It's hard to imagine a less promising film title than An Inconvenient Sequel. Maybe Another Imposition Upon Your Time? It's clear, in the opening minutes, as we watch him shake off the slights and smears of his critics, that Al Gore is too savvily upbeat a technocrat to give the follow-up to An Inconvenient Truth the name he'd prefer: See, I Told You So. With its thorough and horrifying slide show, and his clear passion for his subject, An Inconvenient Truth persuasively cast Gore as truth-teller and doomsayer, the person in the coal mine who points out that those crunching sounds when you walk are the corpses of canaries.
Now, in 2017, the truths he told are self-evident, at least to everyone who doesn't stand to profit from ignoring them. His new role is a return to one of his oldest: the pragmatic fixer bringing government and industry together to face -- and profit from -- problems neither is likely to face on its own.
The new film mostly tosses out the filmed lecture approach of An Inconvenient Truth. Instead, we watch Gore swan about the globe, tut-tutting sadly at Greenland's exploding glaciers, glad-handing the conservative mayor of a Texas town that has embraced renewable energy sources, meeting with reporters, flood victims, and participants in Gore's own how-to-speak-about-climate-change workshops.
The film creates a conflicting impression: Here's a committed wonk and public servant seizing every opportunity he can to combat what appears to be the greatest danger facing our planet. But here's also a man who would sign off on a movie that so often sets aside his message so that we might admire him and his work.