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Review: An Inconvenient Sequel (Sundance)

An Inconvenient Sequel (Sundance)
7 10

PLOT: Ten years after AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, Al Gore continues to fight climate change in the face of numerous political setbacks.

REVIEW: Part of the power of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH was the simplicity of the film, with Al Gore simply presenting the facts via his famous slide-show. Nothing else was really needed. He gave you the stats, scared the crap out of you, and urged the audience to get involved. Ten years later, the battle against climate change goes on, but as this follow-up shows, each victory is met with another defeat, making this as vital a topic as ever.

Yet, AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL is unlikely to make as big of an impact as the first movie did. Davis Guggenheim’s film was designed to provoke thought among those who had never really thought of climate change. By contrast, the sequel, from Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk preaches to the choir, and is unlikely to crossover to non-believers. If anything, this seems timed with Trump’s inauguration, serving as a big-screen piece of encouragement to Gore’s followers, as suggested by the subtitle, TRUTH TO POWER. Here, Gore is seen globe-trotting, visiting the site of natural disasters and facing his critics, but the real gist is that people still aren’t convinced despite all the evidence, and the only way to win this battle is to take each defeat as just another step towards an inevitable victory.

The most gripping parts of AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL are brief, where Gore is shown facing his critics, most of whom hail from the big money tied up in fossil fuels. Early on, Gore is shown at a senate meeting where his treatment is ludicrous, almost reminiscent of the McCarthy-era “Red Scare” meetings. Later, a scare scenario from the first film, which theorized NYC’s “Ground Zero” monument could one day be flooded is shown to be true.

Through it all, Gore stays upbeat, with him happily going on about the victories they’ve had with Obama in office, climaxing with the Paris Agreement, although we all know by now that this victory had an unhappy climax last November, upon the election of Trump. While certainly Trump is portrayed as a climate change denier, he’s not presented as a boogie-man either, with Gore attempting to stay bipartisan throughout, even presenting one of his biggest allies as a Trump voting conservative republican mayor from Texas.

Gore himself is the movie’s ace up its sleeve. At his best a thoroughly charismatic speaker (who wonders why he wasn’t as sophisticated and affable during his political days), Gore is presented as a near superman. For the most part, this seems apt given his efforts although early scenes showing him hanging out with his dog in the office or being on a first name basis with his assistants seem to be a misguided effort to present him as folksy and down-to-earth. We don’t need our heroes down-to-earth.

If you happen to think this is all a hoax and you weren’t convinced by AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, there’s not much here to change your mind. But, if the fight to save the planet from the horrible damage we’ve done to it is something you’re invested in, this is the pat on the back/word of encouragement maybe you need in light of current events. It preaches to the choir, but that choir, hopefully, is getting bigger and bigger.

Source: JoBlo.com

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