Sundance Review: 'An Inconvenient Sequel,' Al's Back and He's Ticked Off.

What more could be added to Al Gore’s award-winning film “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006? We get it: The world’s hot and getting hotter and it’s our fault, right?

Yes, but many either we aren’t listening or are steeped in denial, and thus there’s still quite a bit that needs to be said.

After the success of “An Inconvenient Truth”, PowerPoint presenter extraordinaire Vice-President Gore realized he couldn’t do it all alone. Therefore he created The Climate Reality Leadership Corps basically to train those so inclined to also present Gore’s climate change lecture, thereby duplicating himself and redoubling his efforts.

And that is how much of this new film is framed; as an extended training session from his Climate Reality Leadership Corps. It’s an effective approach, and one that begins by directly addressing much of the criticisms leveled at Gore and his first film, delivered by the deniers themselves in their own words, their own “alternative facts.” An early, powerful example shows Gore reminding us of the criticism he received in 2006 for using an animation showing that sea level rise could engulf the remnants of the world trade center… only to respond with the footage of it doing exactly that, a mere six years later.

But Gore and his filmmaking team also indirectly address criticisms of the movie itself, the media, not the message: still present are the PowerPoints, but gone is the reliance on them. Although helpful graphs do show up here and there, knowing a video is worth a thousand charts, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” simply goes to the tape and shows what is happening around the world right now. From being within mere feet of a massive moulin as it drills its watery way through a glacier; to watching hapless citizens in India whose shoes are ripped off, stuck mid-step across superhot roads; to wading through the water flooding a thoroughfare in Miami complete with fish swimming right down the double-yellow line, Gore literally takes it to the streets.

And he’s not kidding around this time. Although the messenger is still largely low-key, in service of his message… he eventually lets loose with fiery vigor, blasting the apathy and intentional ignorance of those who still deny, ten years on since his first theatrical effort to enlighten them. These are compelling moments, and even after apologizing for losing his cool, he still has more to bellow later on.

But he’s more than just talk, even loud talk. A peek behind the political curtain during the Paris Accords shows that Gore isn’t just some old lion that needs to roar now and again; he still knows the diplospeak well enough to create a team and craft a deal.

The result is ultimately a positive attitude in the face of certain negativity, and of gratitude for the passionate work done on behalf of us all.

Directors: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk

100 minutes

Richard Bonaduce
Richard Bonaduce
Rich Bonaduce was born and raised in Pennsylvania but has lived in Utah now for half his life. In addition to being a regular contributor as a Film Critic for Salt Lake Magazine, he is also the Film Critic and Entertainment reporter for FOX13’s weekly morning show Good Day Utah. He’s also a drummer in local band “Mojave Rose,” and is much shorter than he appears on television. You've been warned.

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