Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This 2011 prequel might seem like an odd choice, but the exceptional motion capture performance by Andy Sirkis evokes incredible empathy for the apes. There are some very realistic moments in the film that make uncomfortable viewing, and whilst this blockbuster obviously isn’t about conservation, the underlying message of humanity as a threat to these endangered animals resonates. It’s mainstream disguise packs a powerful emotional punch without any political propaganda, and might just reach audiences traditional activists can’t.
Food Inc. This is an incredible insight into the food industry of the United States. It makes for incredible viewing. I can only hope that the UK doesn’t choose to follow a similar path in the future.
Project Nim. A formidable glimpse into animal experimentation, this is an entirely true story. Nim was removed from his mother at only a few days old destined to be raised like a human child. Psychologists wanted to witness just how much the species boundaries could be pushed, with a view to accomplishing meaningful communication. Nim spends his childhood with two seperate families until the inevitable happens- he grows too big, too strong, and too wild for the ‘experiment’ to continue. Funding is cut, and Nim is abandoned to a life of rejection, medical experimentation, and abuse. Truly moving from start to finish, opinions are left in the hands of the viewer making for an incredibly educational experience. An absolute must see.