Poor Al Gore. He’s like a sad superhero who keeps trying to spread his wisdom to the world but is shoved to the side like an old man who yells at clouds. Ten years after his controversial documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, we see an older, grayer Gore. He hasn’t stopped fighting against global warming, and his sequel, appropriately named An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, showcases his might. Right wing media haven’t been particularly subtle in their disdain for Gore and his promotion of “a Chinese hoax,” but, he shows that he doesn’t give a damn. The saying goes that “heroes don’t wear capes,” and Gore certainly embodies that line.
Directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, the film opens with a close-up of ice melting in a tranquil landscape. In any other case, it would be a beautiful picture, but in this situation, it’s a part of a bigger story. The melting ice is actually a glacier in Greenland, one of many that are starting to crumble.
While An Inconvenient Truth was more of a Ted Talk setting (before there even were Ted Talks), the sequel is a more graphic picture. The first half of the film is a huge “I told you so.” One of the biggest controversies of An Inconvenient Truth was when Gore predicted that floods would rise so high in New York that it would flood the 9/11 Memorial site. Well, unsurprisingly, Gore was proved right when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012 and flooded Ground Zero. The documentary also shows the flooding streets of Miami, a permanent smog cloud billowing in Asia, and a horrific drought in Syria that sparked a migrant crisis before the war.
Even after ten years, Gore still has that huge presence wherever he goes. His passion coupled with his small town Tennessee accent makes his speeches feel an evangelical sermon, but instead of talking about God’s wrath, he’s talking about Mother Earth. In between segments of destruction, Shenk and Cohen showcase Gore’s environmental training seminar, where he lectures 50 individuals of influence from around the world about climate change and what they can do. A little “infomercial” at times, but the message stands firm.
In the second half of the film, Shenk and Cohen showcase more of the political struggles of climate change. The audience spends a good amount of time at the big kids’ table where they see Gore try to craft the 2015 Paris Climate Accords.Gore wants India to sign the agreement, but their government is reluctant to join because their energy primarily revolves around coal. Since Gore then spends time calling banks and businesses to persuade them to assist India in switching to renewable energy. When they eventually agree, it’s a huge win for Gore, the Paris Accords, and the world in general.
However, in recent events, we know how this story turns out for America. After Donald Trump had announced that America would pull out of the agreement, Shenk and Cohen went to back to the cutting room to add in that piece of news. It looks like Gore has a new adversary to take on.
Though slightly disjointed and “list-like,” An Inconvenient Sequel emphasizes that the climate change movement is more than just “Save the Trees.” It’s a global phenomenon that is crucial to our well being. Judging from the 5.2 IMDB rating and the 45% Metacritic score, some people aren’t ready to listen yet. And, honestly, if they’re not ready now, they most likely never will be. Nevertheless, Gore will keep trudging on to save their homes whether they like it or not.