Friday, May 28, 2021

Endangered Species Review: An Important Underlying Message That Is Lost In The Wild

Rebecca Romijn	...	Lauren Halsey Philip Winchester	Philip Winchester	...	Jack Halsey Isabel Bassett	Isabel Bassett	...	Zoe Halsey Michael Johnston	Michael Johnston	...	Noah Halsey Chris Fisher	Chris Fisher	...	BIlly Mason Jerry O'Connell	Jerry O'Connell	...	Mitch Hanover Brenda Ngeso	Brenda Ngeso	...	Ndiliswa George Glenn Ouma	George Glenn Ouma	...	Charlie Aseem Sharma	Aseem Sharma	...	Aya Pritul Raithatha	Pritul Raithatha	...	Dirk Venter Stephen Adogo	Stephen Adogo	...	Lucas Danica Davis	Danica Davis	...	Medic #1 Kirk Fonda	Kirk Fonda	...	Nuru Isaac Naiganya	Isaac Naiganya	...	Uniformed Guard Matthew Owiti	Matthew Owiti	...	Car Guy

Release date: May 28, 2021
Running time: 101 minutes
Starring: Rebecca Romijn, Philip Winchester, Isabel Bassett, Michael Johnston, Chris Fisher, Jerry O'Connell
Written and By: M.J. Bassett
Directed By: Isabel Bassett, M.J. BassettPaul Chronnell

ENDANGERED SPECIES is an intense, action packed survival-adventure about a wealthy American family who travel to the vast African wilderness of Kenya hoping for a dream vacation filled with excitement, bonding and a chance to fix the growing rifts within their family. But when their safari vehicle is attacked by a rhino protecting her calf, the family is left stranded miles from help and their dream vacation turns into a nightmarish struggle for survival in a world where they are the bottom of the food chain.

Kyle Ambrose	...	executive producer Delon Bakker	...	executive producer M.J. Bassett	...	producer Barry Brooker	...	executive producer Kwesi Dickson	...	producer David Haring	...	executive producer Molly Hassell	...	producer Brett Hodgkinson	...	co-producer Paul Hornsby	...	co-producer Julie Kroll	...	co-executive producer Scott Mann	...	co-executive producer Jade Manuel	...	co-producer Christian Mercuri	...	executive producer Yolisa Pahle	...	executive producer Hemal Shah	...	line producer Jim Shamoon	...	production executive for blue sky films kenya' Lorna Soonhee	...	co-producer Allan Sperling	...	executive producer Jay Taylor	...	producer Roman Viaris-de-Lesegno	...	executive producer Stan Wertlieb	...	executive producer Philip Winchester	...	co-producer
Endangered Species throws you for a loop.  It starts as a seemingly family friendly vacation film but early on some cracks start to appear.  The family argues a lot and there is some less family friendly language, which lets you know that this family vacation may not be a trip to paradise.  Overall the family is a nice collection of very distinct personalities.  Each character adds a facet to this group and I really liked the rebellious children.  The daughter Zoe (Bassett) is very opinionated and argumentative with her father, which is grating at times but it was nice to have an outspoken daughter character.  And the son Noah (Johnston) was a more dutiful child that is trying to please his father but also be true to himself.  And it was definitely great to see Jerry O'Connell back on screen who plays a complicated but charismatic character.

And the beginning of Endangered Species is a lot of fun.  I loved seeing the shots of the African landscape and wildlife.  It was a treat to experience and it definitely made me want to visit the continent to see what it has to offer.  However, Endangered Species's story is kind of a mess.  The film just does not really know what it wants to be.  It is at various times a humorous family trip, a survival thriller, a heartfelt vacation, and a rebellious drama.  The family makes some pretty terrible decisions that seem slightly out of character with what we know for them.  And when the movie turns into more of a survival thriller, it starts to show more cracks. For one, the animals that are shown are computer generated, which was probably a requirement given what they do, but it just looks off.  It broke the feeling of disbelief to see a majestic animal that moved just a little to robotically or stood out against the background.  And during the thriller parts, some characters get injured seemingly randomly and other characters have turns that just seem strange.  And underlying all this is a message that comes clear at the end, but the film just doesn't seem like a good vehicle for this.  I feel like there were the components of a good movie here but they got muddled because the film tried to do too much.  It feels like had the film come on one side or the other--either be a family friendly daring adventure or a survival thriller--it might have done a better job.  But the way it ended up is a confusing safari that might not be a trip worth taking..

Endangered Species has an important underlying message that is lost in the strange family dynamics and inconsistent thriller storyline.  

Pass on it.

Directed by  M.J. Bassett	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Isabel Bassett	 M.J. Bassett	 Paul Chronnell	...	(story by)
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Endangered Species is available in theaters on May 28, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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