Escape from Extinction

February 11, 2021

Documentary, Review, Theatrical, This Week 1 Comment

...a 90-minute advertisement for Zoos and Aquariums that jumbles its messaging without scrupulously exploring any of the issues it raises.
EOE_5 (2)

Escape from Extinction

Patrick Scott
Year: 2020
Rating: PG
Director: Matthew R. Brady
Cast:

Helen Mirren (Narrator)

Distributor: Kismat
Released: February 11, 2021
Running Time: 89 minutes
Worth: $7.00

FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

…a 90-minute advertisement for Zoos and Aquariums that jumbles its messaging without scrupulously exploring any of the issues it raises.

The not-for-profit organisation American Humane’s documentary Escape from Extinction promotes efforts from zoological organisations in saving endangered animal species.

Narrated by Helen Mirren, it appears that the documentary’s chief objective is to advocate the work that these institutions do in protecting animal species and their habitats. However, rather than showcase the intricate process required to care for endangered animals, the film skims over so many topics, it is difficult to keep track of what it really stands for.

On the one hand, it tackles corporate powers that damage natural habitats, which does offer recommendations for change in the future. However, it then criticises historical campaigns, such as the one associated with the film Free Willy, that argues all whales should be freed from theme parks. Here, an intriguing argument is touched on regarding the lack of survival instincts of animals raised by humans. Nevertheless, they present animal freedom as antithetical to their own survival. This interventionist approach is increasingly problematic as it lacks an interrogation into important nuances of the issue.

Escape from Extinction is filled with rhetoric and oblique arguments that it appears as if it is deliberately disguising an alternative view. There is no doubt the interviewees within the documentary are knowledgeable and passionate, but the one-sided approach accumulates to thinly veiled propaganda. For example, it suggests sharks have a notorious reputation of being deadly simply through a cultural misrepresentation that includes ominous music as seen in Jaws, reality shows, etc. Yet, in the very next scene, the documentary includes an identical tactic of shadowy framing and threatening sounds to capture protestors in the same vein.

The film offers a veritable laundry list of threatened animal species whose survival has been accelerated through technology and human intervention. To further boost research, the film encourages viewers to visit their local accredited Zoos to fund resources and protect more species. However, it also needlessly condemns an opposing view from animal activists and protestors that argue all animals should be let free into the wild. In this way, it offers a reductionist solution to a complicated issue and evades tackling the bigger factors contributing to animal endangerment.

Escape from Extinction strikes as more of a 90-minute advertisement for Zoos and Aquariums that jumbles its messaging without scrupulously exploring any of the issues it raises.

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Comments

  1. MARY WISE

    A simple solution to escape from extinction is for global governments to pay humans to stop breeding rather than currently happens humans are paid to breed. Until we address the human population which is in plague proportions we will unfortunately continue to make extinct most other species on the planet.

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