Back in 2006, when Al Gore turned his PowerPoint climate-change crusade into the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, there was still some reason for hope. Sure, Bush and Cheney were calling the shots, but the force of Gore’s argument was impossible to ignore. Now, a decade later, with a fervent global-warming denier in the Oval Office, hope seems in shorter supply. In his wake-up-call follow-up, Gore is a little grayer and a little thicker around the midsection, but he’s still tirelessly speaking truth to power on behalf of our ailing planet in his folksy Tennessee twang. During one of his presentations in which he shows disaster footage from around the globe, he says, “Every night on the evening news is like a nature walk through the Book of Revelation.” You’d have to have your head in the sand not to agree.
Directors Jon Shenk and Bonni Cohen shadow the former vice president as he visits the rapidly melting ice caps of the Arctic and the flooding streets of Miami, growing increasingly frustrated as to why more isn’t being done. The strongest part of the film chronicles Gore’s behind-the-scenes scrambling and horse-swapping at the 2015 drafting of the Paris climate accord, where India is dragging its feet on its adoption of solar energy. I know, it sounds super dry. But it unfolds like a white-knuckle episode of House of Cards. The cruel irony is that after all of Gore’s round-the-clock diplomacy to get a deal done, it would turn out to be partly undone when President Trump later pulled out of the agreement. The only good news in all of this — and the message that An Inconvenient Sequel hammers home time and again — is that if you think that this self-proclaimed “recovering politician” is going away, guess again. B+