"It's better to light one candle, than curse the darkness." is the tagline of 'Racing Extinction'. Climate change, endangered species, poverty, illegal trade, global warming... this prophetic documentary manages to touch on every one of these subjects and more in less than 90 minutes. Whether you believe in global warming or not, care about animals or consume animal products, this documentary will bring a message of universal significance to you regardless of your beliefs.
'Racing Extinction' tells the story of a group of activists, filmmakers and photo journalists who go beyond raising awareness and uncover the horrific side of humanity. The main stars are Louie Psihoyos, Paul Hilton and Travis Threlkel. This documentary not only informed the viewer of the problems the Earth faces today, but they went undercover with secret cameras to some illegal trade markets to expose them. This goes to show you how passionate and dedicated the crew is. This is more of their story, than a direct focus on different world problems.
As a self acclaimed "hippie", I have seen many documentaries regarding many of the topics covered by 'Racing Extinction'. Some of them such as 'Cowspiracy' and 'The Cross of the Moment' can really bring uprising movements and spark change. However, there are countless pieces out there that follow the same formula: compile a moody piano music, some time lapses along with great stock footage and interviews by scientists. These pieces turn out to be documentaries that are shown in high schools and bring no change. It's easy to point out what's wrong, but what makes 'Racing Extinction' unique is that it constantly bombards you with what you could do and that's what makes this documentary something special.
The filmmakers have spared no expense on cinematography. There are a variety of shots from underwater cameras to drones to cameras attached to cars. The cinematography brings takes the viewer under a spell and spears the messages to the souls of the viewer for a long-lasting effect. There are no over exaggerations in this review. 'Racing Extinction' contains one of the best, if not the best underwater footage I have ever seen. Also, the climax of the movie involves an extraordinary light show (you can see a sneak preview of it in the poster) and it is an absolutely amazing spectacle.
I think the one critique to this movie was that it felt like the structure was built as the story was uncovered. The movie very effectively touches on many problems and they definitely stay with the viewer but the motivation of the viewer might blur by a touch when there are many points to focus on. Also, the documentary is organised in a way to make the viewer choose what they must change themselves; it doesn't yell things at the viewer. This format is great but hypothetically speaking when someone says "Don't eat animal products" and later on says "Don't consume endangered animal products", the first message loses it's meaning by a tiny bit.
This documentary is very emotional and will move you at least once throughout. I had the privilege to go to a screening with 30 people and everyone either bawled, cried or got moved to tears at one point in the movie. I also attended a Q&A session afterwards with one of the photojournalists involved in the production and you could see the passion pouring out of his eyes when he spoke.
'Racing Extinction' very successfully unites scientific facts, compelling cinematography, real life missions and many significant messages together. This is a must-see documentary that isn't without its downs but should definitely be watched by everyone for the issues it brings up.
Also, makes sure you visit the website of 'Racing Extinction' to see one thing that you can change.