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Thursday, August 03, 2017

Granger at the Movies: ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,’ ‘Wish Upon’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Not long after President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the historic 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, a crack in Antarctica’s ice shelf caused a 1.1-trillion-ton block of ice to calve, forming a colossal iceberg, which is already breaking into huge chunks.

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Couple that with the increasing threat of mega-fires, worsening floods, deeper droughts and worldwide temperatures hitting a record high for the third year in a row. So to call “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” a follow-up to 2006’s Oscar-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” timely is an understatement.

Former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize-recipient Al Gore updates his observations with advances in climate science, encompassing enlightened global energy policies and the latest in technology.

“Mother Nature is telling us, and people are noticing it,” Gore maintains.

According to Gore, global warming is the most threatening part of our ecological crisis because the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet is the most vulnerable part of the Earth’s system.

More than increasing population and advanced technology, the one factor that may determine Earth’s future is our way of thinking and the values on which we base the decisions we make.

As the late economist Rudi Dornbusch observed, “Things take longer to happen than you think they will, and then they happen faster than you thought they would.”

Because of that, Gore believes that President Trump’s decision to leave the Agreement has isolated the United States in the world community — with China trying to step in to assume a leadership role.

Gore points out that the real risk is that other countries will retaliate by trading among themselves as they create advances in solar and wind energy. And they have the legal right to place barriers on U.S. products that contribute to carbon pollution.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” is an effective, impassioned 6, as environmentally-conscious citizens and their governments struggle to cope with consequential challenges.

One doesn’t often see horror pictures released in the middle of summer, but perhaps filmmakers figured that “Wish Upon,” the $12 million supernatural thriller might turn a profit even before its DVD release in the fall.

Still traumatized by the suicide of her mother (Elizabeth Rohm) when she was a youngster, 17 year-old Clare Shannon (Joey King), along with her friends Meredith McNeil (Sydney Park) and June Acosta (Shannon Purser), is having a tough time in high school.

So when her dumpster-diving dad, Jonathan (Ryan Phillippe), gives her an old, octagonal Chinese music box with an inscription that promises to grant its owner’s seven wishes, she’s intrigued.

Clare’s first wish is that her nasty nemesis, Darcie Chapman (Josephine Langford), would “just go rot.” Sure enough, the next day, mean girl Darcie develops a ghoulish necrotizing fasciitis. Then one of her acquaintances inexplicably dies.

Predictably, Clare goes on to wish for a large inheritance, instant popularity and the affection of a hunky jock, Paul Middlebrook (Mitchell Slaggert), as gruesome deaths mysteriously mount up.

Eventually, Clare asks a nerdy admirer named Ryan Hui (Ki Hong Lee) and then his cousin (Alice Lee) to decipher the Mandarin lettering on the malevolent box. That’s when Clare realizes that her selfish wishes are actually killing people.

Scripted by Barbara Marshall (“Viral”) and directed by longtime cinematographer John R. Leonetti (“Annabelle”), it’s a simplistic adaptation of W.W. Jacobs’ 1902 story “The Monkey’s Paw,” in which a cursed artifact gives its owner three wishes, each of which exacts a dreadful punishment.

On the Granger Gauge, “Wish Upon” is a twisted 3, proving there’s always a price to be paid.

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(Editor’s Note: Westport resident Susan Granger grew up in Hollywood, studied journalism with Pierre Salinger at Mills College, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. In addition to writing for newspapers and magazines, she has been on radio/television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic for many years. See her reviews at www.susangranger.com.)


Posted 08/03/17 at 07:43 PM  Permalink


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