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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Animals > Nature > Preservation > Crime > Attacks > The Elephant In The Living Room (2011/Nightfly/First Look Blu-ray)

The Elephant In The Living Room (2011/Nightfly/First Look Blu-ray)


Picture: B-     Sound: C+     Extras: B     Documentary: B



Animals deserve all the rights and protections they can get, but it takes laws to make this happen, which is why dogs and cats (for instance) have to be registered and licensed and bad things happen when they are not.  Pit Bull dogs can be so dangerous, it is amazing that they are not banned to have much stricter rules considering all the attack stories you hear everyday and the fact that they are abused and exploited to be “power dogs” used for fights, intimidation and directly attacking people.  Why are they not?  Because it turns out hundreds of even more dangerous exotic animals are not and Michael Webber’s important new documentary The Elephant In The Living Room (2011) shows us how this has become a crisis.


Elephants, tigers, bears, lions, snakes and many other such creatures are remarkably unlicensed and there are no standards whatsoever on how to handle them.  As a result, they have become increasingly a big business with its own almost-underground economy that can be sold to anyone of any age!


Any age?  Yes, even 8 year olds can have boa constricters and venomous snakes as the people who actually know what these animals are about are a very tiny minority in the U.S. alone versus the crazy market that has grown dealing in them.  This ranges from people selling them, to people who often do not have the ability to take care of them trying to keep them failing to fatal attacks.  Since this was first screened, the horrid Ohio incident where a man killed himself and let loose dozens of exotics (in part because of lack of laws) led to authorities having to “shot-to-kill” most of them.  We meet Tim Harrison in his crusade to help these animals and see the animals and human victims in this mad situation that keeps growing into a larger problem.


Those who want to keep selling used the false argument that people with “nothing to do” are using “fear” to go in and regulate things and Webber shows both sides of the story and all of its grey area.  Those words simply cannot be trusted.  With more animals needing to be shot to protect people, more animals being abandoned (which increases breeding of unmanageable exotics and calls for so many more of them to be killed as their increase also fills up any facility that could host them) to a record number of attacks on people is all about fact and not fear.  It is just some are in such denial (starting with thinking wild animals are somehow not wild because they say so or “understanding” them will make them less harmful) is a big problem and the Ohio incident has led to debates about more laws, but the problem is far from addressed.


There are no villains here, just that abuse all around needs to stop before a worst crisis occurs and Elephant In The Living Room is one of the most timely of documentaries.  As it becomes more apparent that Mr. Harrison’s outrage is 100% on the money, this program will turn out to be most prophetic.



The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is as to be expected when you mix new HD footage, undercover lower-def footage and analog video (often from various TV sources) to show viewers what is going on.  Editing is usually pretty good and the overall presentation professional.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is basically in stereo, but some TV audio is mono, location audio has the expected issues and other scenes have more monophonic sound as is the case for this kind of documentary.


Extras include a Theatrical Trailer, 18 minutes of Deleted Scenes, 48 minutes of Untold Stories, a featurette called Beyond The Call and feature length audio commentary by Director Webber.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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