PLOT Al Gore makes the case that renewable energy solutions are within our reach.
RATED PG (disaster imagery)
PLAYING AT AMC Lincoln Square and Regal Union Square in Manhattan. Opens locally Aug. 4.
BOTTOM LINE A familiar call to action that may not sway climate-change skeptics.
In the decade since Al Gore sounded the alarm over global warming with his Oscar-winning film “An Inconvenient Truth,” the debate over climate science hasn’t exactly cooled down.
With the release of “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” the former vice president finds himself repleading his case to a country whose Environmental Protection Agency is now run by a climate-science skeptic. Now Gore is changing tack, making a pragmatic argument that renewable energy can reduce pollution without wrecking the economy.
The first film was little more than an enhanced version of Gore’s data-driven slideshow, compelling mostly to those already inclined to find it so. “An Inconvenient Sequel,” directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk (replacing Davis Guggenheim, who produces), is for much of its running time more of the same: images of crumbling glaciers and harrowing storms, set to music that is alternately ominous and sorrowful.
That feeling of familiarity tends to overshadow the more interesting and persuasive portions of this film. Gore is trying another approach here, searching for financially attractive and politically palatable ways to achieve his environmental goals.
That’s evident in a storyline focused on Gore’s attempt to convince India to stop building hundreds of coal plants, which are affordable but high-polluting, and instead install cleaner but more expensive solar panels.
Watching Gore take meetings and man the phones to broker a deal between India, the World Bank and Elon Musk’s SolarCity gives this movie — briefly — the feeling of a real behind-the-scenes documentary.
In the current climate (the political one, that is), “An Inconvenient Sequel” seems destined for praise and condemnation along the usual party lines, which is a shame. Gore’s bipartisan message this time is best summed up by Dale Ross, the Republican mayor of Georgetown, Texas, who says his town switched to 100 percent clean energy because it was both cheap and eco-friendly. “The less stuff you put in the air the better,” he says. “You don’t need scientists to tell you that.”