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Racing Extinction

Well, “The Cove” was better. Louie Psihoyos directed that one too, and it was awarded the Best Documentary Feature Academy Award in 2010. But Mr. Psihoyos has lost his way a bit with his latest, “Racing Extinction”. It’s gimmicky, meandering, and one-sided to a fault. As usual, these non-fiction focuses on subjects like climate change, animal abuse, and–in this case–staunching the mass extinction of species…the message is important and pressing. But I couldn’t help but desire a levelheaded alternate view to some of the issues presented. I know they are out there–even if I don’t necessarily agree with them. However, when the climax of the piece is an impressive, yet overly flamboyant, light show, projecting images of endangered animals onto skyscrapers in New York City, as well as the Vatican in Rome…I was certain we were dealing with shallow devices here. Yeah, it looks really cool. But I couldn’t help but think that the people they were trying to reach were forgetting about this issue as soon as the “performance” was over. And an awful lot of screen time was spent on the setup and execution of this expensive “ooh” and “aah”. It’s telling that the lone Oscar nomination for “Racing Extinction” was for its Best Original Song, “Manta Ray”, and not for being one of the best documentaries of the year. Its effective at times, but pounds the same message repeatedly. This one is an example of style over substance. Not horrible, just safe and forgettable.

Grade:  B-


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