series as well. The American Southwest: Are We Running Dry? is also narrated by Jane Seymour and carries over some of the same content as the original documentary. The difference here, as you'd expect, is that this documentary focuses more on the American side of the water crisis. One look at the Southwest will tell you that there are drought conditions, and the documentary goes on to say that if we continue using as much water as we do (up to 15 times more than some countries per person) we'll soon see deadly consequences of our own.

This documentary didn't quite pack the same punch as the original Running Dry feature, and it felt a little more preachy, but it still was well constructed and informative. Thankfully The American Southwest also takes on a more positive spin with a look at what's being done to treat water and use water in other ways. It's clear that we have the power to help ourselves, and this summer when there's a water restriction in your area which prevents you from washing your car, just watch this documentary and you'll understand why.

Both Running Dry features are a little preachy in parts and some of the material feels a little sensationalized, but I found both films to be quite interesting. The content is focalized just enough to offer the problem, cause, effect, and solution with very little wandering. This is education quality material and it's something I feel, after watching, that everyone should sit through. It may just change your perspective on water consumption and sometimes a small change of mind is all it takes. If you're looking for a good documentary to watch or are interested in the subject Running Dry is recommended.

The DVD:

Video:

Running Dry is presented with a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio while The American Southwest is presented with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and has been enhanced for anamorphic playback. Both features offer decent picture quality, though the Southwest documentary is undoubtedly the better of the two. Both use some stock footage, sharper interview material, and some on location shots to varying degrees. The original Running Dry is a little grainier and softer, while Southwest is cleaner all around with a sharper resolution.

Audio:

As you'd expect from a documentary series, both features on this release are presented with a 2.0 stereo output. The quality is relatively good with no moments that really stand out for better or worse. Both Running Dry and The American Southwest are mostly flat sounding, and there's no channel separation but there really doesn't need to be with this material. It's suitable for the feature and that's about it. No subtitles are included.

Extras:

No bonus features are included on this release.

Final Thoughts:

Running Dry is a fascinating release by Iron Weed and it's a documentary series that I would easily recommend to anyone. It's about a subject that affects us all and it brings about a realization of where the world is headed if action isn't taken now. Water is pretty much the world's most precious and invaluable resource and most of us take it for granted. This documentary shows us what will happen if we don't do something about it, and quite honestly all you have to do is look at how China has destroyed their environment. It may be a little preachy at times, but Running Dry is full of useful information that will make you think twice about leaving the tap running or washing your car.


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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