Escape from Extinction (2020)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on February 4, 2024 @

Escape from Extinction is a heartrending indie documentary about the species that have been lost, saved, or are facing severe threats. One million species are in danger.

The film has been produced by American Humane, so it shows a point of view that is favorable to Zoos and Aquariums. PETA has come out against the film's point of view. But whatever its objectivity, the film gives important information and focus.

Helen Mirren narrates with a professional tone. She says, "Modern zoological facilities are leaders in the fight against extinction." It is obvious that many of the leaders in the film are committed and knowledgeable.

Some of us have viewed zoos as places of entertainment that take the animals out of their natural habitats and put them behind cages.

But as we learn -- sometimes zoos provide refuge from certain death. As Mirren says, "Natural habitats are becoming increasingly hostile."

Pollution, plastics, deforestation, disease, illegal trafficking, even sound that ships create in the oceans have had a dire effect.

Escape from Extinction blames some activists as giving disinformation against the zoos and aquariums.

Media also creates some false imagery. Sharks are one of the species under attack. More sharks are killed by people than people are killed by sharks. But the movie Jaws (1975) and its three sequels have made sharks into an image that comes with menacing music.

In Free Willy (1993) and two sequels, Keiko -- an actual killer whale -- portrayed Willy. When Keiko actually was returned to the ocean off Iceland, he couldn't manage. Despite training, he was unable to forage for food and feared fellow whales. Keiko seemed to miss his handlers and their care. Alone, he died a painful death.

One Orca was separated from his mother and the pod. When he was discovered they found out he was deaf. With human care, she grew up and gave birth. Without human help, she would have died.

Matthew R. Brady directs Escape from Extinction with aplomb.

He is aided by cinematographer Eduardo Ramirez Gonzalez who provides wonderful images of the beautiful animals and fish.

Escape from Extinction makes us more aware of a vast threat. The ecosystem is under assault.

If we don't care, will we all be Dodo birds?

© 2000-2024 Tony Macklin