Back From the Brink: Saved from Extinction 3D – Film Review

Back from the Brink: Saved from Extinction 3D is a concise, positive, and visually stunning look at the efforts made by scientists, park rangers and students to successfully reverse the negative impacts mankind has had on three different endangered species across the globe.

The film is the latest amazing exclusive documentary on display on IMAX screens. It comes narrated by actress Claire Danes and directed by Sean C. Casey whose credits include several highly successful storm chaser shows for both National Geographic and Discovery Channel.

I’m definitely a fan of the IMAX format of documentary filmmaking and always make an effort to check out everyone that I can. Regarding endangered species, I found this film a refreshing take in a sea of doom and gloom nature documentaries, itself focusing on the positive change made by conservationists. I feel this is important to instil a sense of hope in the children of today that the issues plaguing our world are not beyond fixing, and that we can leave the world in a better state than we found it if we try.

An issue faced by IMAX documentaries is the shorter running time due to the excessive cost of the format. While many of them can finish too early, leaving me wanting more, Back from the Brink is structured in a sort of a three act way which worked well to avoid this disappointment. The three stories are all about completely different creatures in different locations which have been brought ‘back from the brink’ of extinction in varied ways, so the flow of the documentary never becomes redundant.

There is the Channel Island Fox, a small Californian mammal which has become endangered due to the invasion of Golden Eagles into their environment, brought about by the dwindling numbers of local Bald Eagles. There’s also the Christmas Island Red Crab which has been all but wiped out due to an accidental introduction and eventual infestation of Crazy Yellow Ants. The solution to this being the introduction of yet another species, Malaysian micro wasps, to deplete the food supply which has caused the explosion of ants. With the documentary pointing out Australia’s unfortunate history with introduced species such as the Cane Toad, this is quite a risky proposition indeed.

The stars of the show are the adorable Snub-Nosed Golden Monkeys or ‘Snubbies’ as their protectors have dubbed them, hiding away in the mountains of China’s Yunnan Province. We’re told the story of how these cute animals were almost hunted to extinction and how many people didn’t even know they existed until someone sought them out and spread awareness through his photography. Now, these creatures are ironically protected by the very hunters who years ago caused their dwindling numbers.

Of course, as an IMAX presentation, it goes without saying that this documentary features stunning high-definition visuals and is exactly what audiences are looking for when they go to an IMAX cinema. Added to this, the 3D aspect is a welcome addition and had me thinking that if Hollywood movies kept up this same level of immersive 3D spectacle, the gimmick wouldn’t have died out as much as it has.

Back from the Brink: Saved from Extinction 3D is potentially the most enjoyable experience I have ever had with an IMAX documentary. A wonderful experience for young and old alike, as it teaches the importance of conservation and the lesson that man made problems can sometimes have man made solutions.

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