Racing Extinction Blu-ray Review
It seemed to me a blessing that I watched this film the same week that officials in Cincinnati shot and killed Harambe, a 17-year old silver-backed gorilla after a young boy ended up inside his enclosure. I could go on and on about my feelings about this but those are best expressed on another forum. But it did get me to thinking about how we as a world treat the animals that live on it, from the local dog or cat to sharks and whales.
In an eye opening way, RACING EXTINCTION takes a look at how serious the situation has become for some species. Of course, among the largest animals, sharks and whales are featured. Whales are hunted for everything from their teeth to their blubber while sharks, which are edible, are mostly hunted for their fins, from which a soup is made. Whale meat is also used to produce an expensive and much-desired sushi, and the film spotlights a sushi restaurant that is charged with providing the forbidden dish. A hidden camera wanders into a warehouse where over 20,000 fins are stacked like firewood, to be sold to the highest bidder. It wouldn’t be such a tragedy if you knew that the rest of the fish had been processed and was now feeding the hungry but that is not the case. Many fisherman catch the sharks, cut off their fins and then throw them back into the water, where they soon die because they can’t fend for themselves.
At one time in Hawaii there were thousands of Kico birds. These birds are monogamous, searching for and finding a mate by singing a song that attracts the female bird. RACING EXTINCTION shows as footage of the last Kico bird in existence, sitting in a tree and singing his little heart out, unaware that there are no other birds left to return his call.
Director Psihoyos won an Academy Award for Best Documentary for his haunting film THE COVE which detailed the helpless slaughter of dolphins. And while this film isn’t as viscerally powerful as THE COVE, it does present to the viewer the same eye-opening realization that we as a world are slowly losing the natural resources that were on this planet long before we were. Sadly, I’m afraid that the only way my grandchildren will be able to see many of those species whose numbers are dwindling will be in movies like RACING EXTINCTION.
But you’re wasting your time if you watch RACING EXTINCTION and not understand that the message it’s trying to convey is that you and I can do something to help. Be it teaching your children about these endangered animals or giving them an appreciation of them by taking them to the zoo (but please hold their hands since we can’t afford to lose any more silver-back gorillas). They are the people of the future and the future is looking bleak. I’d say “ask the Kico bird” but, sadly, you can’t. And that is surely a sad song.
Video: Presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, the film is stunning in some of its outdoor location scenes. Archived footage is not as bright but is clear and sharp.
Audio: The soundtrack is delivered in DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 and well mixed. When the sad song of the lonely Kico bird is played, it fills the room with music.
The Virtual Field Trip (54:00): Interviews with various people involved in saving many of the species featured in the film. Informative but somewhat repetitive as it covers many of the same points featured in the feature.