NYT Hypes 'Compelling' Al Gore as Oracle of Climate Doom for Turgid 'Truth' Sequel

July 29th, 2017 1:23 PM

Al Gore, former vice-president, nearly president, now “climate change” multi-millionaire guru, is back in the limelight with An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, a follow up to his alarmist Powerpoint hit in 2006, An Inconvenient Truth.

The headline to Ben Kenigsberg’s review, in the New York Times Weekend Arts section Friday, lacks any trace of journalistic cyncism: “The Latest Word From Al Gore on Climate Change.” Straight from the oracle's mouth? The text box: “In a sequel, this environmental activist focuses on extreme weather trends as indicators of global warming.”

In a summer movie landscape with Spider-Man, a simian army waging further battle for the planet and Charlize Theron as a sexy Cold War-era superspy, it says something that one of the most compelling characters is Al Gore.

“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” a follow-up to “An Inconvenient Truth,” Davis Guggenheim’s Oscar-winning documentary from 2006, is a reboot that justifies its existence -- and not just because Mr. Gore has fresh news to report on climate change since his previous multimedia presentation played in multiplexes.

Now gray-haired and at times sounding angrier in his speeches, Mr. Gore, in “Sequel,” takes on the air of a Shakespearean figure, a man long cast out of power by what he casually refers to as “the Supreme Court decision” (meaning Bush v. Gore) but still making the same arguments that have been hallmarks of his career.

If there is a thesis in this new documentary, directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk (“Audrie & Daisy”), it’s that a rise in extreme weather is making the impact of climate change harder to deny. The movie touches on Hurricane Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the wildfire in Fort McMurray, Canada, and the Zika virus. Mr. Gore visits Greenland and the flooded streets of the Miami area. (He acknowledges a complicated relationship with Florida.)


Mr. Gore likens President Trump’s election to a quip often attributed to Mike Tyson: You always have a plan until you get punched in the face. The movie has been updated since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January to include Mr. Trump’s announcement of the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, a decision that probably forecasts another sequel.

The new Gore hype even found its way into comics coverage last Monday, as the paper highlighted a fairly obscure strip purely for its ideological environmental motivations. George Gene Gustines, who writes about comics for the paper, pushed "climate change" in an interview with an "environmentally minded cartoonist" (sounds hilarious!) in “To Herald a Film, a Comic Strip Mirrors the Ravages of Climate Change.”

The newspaper comic strip “Arctic Circle,” by the environmentally minded cartoonist Alex Hallatt, is about talking penguins and their fellow creatures living in the north. Starting Monday, under a caption that says “An Inconvenient Truth,” the menagerie will find their world shrinking and their conversations will be about global warming.

Readers will see the drawings diminish to nothing by Friday as a snow bunny muses, “Climate change will lead to habitat loss and the extinction of many species.”

Miss Hallatt created the strips to observe the arrival of the documentary “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” in theaters on Friday. The film is a follow-up to the 2006 Oscar-winning documentary featuring Al Gore. Miss Hallatt has no official connection to the film.

“I was so excited when ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ was the success it was,” she said during a telephone interview. “Finally, finally climate change was now in the mainstream. In the intervening 10 to 11 years, it seems like we’re almost going backwards. It’s really, really frightening.”

She added: “The fact that there has to be a sequel does bother me. We shouldn’t even be discussing this.”


When she has tackled politics in “Arctic Circle,” the response on message boards would sometimes get heated. “You get climate change deniers who post to those threads,” she recalled. “The lovely thing is that there will be rational responses from people who will explain the science to them so I don’t have to get involved.”


Miss Hallatt said she believed her strip was an ideal venue for discussing global warming.


“An Inconvenient Sequel” highlights some progress in dealing with climate change; Miss Hallatt said she believed that positive steps could be taken.

“The U.S. may have withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, but a lot of cities and states have said they are still part of it,” she said. “That’s the attitude for people to have. There’s a lot we can do, but we have to do it collectively.”

For an actual probing, journalistic take of the Gore documentary, check out Kyle Smith’s take at National Review.