These Are Some Of The Best Movies About Endangered And Extinct Species

As novelist George Eliot (May Ann Evans) wrote in her book Mr. Gilfil’s Love Story, “Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” That most definitely rings true, certainly in the cases of our household pets, although it perhaps does not take into account the crocodiles of this world, and the dinosaurs of the pre-ice age. One would suspect they were neither friendly, nor agreeable…

Global extinction rates and their estimates vary dramatically, but somewhere between 200 and 2000 species are believed to become extinct every single year according to the World Wildlife Fund. A rather broad guesstimate, but one where both the best and worst case scenarios are staggeringly concerning. Pleas from environmentalists and wildlife conservationists for greater political reform regarding the planet’s ecosystems have fallen on deaf ears in Washington, London, Berlin, and Beijing.

Film possesses the power to bring animals to the silver screen that we may not have seen due to our whereabouts geographically (or simply because they are extinct). With Jurassic World‘s latest installment Jurassic World Dominion just released in cinemas, it reminds us of the countless movies made over the years about extinct or endangered species, and here are some of the best…

5 Madagascar

While the majority of the animals featured in 2005’s Madagascar are technically considered ‘vulnerable’ rather than ‘endangered,’ Gloria the curvaceous Rhino (how about that combination of words, eh?) and her species represent a particularly threatened and endangered genus. Starring a host of famous voices, including Ben Stiller, Sacha Baron Cohen, David Schwimmer, Chris Rock, and Jada Pinkett Smith (disclaimer: no GI Jane jokes were made at the time of recording), the foundations were set for a rip-roaring kids film.

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Following the lives of animals bred in a New York Zoo, and then left to fend for themselves in their (un) natural habitats, with Rock, Stiller, Cohen, and the like, the film’s heavyweight comedic load was measured impressively, and it certainly delivers in a comic sense, albeit perhaps lacking a tad in the narrative department.

4 Ice Age

Disney’s Ice Age is one of the company’s flagship film series, telling the tale of Sid, Manny, and Diego the now extinct loquacious Sloth, Wooly Mammoth, and Saber-toothed tiger respectively as they traverse earth on the brink of an Ice Age to return a baby back to his father. The film is a delightful, amiably-natured animation that incorporates varying degrees of humor, from Scrat’s slapstick hunt for the seemingly unobtainable acorn entwined throughout the bulk of the action, to the heartwarming, funny relationships developed by the three main protagonists. Ice Age‘s appeal is, well, (ice) -ageless, and has the ability to appeal to an extensive audience, both young and old.

3 Life of Pi

Director Ang Lee claimed the Academy Award for Best Director at the 2013 Oscars for his screen adaptation of Yann Martel’s Booker Prize-winning Life of Pi. Pi Patel (played by both Irrfan Khan and Suraj Sharma) fights to survive while stranded at sea with an array of wild animals on his raft, including a ravenous 450-pound Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker. The picture’s visual display is one of supreme vibrancy and beautiful, almost hallucinatory shots.

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The film captures the essence of nature and wildlife in a multidimensional way, from its stunning beauty to its vicious, merciless, and at times, lethal tendencies. The film follows Pi’s extraordinary 227-day journey at sea, as he is forced to reach a level of self-reflection, resilience, and introspection he thought not possible. The use of 3D technology really immerses the viewer in the almost tangible, lucid frenzy.

2 Jurassic Park

Spielberg’s Jurassic Parkadapted from the Michael Crichton novel of the same name, details businessman John Hammond’s (Richard Attenborough) opening of a nature reserve full of cloned dinosaur DNA that, due to a security breach, inevitably escape and wreak havoc. Jurassic Park is in a select group of films that have transcended the generations since its release in 1993 as a catalyst for the use of state-of-the-art CGI in motion pictures, and the relaunch of the Dino-epic. The film has subsequently given way to a franchise, which has seen six films under the Jurassic Park or Jurassic World umbrella, albeit none of which have ever really equaled the stealthy feats of their birth-giver, 93’s Jurassic Park.

1 King Kong

It goes without saying that King Kong is not a realistic representation of a normal gorilla, but of a prehistoric species; nevertheless, his kind is indeed endangered. With a respectful nod to the 2005 remake which modernized the classicit is only fair to stay true to its origins, and the 1933 original utilized groundbreaking special effects that were ahead of their time, but as far as innovation goes was simply remarkable.

Using the likes of stop-motion animation and rear-projection in one of the first major ways to create the gargantuan beast set the precedent for special effects for years to come and revolutionized the way films are both made and watched. The story itself requires little in the way of introduction, featuring a gigantic prehistoric gorilla who’s been unintentionally stumbled upon by a film crew, who ultimately take him back to exhibit at a New York theater, only for him to escape and terrorize the streets of the city.

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