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The Dodo's Guide to Surviving Extinction (2007)



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Cast overview:
Dilly Barlow ...
Herself - Narrator (voice)
Roger Smith ...
Himself (as Dr Roger Smith)
Peter Ward ...
Himself (as Dr Peter Ward)
Vincent Courtillot ...
Himself (as Prof Vincent Courtillot)
E.O. Wilson ...
Himself (as Prof E O Wilson)
Julian Hume ...
Himself (as Dr Julian Hume)
Jared Diamond ...
Himself (as Prof Jared Diamond)
Mark Wright ...
Himself (as Dr Mark Wright)
Tom Kemp ...
Himself (as Dr Tom Kemp)
Errol Fuller ...
Paul Pearce-Kelly ...
Beth Shapiro ...
Herself (as Dr Beth Shapiro)
David Cowdrey ...
Rosa Hill ...
Michael Boulter ...
Himself (as Prof Michael Boulter)


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Release Date:

4 November 2007 (UK)  »

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User Reviews

Hammers its overall point home a bit heavily but is mostly an engaging and sobering documentary
4 December 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The intriguing title was enough to make me check this documentary out recently and the tone at times does seem to match the rather light hearted mood that it suggests it will have. This is not to say that it is jokey, but just that it has some spark to it as opposed to some documentaries that are very dry to the point of choking the casual viewer. The approach makes the film quite accessible from the very start and this is built on with a well structured argument.

The "lessons of the Dodo" are not really what they appear because it is only two or three that the Dodo itself really backs up (avoid humans and islands) but what it does do is provide a structure of the film to deliver its key points. Mostly these are well backed up with examples. Those from the past (ie outside of my lifetime) are interesting and delivered with just the right level of detail. However it is the modern examples that pack the most emotional punch as they do effectively demonstrate the extent of the problem.

Sadly it follows this line too far and the final 5 minutes (although they seem longer) are heavy handed and overwrought. Here we get reminded of how we are heading right into another extinction event and that humans themselves could be wiped out. It is a massive jump to make and the only people I can see it working on are those in the choir, already convinced that total destruction is coming (not just the significant change that the majority seem to believe in). If there is a strong scientific case behind the conclusion then the film failed to produce it either at the end or during the film. It is a shame because up till then it had built and supported itself well, the ending just leaves a rather sour taste at the end as mostly it had avoided being preachy or overbearing.

Apart from the clumsy conclusion though, it is accessible, well structured and interesting documentary on the important subject of species extinction.

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