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‘Superhero tragedy disguised as end-times environmental doc’ – Gore ‘sequel is a superhero movie about a sad Al Gore’

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The newer, brisker, and unexpectedly more optimistic follow-up doc seeks, in large part, to calcify Gore’s legacy, resulting in a split-minded film that’s more fascinated with the former politician’s daily life than the melting polar ice sheets.

WHAT’S THE GENRE?

Superhero tragedy disguised as end-times environmental doc.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

A decade after An Inconvenient Truth spotlighted the grave threat of climate change, former Vice President Al Gore returns with a new PowerPoint presentation that will recruit an army of environmentalist lieutenants, who themselves will assemble enviro-militias across the globe. Their weapon: the truth!

WHAT’S IT REALLY ABOUT?

The life of Al Gore, a button-up-wearing superhero (supported by a crack team of smartphone-wielding millennials) who will save us from global warming even if he alone has to fistfight the sun.

 BUT IS IT ANY GOOD?
As a call to recruit and energize a new generation of environmentalists, no, it’s not good. Al Gore travels across the globe, educating trainees, who we barely get to know. And what exactly Gore trains these men and women to do, beyond monologue in public spaces, is unclear.The film doesn’t offer any surprising updates on global warming for a pseudo-woke teen with a social media stream. Nor does it lay out actionable strategies for viewers who could be persuaded to change their habits, but don’t know how. In that way, it’s a missed opportunity for Gore and his multi-decade agenda. An Inconvenient Truth formed the choir, and it’s inexplicable that this sequel makes no effort to teach that choir to sing.

However, as a documentary about the loneliness of would-be-President Gore, An Inconvenient Sequel is awkwardly engrossing. Gore’s loss to George W. Bush in the 2000 election, in particular, is grist for the film’s few jokes. At one point, Gore invites the cameras into his home, and they capture a man alone in an empty house, musing over photographs and notes from a different life. Gore seems peerless in his battle against global warming, for better and also for worse. In his personal and professional life, he appears deeply and tragically alone — often literally stranded in the film’s composition.

An Inconvenient Sequel often plays out like a tragic superhero film. Gore is depicted as a one-man army, fighting the good fight against impossible odds. Other politicians, from Obama to John Kerry to Justin Trudeau, drift into the film, lending their support.

But what happens when Superman saves the day? One shot will stay with me beyond Sundance. After helping secure 2015’s historic Paris Climate Conference agreement with some last-minute behind-the-scenes horse-trading, we see Gore among the crowd of celebrating world leaders. And then we see him alone again, wandering down a fluorescent-lit hallway. He moves away from the camera like an old cowboy riding into the sunset, his legs heavy, his back achy. In the moment of international achievement, we see him by himself.
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