If the actions you see in this documentary shock you, your lifestyle, if it hasn't already, has to be reconsidered.
The images in Earthlings are ones that viewers can never forget. In its merciless and brutal honesty, the viewers have to learn things that are a painful truth and witness the visual suffering of animals in a manner so painful it could only be topped by witnessing it in real life as opposed to on screen. There is no denying the shocking effect of the film. Viewers bear witness to animals being tortured, murdered and turned into slaves simply so that the species that dominates this planet can gain physical joy and energy off of their suffering. At times, viewers see pigs who have their ears clipped and their genitals castrated without painkillers before crying out in suffering only to the sound of others doing the same, or even turning to cannibalism to survive the desperate conditions. In a world sheltered by the media who glamourize their killing through big budget KFC commercials, Earthlings is a film which tells the truth. What I learned is that the truth can be more brutal and unforgiving than you could have ever imagined. One of the most difficult things is the fact that while viewers sit behind the screen suffering at the sight of animals being thrown alive into trash compactors or strung up to have their throats slit, there are people on the other side of the screen getting sadistic joy out of killing them. This is practically the epitome of evil in the world's treatment of animals: the fact that taking the life of another creature is actually a source of joy for some people. While the sport of hunting is bad enough, Earthlings shows human beings sadistically beating animals to death with blunt objects until they are beyond dead. The entire film is a brutal depiction of how we treat animals, and that is practically the endeavour of it all which really goes to show exactly what it is to not only bite the hand that feeds us, but stomp and spit on it.
The amount of painful imagery in Earthlings is overwhelming. In that sense, it can leave the viewer in a severe state of disbelief at times. For me, I found that the pain of it all was so shocking that after a while I was desensitized by it. The disgusting treatment of creatures is pushed so much as being a key part of our society's source of food, clothing and entertainment that eventually, the viewer is forced to confront that this kind of violence is actually normalized in our existence and many of us refuse to admit to that. It is hard not to admit it after seeing Earthlings, and though the brutality of the film left me so shocked that the part of me that wanted to cry was unable to by the end of the film, it was such an important experience because director Shaun Monson really holds nothing back at all. He exposes all the brutality of the industry from meat production to puppy mills, and what he reveals is beyond comprehension for even me as a vegetarian. It just reminded me that there is a universe of suffering for animals out there, and this 95 minutes documentary only covered a fraction of it.
One thing which is really important in Animal rights is the treatment of domestic animals. Earthlings forces viewers to confront just how we treat domestic animals in such an expendable manner, dumping them in shelters when we are tired of them careless as to the fact that euthanasia is left to be their fate. When we think of how animals are systematically oppressed, domestic animals are not often thought of. In Earthlings, it is the first thing addressed. There is so much more to confront in the film and so it starts out with something harsh without being excessive in gore. Nevertheless, we see animals being dragged to their deaths and even given the final injection to witness the pain and suffering that is "the peace" of death. From an atmosphere perspective, this gives viewers a chance to transition into the horrors of the documentation. If that section doesn't leave viewers shocked, then the rest of the film is bound to because that is tame in comparison to the rest of the suffering depicted in Earthlings.
And to emphasize the hidden nature of animal sports, Earthlings touches upon concepts such as the treatment of bulls at rodeos, examining their suffering and showing the animals in a more positive light to the savage and violent creatures they are too often depicted as in the media. The only savage creatures in Earthlings are the people who do this to animals and find joy in it, because that is plain sadism.
The narration in the film is thoroughly important. While Earthlings could have used the narration to push a political agenda, instead. Joaquin Phoenix uses his voice simply to explain the truth behind everything that shows. We don't need him to tell us that the awful slave trading and torture in the film is dreadful, he simply explains it all in key detail with a neutral approach to it all. Joaquin Phoenix maintains a sense of wisdom in his role as narrator, and it makes the experience seem all the more legitimate. He ties the script into the film really well, and against the backdrop of the music composed by Moby, it really comes off as being atmospheric.
So although it can be overwhelming, Earthlings does so in the best sense of the word by forcing viewers to confront the brutality in treatments of all animals in different parts of the world which really causes them to re-examine their own existence and the role they play on contributing to the suffering without doing so in a manner which shoves a political agenda down their throat.
How Earthlings sets up it proposition is by it's opening. By elaborating how over the years there existed racism, sexism, and speciesism. This is the idea of assigning different values or rights to members depending on their species, or in other words favoring one's own species. It acknowledges its purpose, in that it is demonstrating how animals have come to serve humankind. Never does it compare these crimes in being directly connected to one another as much it attempts to draw parallels that drive those action. Instead of making a direct comparison to the Holocaust it decides to make correlations; the most significant relation being both are caused by humans with power abusing those without power. What nonsense right? There's no way the Holocaust is similar to...well now that I think about it there's truth to that. The target isn't a single race or religion beliefs in this case, but instead an entire species which is being murdered for another specific purpose. Tackling different aspects of the subject in five segments; pets, food, clothes, entertainment, and scientific research. Each receive different amount of screen time and each use a similar tactic to get their point across. Drawing parallel to a crime alongside footage of that goes along with said segments.
As much Earthlings is consider the definitive animal rights film by animal rights organizations, much like PETA efforts, their delivery can be heavy handed and some aspects flimsy. One of the major flimsy aspects are it statistics on how many animals are killed by humans. Being blown over proportion to the point that makes you questioned how in the world a particular specie shown in the film hasn't become instinct. These statistics go into the billions which holds true for fish, but with other animals just accepting the facts becomes a mind game of what's true and fabricated. There is truth to be found in what's it saying, but exaggerating on the facts partially fail to inform the audience and instead make them question more if the information given to them is true inspite of the footage being played. Another issue is the film becomes very heavy handed in it delivery towards the end. The film last ten minutes beats the "animals suffered for our livelihood, man is bad" point over the head that is gives off an anti-human vibe. Despite claiming that all lifeforms consider Earthlings and should not contain the mindset of speciesism. The music by Moby sets a somber tone without being intrusive, and the narration by Joaquin Phoenix is very matter of fact. Though the script at times seems a bit heavy-handed, even quoting Shakespeare's King Lear at one point, Phoenix's delivery is calm and measured, in contrast with the visual horrors unfolding on-screen.
Earthlings graphic footage of animal cruelty and the degree it shows it too warrant the content in this film is not for everyone. For that it message delivery becomes cloudy, but never is it point ever loss. It certainly heavy handed towards the final minutes, but even before reaching the end it's capable of persuading.
This documentary is a good look at humanity, both MALES for the killing and FEMALES for the wearing of the fur coats. NO human be it female or male are in the right here. ALL are to blame. This is so sick and so sad its humbling. But then there's the other side of it. We need food. The detachmentthat these farmers have for the animals comes from the fact, that's their job. I think some are serial killers and murderers. But their job IS to murder on our behalf. You can't sugar coat it. Farming is murder for our benefit humane or inhumane. Doesn't matter what your opinion is of it. I eat meat, so ill put that out there right now. However, there must be a better way to do this.
Maybe if there is a GOD, his entire plan all a long was to wipe out all animals lifeby using us to do it and then inturn wipe ourselves out and then start the whole experiment again with new creatures he's making in the ocean right now that we can't see.
I went in having been told that I should have tissues there and be expected to cry. I expected to be upset but scoffed at the crying. I've been vegetarian now for YEARS and feel I've seen almost any slaughter video, fur video, animal abuse video.
I am haunted by videos of cows trying to escape the path to the slaughter room. Dogs blinking on a dead pile after their skin has been removed. These images have been deeply embedded in my mind for years. Solidifying my stance and strengthening me against the abuse I would receive from angry meat eaters (my term for meat consumers who rage when they hear I am veg)
How wrong I was. They start by instilling in the viewer just how much humans truly are the ultimate foolish ass hole in the world (something I already believed). With only a sampling of the past 100 years. Racism, sexism, molestation, rape, war. Then they break down our interactions with nature and animals in 5 parts. Starting first with pets. I knew I already hated that people don't spay/neuter their pets. I knew I already hated people for simply abandoning their pets when they can't afford them or they move to a new place etc. But I didn't know ....oh I didn't know how far, how terrible and how commonly horrid people can be. The images shown to me in the first 5 minutes of part I have me choking back tears now. Humans are absolutely, irrefutably ass holes.
I watched this with David and I DID warn him at parts to close his eyes. I knew he wouldn't want to see what was coming up next at some points when I would see clips I'd already seen. The fur industry clips of china raccoon dogs, skinned alive and tossed into a pile. I covered my face but it didn't help. I could see in my mind the image David was seeing and I wept. I heard him, "OHHHHHH!" and knew it was now planted in his minds eye.
I DIDN'T know that leather DOESN'T come from the meat industry, This only further solidified my HATRED for the leather industry. It also destroys the argument people give me all the time. I'm always told, "Why don't you wear leather? The animals already dead?!" Of course my response is, "The hot dog is already dead too. I still don't eat it! I don't support the killing of animals! I think you are confusing this with me not wanting to personally kill animals. I don't support the KILLING of animals."
But now that I know the process of leather it sickens me even more :(
This movie, actually informed me and made me sick. But strengthened me again and for that I must give it 5 stars.