Monday, August 5, 2013
NEW MOVIE REVIEW: Blackfish
I am not a 'Save the Whales' person, nor am I any kind of activist for animals, much less anything else. I'm sure I should be, but I'm not. I tell you this just so you don't feel that you have to have this area of interest in order to enjoy this film.
By 'enjoy', of course, I don't mean 'have a jolly time.' I mean 'have a worthwhile experience that makes you feel your time and money were well-spent.' Maybe 'appreciate' would have been a better choice of word. Anyhow, the film is a good one. Very thought-provoking.
For one thing, I never really gave SeaWorld much thought. I think I saw one of those dolphin/whale shows many years ago, but, frankly, it was never really of great interest to me, so I didn't think about it much. I don't really like the circus at all, and I think carting animals all across the country in cages to do shows is a bad idea, but I never gave a second thought to the marine-life shows.
Blackfish does a very good job of capturing your interest regardless of whether or not the subject interested you before. It moves compellingly along weaving historical information with recent events and the stories of the lives of whales as told by their human trainers and researchers. I quite enjoyed learning about the natural tendencies of the orcas in the wild. Did you know they travel with their moms for life? You couldn't help but feel the love for these intelligent, social, community-oriented beings.
And speaking of love, there are several truly poignant interviews with trainers. You can see how deeply bonded they become to these whales. It is heartbreaking to hear some of the stories of how a young person comes so enthusiastically into the training system yet learns over time that it just doesn't feel right. The film presents its case clearly, simply, and engagingly.
After seeing Blackfish, despite the arguments presented by SeaWorld, I can now say, unequivocally, the whale shows are a bad idea. I gather that SeaWorld does a lot of work to raise awareness of marine mammals and to raise money for rescue and research. Those are great things, and donations can be made specifically to the sub-division in SeaWorld that focuses on those things, but I can no longer see supporting the entertainment division, ever, at all. They can get into the whale-watching business or some other program whereby you can observe the orcas in their natural habitat, but Seaworld needs to be pressured into stopping the breeding of whales into captivity for the purpose of these shows. It's really disturbing.
I feel like this documentary is an eye-opener that pretty much anyone will find compelling. I'd like you to check it out.