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With: Al Gore
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements and some troubling images
Running Time: 98
Date: 08/04/2017

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Gore Corps

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Eleven years ago, Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth (2006) was an attempt to help save the world. As far as films go, it was a success. It's currently among the dozen top-grossing documentaries, it won two Oscars, and Mr. Gore even won a Nobel Peace Prize.

Now comes An Inconvenient Sequel — subtitled "Truth to Power" — which opens Friday in Bay Area theaters.

If Mr. Gore's first film had reached everyone on earth, this sequel might not exist. But the fact is that, despite his best intentions, he is also the former Vice President of the United States, a Democrat, and has enemies seeking to oppose and discredit him.

So An Inconvenient Sequel is a more personal film, finding Mr. Gore in moments of self-reflection. He jokes that he is a "recovering politician" and says that, 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 he continues to do what he considers to be the right thing, using science and facts.

Whereas the first film was based around Mr. Gore's powerful slide show, demonstrating the effects of rising global temperatures, this sequel is more fragmented.

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

Yet there is hope. Mr. Gore is also shown training others to be leaders in the fight against the climate crisis. Renewable wind and solar power are shown to be increasingly cost-effective and are actually being used.

In a scene that can put a smile on anyone's face, Mr. Gore visits the heavily-Republican city of Georgetown, Texas.

There, mayor Dale Ross is converting his entire city to renewable energy, simply because it doesn't make sense to put all that junk in the air. The two men set aside their differences for a wonderfully jocular visit.

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

Again, one might think that such a decision should be based on science alone, avoiding danger and benefitting all humankind. But, sadly, they are very often made because of money, or politics. 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 Trump not yet a reality. Thus it adds a few footnotes on this topic, asserting that the fight still goes on.

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