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‘Inconvenient Sequel’ a personal, hopeful, urgent doc

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On a visit to the Philippines, Al Gore, center, visits the former mayor of Tacloban City, Alfred Romualdez, left, and Demi Raya, a survivor of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,000 people in 2013. (Courtesy Paramount Pictures)
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Eleven years ago, Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” was an attempt to help save the world. As far as films go, it was a success. It’s among the dozen top-grossing documentaries, it won two Oscars, and Gore even won a Nobel Peace Prize.

Now comes “An Inconvenient Sequel,” subtitled “Truth to Power.”

If Gore’s first film had reached everyone on earth, this movie might not exist.

Perhaps because he’s the former U.S. vice president of the United States, a Democrat, and has enemies seeking to oppose and discredit him, “An Inconvenient Sequel” is a more personal film, finding Gore in moments of self-reflection.

He jokes that he is a “recovering politician” and says, despite all his work, he fears he may have not done enough for the planet, or even failed.

But he is clear when he refers to those trying to stop him as “big money,” and continues to do what he considers right, relying on science and facts.

While “An Inconvenient Truth” was based around Gore’s powerful slide show, demonstrating the effects of rising global temperatures, the sequel is more fragmented.

It starts by showing how things have changed since 2006. Storms have become stronger and more destructive. Miami is flooding. Mosquitoes are carrying deadlier diseases.

Yet there is hope.

Gore is shown training others to be leaders in the fight against the climate crisis. Renewable wind and solar power are revealed to be increasingly cost-effective, and people are using them as energy sources.

In a scene that would put a smile on anyone’s face, Gore visits the heavily Republican city of Georgetown, Texas, where Mayor Dale Ross is converting the entire city to renewable energy, simply because it doesn’t make sense to put all that junk in the air. The men set aside their differences for a wonderfully jocular visit.

Another, more serious chunk of the film involves Gore’s battle to stop India from opening 400 new plants powered by fossil fuels, which would be a devastating setback.

One might think that the decision to build such facilities should be based solely on science and safety concerns. Sadly, they are very often made with economic and politics as driving factors.

So, while this documentary may be inconvenient, it’s also relevant.

Oddly, “An Inconvenient Sequel” was filmed in the relatively innocent days of 2015 and 2016, with the election of climate change skeptic Donald Trump not yet a reality. It adds a few footnotes on this topic, asserting that the fight still goes on.

REVIEW
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
Three and a half stars
Starring Al Gore
Directed by Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
Rated PG
Running time 1 hour, 38 minutes

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