After the success of his explosive documentary An Inconvenient Truth in 2006, former Vice President Al Gore returns a decade later with a sequel to bring climate change back to the forefront of our minds. And, let me tell you, he delivers.
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power doesn’t spend much time on trying to convince you with science overload. Whereas the 2006 film had to explain everything about a relatively unknown issue to its audience, a decade later pretty much everyone knows about these environmental threats and the discussion around it. Instead, the sequel focuses on telling you what’s changed in the last decade and the strides we’ve taken to combat these issues.
We watch Gore travel across the world, meeting with scientists in Greenland, giving speeches and trainings through his Climate Reality Leadership Corps program, and meeting with foreign dignitaries and American community leaders. The film never dwells in one place for too long and manages to keep a good clip, showing audiences that climate change and Gore’s involvement are worldwide.
Gore is at the heart of this story, much as in the original. He explains his long history as a champion for action on climate change (backed up with archival footage), we visit his family home in Tennessee to get a sense of his family life, and he has no problem joking about his past failures (aka the 2000 presidential election). It’s a favorable and endearing portrait of a man who’s given his life to public service and activism.
The most interesting thread of the film ties together Gore’s political experience, action on climate change, and global partnership. Without revealing too much plot, it’s a fascinating look at the back-and-forth compromises that can occur when both parties are willing to see the needs of the other. And in this case, it helped lead to the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement, a historic achievement for the fight against climate change.
Through his trusty old slideshow, Gore drives home the immediate effects of climate change through news reports and footage of floods, fire, and hurricanes. It’s heartbreaking footage and when viewed in quick succession (thanks to some savvy editing), it becomes clear that we cannot deny this is happening any longer.
While Gore does not directly issue a call to action, the overall message of An Inconvenient Sequel is clear: get out there and join the fight. It’s not an easy fight, but it’s not a hopeless one either. With a timely addendum scene to address the election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States, Gore says that above all, he “tries to answer to the truth of what needs to be done.” We’ll have to wait until the documentary is released in July 2017 to see if its audience members are willing to answer that call.