An Inconvenient Truth brought climate change into the public arena when Davis Guggenheim made a documentary about former presidential candidate, Al Gore’s campaigning around environmental issues such as global warming. While the film won two Oscars, it also garnered much criticism from an already divided camp with some jokingly referring to it as “An Irritating Truth”. Now more than a decade after An Inconvenient Truth encapsulated the world’s growing environmental concerns, we have An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, which lands in an age where society has become more receptive to messages around depletion of resources, clean renewable energy and climate change.
Documentary films like An Inconvenient Truth and Home have definitely played their part in shaping our perceptions and role as custodians rather than end users of this planet. Ten years on, the effects are becoming a reality, forcing us to look in the mirror and reassess our views on basic amenities such as electricity and water.
It was always going to be a task to reinvent the message of An Inconvenient Truth for a sequel. While the temptation would have been to simply recycle the first award-winning documentary, the filmmakers have gone for a then and now approach, using Gore’s presentation to launch into an overview of what’s got worse and what’s got better. Instead of an “I told you so” rinse and repeat, An Inconvenient Sequel drives at a much more positive angle around raising new leaders and celebrating growth in key areas such as wind and solar energy.
Gore does reiterate some of the concerns from An Inconvenient Truth, yet this isn’t simply another advert for his good works, but an education tool to create awareness, inspire and inform. A respected leader, he uses his unique position to leverage positive change, realising that he can only do so much on his own. Presenting his seminars to empower a new wave of leaders in environmental sectors throughout the world, his influence will contribute towards a change in thinking that could have a big impact on governments that need extra pressure to make the right decisions for their people. Gore uses the sequel for his own personal branding, allowing the audience some special insights into his mission and humble celebrity.
Visiting towns that have worked themselves off the grid, delving into the spate of terror attacks, visiting Greenland to witness the melt firsthand and revisiting a photographic NASA satellite project – this documentary offers a startling, far-reaching and comprehensive account of Gore’s last 10 years. Jetting from one climate conference to another leadership seminar, there are moments where it does seem a bit repetitive, overlong and dotted with solar energy product placements. However, these flaws are insignificant in the big picture and are speed bumps in contrast to Gore’s indomitable conviction.
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power may have a clunky title but couldn’t have come at a better time. Wildfires, floods, droughts, typhoons and other disasters seem to be on the rise, while the recent worldwide political changes have had a de-stabilising effect on governments and societies. Gore doesn’t point it out explicitly, but one side effect of his message is to wonder how things would have turned out if he had been elected President. Whatever your environmental or political beliefs, this documentary is fiercely relevant, thought-provoking, infotaining, stirring and timely in the context of radical environmental and political change.
The bottom line: Inconvenient