Al Gore’s Inconvenient Sequel Follows Oscar-Winning Doc at Critical Moment for Combating Climate Change

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

An Inconvenient Truth came spinning out of Al Gore’s Powerpoint deck 11 years ago this spring, resuscitating a national conversation on global warming on its way to winning a pair of Oscars and Best Documentary honors from more than a dozen film critics associations.

Directed by Davis Guggenheim and distributed by Paramount, the film brought in $50 million and became a vital part of the worldwide climate change dialogue. In a powerful statement of Gore’s total commitment to a cause he has been devoted to since initiating the first congressional hearing on global warming in the early 1980s, he and his wife donated all profits to initiatives that would help educate more people about the dangers and realities of climate change.

A decade later, the issues Gore articulated in the film are as urgent as ever, as newly inaugurated President Donald Trump has suggested he may “cancel” the extraordinary Paris Agreement between 195 countries that is intended to slow and ultimately halt global warming. The timing, then, is optimal for An Inconvenient Sequel, Gore’s follow-up that debuted to a standing ovation last week at the Sundance Film Festival.

The film, which Paramount will release in theaters on July 28, is a wide-ranging examination of the global climate turmoil that threatens to massively disrupt life on Earth. In one compelling scene, Gore outlines how one of his most controversial 2006 predictions – that floodwaters could inundate the September 11 Memorial in lower Manhattan – has already happened:

In an ongoing atmosphere of political hyper-partisanship, Gore again tries to frame the climate change issue as more human than political, visiting a conservative Texas community to document their pivot to more affordable renewable energy. Such sentiments undergird a tone of optimism pervading the documentary, powered by Gore’s insistence that, in the climate fight, “we will win.”

VP Al Gore with former Mayor of Tacloban City Alfred Romualdez and Typhoon Haiyan survivor Demi Raya, in the Raya family home; Tacloban City, Philippines, March 12, 2016

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore with former Mayor of Tacloban City Alfred Romualdez and Typhoon Haiyan survivor Demi Raya, in the Raya family home; Tacloban City, Philippines, March 12, 2016. Photo credit: Jensen Walker.

The critical reaction from those on hand for the Sundance screening has been strongly positive so far. A sampling:

“With uncharacteristic fire and brimstone — but also steely resolve and a concrete plan — the former vice president opened the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday night with An Inconvenient Sequel, a daring, urgent and exhilarating follow-up to his 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth.” – Josh Dickey, Mashable

“As Gore beams at the notion of bipartisanship, it’s impossible not to get swept up in his cause — and relate to his relenting optimism.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“When it plays in theaters this summer … An Inconvenient Sequel is likely to be another event, a part of the conversation, a movie that glories, once again, in the incisive power of its inconvenience.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

While we’re a few months out from the wide release of An Inconvenient Sequel, you can revisit the 2006 classic in this trailer:

2006 feels like a while ago, but an urgency punctuated Gore’s narrative even then, as he pointed out that the 10 hottest years on record had occurred in the previous 14. Perhaps to underscore the critical nature of that moment, Gore evoked the timeworn wisdom of a man whose words have withstood the scrutiny of the years, Mark Twain: “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” With this timely sequel, Gore is making it much more difficult to say that climate change just ain’t so.

 

 

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