Racing Extinction is a documentary feature presented by Discovery about the mass extinction of endangered species. Directed by documentary filmmaker and photographer Louie Psihoyos, academy award winner for The Cove (2009), the film presents a heartbreaking yet in depth look at how human destruction has caused the environmental depletion of wildlife and the Earth. Psihoyos, along with scientists, researchers and activists, argues throughout the film that humanity does not understand the devastation it has caused to the environment and in turn is not doing anything about it.
This documentary will appeal to the animal rights and environment activist in everyone. This film gives attention to a number of aspects in the world of extinction including commercial trade of species where animals are treated with zero compassion and are bought and sold on the market for both trade and human consumption.
Racing Extinction is one of those hit-you-over-the-head-save-our-planet narratives. It is heavily propagated with a Greenpeace angle in its language and cinematic presentation. The film begins with Psihoyos and his crew establishing a sting operation to take down a restaurant that is serving whale meat. Throughout the film, Psyhoyos and his crew travel to China and Indonesia to seek out the industries which are bluntly destructive to the environment and cruel to endangered animals. This is one of the greatest strengths of the film: environmental destruction is exhibited through both a cultural and worldview lens.
Though this film is intriguing, difficult and inspiring, audiences do not receive any new ideas regarding the world in which we live although the message the film communicates is an important one: we can bring change through awareness, education and being more considerate of our actions and how we can help in sustaining the world in which we live.