Nearly a decade ago, with millions watching around the globe, Al Gore walked on to the stage at the 79th Academy Awards and briefly addressed the star-studded audience.
"My fellow Americans, people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis," he said. "It's not a political issue; it's a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started, with the possible exception of the will to act. That's a renewable resource. Let's renew it."
Gore's presence in the midst of Hollywood's most celebrated night, as well as the Oscar he took home for best Documentary Feature, was all thanks to "An Inconvenient Truth." The documentary on the climate crisis, an adaptation of a slideshow Gore regularly delivered, had been one of the surprise cultural and critical hits of 2006. It also had the galvanizing effect of sparking a global debate on everything from carbon emissions to hybrid vehicles and renewable energy.
Now, a little over 10 years since the original film first hit theaters on May 24, 2006, a silver-haired Gore is back with a follow-up called "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power." The documentary, premiering at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival earlier this week, chronicles the progress made over the last decade to address the climate crisis, as well as Gore's personal efforts to educate and empower citizen activists around the world.
You can see a first clip from the film below.
So what do the critics think? From what we've read so far, the consensus seems to be that the film has punch. What remains to be seen, however, is what kind of impression it will make with audiences.
"One of the toughest things about a film like this, is figuring out who its audience actually is," writes Ty Cooper for HeyUGuys. "Most people have already decided where they stand on the issue of global warming. Change needs to come from both ends of the spectrum, whether that’s left and right, or east and west. The problem with this film however, is that it often pats one side on the back while at the same time vilifying the other."
Film critic Owen Gleiberman at Variety, meanwhile, was surprised at how well the message resonated.
"What’s extraordinary is that this one, after a decade of global-warming fatigue, feels as vital as it does," he writes. "When it plays in theaters this summer, 'An Inconvenient Sequel' is likely to be another event, a part of the conversation, a movie that glories, once again, in the incisive power of its inconvenience. Ten years later, Al Gore is still bringing the news."
Part of the reason the new film succeeds, according to Adam Chitwood, is that it improves upon the seminar feel of the original.
"Instead of simply relaying power point slides, Gore actually visits areas affected by climate change weather patterns, putting a face to catastrophic events in the Philippines, India, and yes, the state of Florida," he writes for Collider. "And it also focuses on the good that’s being done around the world, highlighting areas that have moved significantly towards a renewable energy model—including an extremely conservative Texas town."
As for the film's overall impact, critic Chris Bumbray says it may just provide some new energy to those in need of a boost after recent political events.
"If you happen to think this is all a hoax and you weren’t convinced by 'An Inconvenient Truth', there’s not much here to change your mind," he writes for JoBlo. "But, if the fight to save the planet from the horrible damage we’ve done to it is something you’re invested in, this is the pat on the back/word of encouragement maybe you need in light of current events. It preaches to the choir, but that choir, hopefully, is getting bigger and bigger."
"An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" will hit theaters on July 28.