A decade after An Inconvenient Truth (2006) brought climate change into the heart of popular culture comes the follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution.
Directors: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
Stars: Al Gore, George W. Bush, John Kerry
Review by Gilbert Seah
AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER is the sequel to the 2006 Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH starring Al Gore where the former Vice-President of the United States championed the fight on global warming. In that film, the effects of global warming were convincingly portrayed on screen, rallying uncountable numbers of followers to fight against global warming. After more than 10 years, many of that film’s predictions (the best example used being the flooding of the World Trade Centre grounds), laughed upon by skeptics have come to pass. This sequel is timely and premiered at Sundance early this year.
The film follows the efforts made to tackle climate change and Al Gore’s attempts to persuade governmental leaders to invest in renewable energy, culminating in the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016.
The film begins lightly with references to the 2006 film and with Al Gore in lighter mode shown joking and laughing. His joke about a lady (not recognizing him) telling him that if dyed his hair black, he would look like Al Gore is funny enough, enabling the film to transition slowly to a more serious nature. Gore is also shown, in the film’s best moments giving his climate speeches, while getting fully worked up in the process.
Gore is undoubtedly presented in the film as the conquering hero, besides a champion for the climate change movement. Well, better a hero for a crucial course that no hero at all.
While the film traces Gore’s attendance at the Paris talks in 2016, it narrows the events to his victory at convincing India to cooperate. At the same time, the film shows how each country contributes to the reduction of global warming and where the problems lie. The film’s high is the revelation of how much Chile has done in the construction of solar powered plants. Another high is how Geogetown, Texas through its comical mayor has also championed itself towards 100% renewal energy. He emphasizes the saying that we should leave the world a better place in terms of renewal energy.
The ultimate question asked is whether AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL is better than the original INCONVENIENT TRUTH. The truth is that it is difficult for anyone who has seen the 2006 film to remember, especially after 11 years have passed. A fellow critic colleague mentioned that SEQUEL is the better film, being more focused, also claiming that he has just re-watched the original for comparison. For myself, I remember being more moved by the first film, and understandably so, for the more disturbing images of the effects of global warming shown. In SEQUEL, though many images are still shown, most of these are the catastrophes like the flooding and drought scenes, but the melting ice and the depletion of ice created the greater impact.
Still in SEQUEL, directors Cohen and Shenk have re-edited the film following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, to expand Trump’s role as antagonist before the film hits theatres. All the better to incite the workers for climate change to have a common enemy, and an easy target at that.
The film ends, predictably though necessarily, with how everyone can contribute to the cause, with the website they can log on to.
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