Saturday, February 13, 2016

Movie Review: "Racing Extinction" (2015)

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Movie"Racing Extinction"
Director: Louie Psihoyos
Year: 2015
Rating: UR
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

A look at mankind's effect on an ever dwindling population of many of the world's endangered species.  

From the makers of "The Cove," a brilliant and well made documentary, comes "Racing Extinction." Like its predecessor, this film looks at what certain portions of Earth's population does to impact our ever changing environment. Where "The Cove" discusses a smaller scale problem, focusing on one primary place in Japan where dolphins are slaughtered en masse, "Racing Extinction" takes a much more broad look at the global problem of extinction across several species. Unfortunately, sometimes focusing on larger, bigger picture problems makes the issue start to seem insurmountable. There is a lot of doom and gloom speak in this documentary about the impending 'point of no return,' which is said to be closing in fast. This film plays heavily on our emotions, showing us more than one of the animals that are believed to be the absolute last of their species. It shows hard to watch video of a shark drowning in the ocean because its fins have been cut off. We watch as a group in Indonesia hunts manta rays as the fishermen ascend upon one and plunge harpoons into it as it fights and struggles for life. These images are enough to make even the strongest person weep as defenseless animals are killed for the profit of humans.

"Racing Extinction" is clearly a documentary made by animals rights activists who want to show the death and horror of such practices. In this, it succeeds, but make no mistake about it, this is most certainly a biased documentary (not that we condone animals being killed mercilessly, but this piece definitely has an agenda). In a sense, it is trying to guilt its audience into caring, and it's relatively effecting in doing so. In the same vein as how pro-vegetarian documentaries show cows being killed in slaughterhouses in the hopes that we will be disgusted and shamed enough to stop eating meat, "Racing Extinction" takes a similar approach, urging viewers to go meatless or to at least take in less meat to save the animals. But animals are so taaaaaasty! It's not all doom and gloom, however. It shifts towards a message of hope at the end of the film, insisting that circumstances can be different if we all make small changes for the better, like reducing greenhouse emissions. The filmmakers talk to entrepreneurs who are starting to make green technology that's not only the best for our environment, but is also the most cost effective. As many of us know, the only way to get corporations to change is to show them how it will help their bottom line. Really, the biggest message this film is trying to get across is what the late great Evan Tanner taught years ago, and that's to "believe in the power of one." Even though you are just one person, you can make a difference, slowly but surely.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water"

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