Hearing a harsh critique of SeaWorld only seems right coming from the people it meant the most to. (by thejoshl)
Without a doubt Blackfish is one of the most horrific theatre experiences you'll have this year. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite presents a very carefully constructed case on the effects of inhumane treatment of Orcas in captivity. The one-sided argument is that the untimely human deaths caused by captive Orcas were not their fault but rather the fault of their captors; SeaWorld, and the evidence proving this point is so disturbing and so shockingly obvious that it's no wonder SeaWorld refused to be interviewed.The story centers on Tilikum, a 12,000 lbs. Orca that is directly <more>
responsible for the death of 3 people, including Dawn Brancheau the former senior trainer at SeaWorld in Orlando. The film explores the reasoning behind the likely "psychosis" Tilikum has experienced in captivity, and the disgusting cover up executives have tried to make.While SeaWorld naturally refused to be interviewed, the films perspective mostly derives from former trainers/employees of SeaWorld and other various experts. Their experience working with Orcas - most having dedicated their lives to it - is truly heart breaking. Presenting the theory, the evidence and finally a solution to the topic at hand, Blackfish is a marvellous story that will have you as tearful as the trainers that sincerely care for the well being of the creatures.Blackfish doesn't just show a bunch of disgruntled former employees bashing SeaWorld either. The greatest technique employed in this film is its use of footage from shows featuring these trainers when they were younger. There's something so mesmerizing about watching the smiling young trainers play with their best friend while hearing their older self reminisce in voice over. Hearing a harsh critique of SeaWorld only seems right coming from the people it meant the most to.While we've always known Orca's are intelligent creatures Cowperthwaite dedicates a lot of the film to demonstrating their capacity for emotions as well; watching them over time build connections with their trainers and each other. So by the time they show us their capture and captivity and witness the pain felt the whales, Tilikum especially, we know that their violent behavior is a direct result of SeaWorld. Killer Whales having never harmed a human in the wild.I want to go through every point made by the movie but I won't. You need to see this for yourselves. The facts aren't what drive this film, the emotion behind them do. This is one of those movies you just won't stop talking about, and for the subject matter that's the best compliment it can receive. In the end sharing this information is what's going to help these Orcas.Between the gripping footage and the distressing stories Blackfish effectively proves its point. There are very few movies like this; a must-see. There is no way after seeing this movie that you'll ever want to go to SeaWorld again, and for the sake of the animals that's the only thing we can do for them. Since it's made quite clear; the only thing affecting their decision-making is: how many Shamu dolls and tickets they've sold.Our Rating:10/10Let me know on Twitter @thejoshl what you thought of Blackfish!
Film Moves With Fluidity of Wild Orca (by yazerin)
The documentary "Blackfish" just premiered at Sundance to much deserved rave reviews. It's a compelling story of a 12,000 pound orca who has been in captivity since 1983 when he was captured at the age of two. New footage and interviews with trainers who worked at SeaWorld and left disillusioned add dynamic interest to the overall question of whether or not these wild intelligent sentient animals should be kept in captivity. This is a story that will have you questioning what you thought you knew. See "Blackfish" if you're interested in orcas; see it if <more>
you're interested in the truth; see it for no other reason than to find out why SeaWorld doesn't want you to see it. This film moves with the fluidity of a wild orca in the ocean. Don't miss out on seeing "Blackfish" because it's going to change the way you think.
So excited to stumble on this promo (by cooki2581)
I am so happy the cruelty behind captive whales is being exposed. I was so excited to see this promo on IMDb. Seeing the 20 seconds of the whales being taken from the ocean and then where they kept them after made me want to cry. I doubt I'll be able to watch the movie without crying. What Sea World and other theme parks like them are doing is wrong and cruel and I'm so glad more people are going to see this. Every parent who takes their kid to Sea World should be required to watch this first. I went to Sea World twice for school functions in high school and I didn't think <more>
anything of it. When I look back on it, I am mad that I was put in the position to have to go. I hope this film also changes schools views on field trips or band trips or drill team trips to Sea World. I have been fighting and protesting Sea World and the circus for years now. The more people who know about what really happens the better for these poor animals. THANK YOU to the person who made this documentary.
I saw this documentary at the Sundance film festival London. I travelled down from Manchester as i could not wait for the Uk cinema release. After Seeing The Cove in 2009 after swimming with Captive Dolphins myself in 2006 to get over a family bereavement x 2. I never knew what dolphins did in captivity - just that it was one of the things i wanted to do before i die. After seeing them entertain people again & again, eat dead fish & float in a small tank all day i needed to see the pain Orcas go through. I'm glad Blackfish has been made. YOU need to see this film if you love <more>
mammals & any other intelligent animal in captivity...My eyes were opened at The Cove....if this doesn't then you are very selfish....Money is defo the Rule of all Evil. I will be taking all my friends & family to see this. After 5 days I am still thinking about it & can't believe these parks are still open :
Nice orca; let's torture it. Murder mystery with SeaWorld as villain and you as willing accomplice. (by TheSquiss)
In February 2010, reports of the accidental death of a killer whale trainer, Dawn Brancheau, at SeaWorld, Orlando featured in newspapers and TV bulletins across the globe. How could such a tragedy occur? What on earth was Brancheau thinking? How could she make such a silly mistake? Then the story changed and it appeared this very experienced trainer was attacked by the orca, Tilikum. Shockwaves rippled. What? A gentle giant killed a human that cared for it? Suddenly killer whales lived up to their fearsome moniker and became the villains of the moment.Then the story changed again and the <more>
truth began to emerge Blackfish is a startling documentary from Gabriela Cowperthwaite that investigates the reality behind the sparkling waters and bright lights of the SeaWorld parks, not that they are alone in their mistreatment of these startling, intelligent, beautiful creatures. She trawls through the archives to reveal that Brancheau's death was neither a freak accident nor an isolated attack from a vicious animal, but just one of many examples since humans decided it was acceptable to kidnap young orcas for the pleasure and pockets of humans. Kidnap? Is such a strong word appropriate? Watch Blackfish, listen to the mother make "sounds we've never heard an orca make before" in a harrowing display of grief and then decide.Watching Blackfish and still choosing to visit SeaWorld or another such aquatic zoo is surely on the same level as taking your kids to McDonalds even though you know you're poisoning them. If I were reviewing the subject of Blackfish, like 2009's powerfully distressing The Cove, it would surely warrant a perfect score. Upon the evidence here, even if you've chosen not to see the truth of our actions in the past, there's no contest. It's wrong, it's unacceptable, it's a despicable thing we do when we steal these creatures from their oceans and trap them in tiny prisons. But the review is not for the subject matter but for the manner in which it is presented to us.Blackfish isn't perfect. It doesn't have quite the same profound, lasting impact as The Cove. Perhaps that is, in part, down to the lack of shocking imagery. The footage of orcas bleeding copiously into their pools, having been attacked by other killer whales, is sickening but because it is on a smaller scale than the mass slaughter of dolphins that dyed the cove scarlet there is a risk the impact will be reduced. It shouldn't be, it mustn't be, but We shouldn't need to see it to believe it, but we've become a far more visually inspired breed in recent years.More than that, Blackfish doesn't give a lot of time to the other side of the story. I'm intrigued to know quite how SeaWorld could possibly defend its actions but, as they declined to be interviewed, this is a very one-sided documentary. I can't help thinking this imperative cause would be even more compelling if we could hear the excuses.Another unexplained mystery is how Cowperthwaite obtained the footage she has of SeaWorld. Presumably they didn't give it to her willingly. But these are minor quibbles with a documentary that is as sickening as it is compelling. Interviews with apologetic, horrified former SeaWorld trainers and tear-streaked 'kidnappers' impart the information we need to educate, inform, convince or perhaps even convert us.First, Cowperthwaite teaches us about the orcas: Their brains are superior to ours in certain aspects; their emotional attachment far exceeds ours, with offspring remaining with their mother long into adulthood; each family group or pod has it's own culture and 'language' for communication.She then counters that with the lies perpetuated by the SeaWorld staff that we choose to believe: Orcas live longer, up to 35 years, in captivity due to the care available – actually, in the wild, it's up to 50 for males and can be closer to a hundred for the females.Male dorsal fin collapse is normal – absolutely, it's 100% in captivity. However, in their natural environment it occurs approximately 1% of the time.Killer whales enjoy performing the tricks in tiny pools for us – um As more and more evidence of orca psychosis brought on by cruelty and captivity unfolds, Blackfish becomes increasingly difficult to watch. The sight of peeling paint in a tiny, floating warehouse into which the orcas are herded every night is saddening. Hearing that they are punished for not performing perfectly is horrifying. Watching them bleed, observing them rock in grief or cry out to their stolen offspring is heartbreaking.The message throughout Blackfish is that faceless managers steal killer whales along with dolphins and countless other creatures from their natural habitats, subject them to abuse and solitary confinement in woefully cramped enclosures so that we can pay to watch them perform unnatural tricks for our cameras, and so the owners can watch their bank accounts swell. The message is, it isn't about entertainment or protection of a species, it's about money.But what stamps the reality more indelibly than anything that comes before it, is the comment from one of the former trainers in the final scene. As they sail through the ocean, watching a pod of killer whales free and at peace in their natural environment, he comments, "We saw orcas swimming in straight lines with straight dorsal fins... it was an honour." For more reviews from The Squiss, subscribe to my blog and like the Facebook page.
On how humans should and should not encounter orca whales (by imdb-694-11888)
First, that's a great documentary: it beautifully combines Herzog's "Grizzly Man" thrilling, escalating tension of how things go wrong when humans misinterpret their relation with nature with Achbar & Abbott's "The Corporation" sharp examination of modern-day companies.Second, it is aesthetically captivating and pleasant to follow. Cowperthwaite's reconstructs the narrative leading to the final, and fatal, encounter of Tilikum and Dawn Brancheau, alternating footage, both in the wild and in aquariums, with interviews and contextual data. Finally, it is <more>
a work that, without ever abandoning neutrality, serves a mostly noble cause: that against the confinement of animals that are intelligent, social, and set to crisscross oceans, not to be kept in tanks.My hope is that, by being such a fine piece of art, it also helps change the industry of marine-life entertainment theme parks.So "Blackfish" is a big splash in more than one way! Go watch it.
This year is already shaping up to be a great one for documentaries and Blackfish is quickly earning the reputation of being the most essential. And it absolutely deserves it. Although its an emotionally charged argument, there's a rational logic behind it. Every time there's found footage of killer whale incidents it's utterly gut-wrenching and you can't help but dread the moments that inevitably shook the world when they could've been prevented. Fortunately, the filmmakers find a different way to present the footage each time and it keeps it from feeling repetitive and <more>
builds to feeling more heart breaking at every turn. In its use of talking head interviews with former trainers, it ends up genuinely dramatic without feeling melodramatic as many documentaries can. It oozes with passion for the creatures which helps enforce its argument against their treatment, not just for better protection for trainers, but for corporations like SeaWorld to not turn a blind eye at the clear injustice they've cased. What's the moral cost of the business and entertainment? I certainly won't ever be able to be entertained by animal acts without thinking about Blackfish. Thisis an extremely powerful documentary that's brilliantly structured, tragic and cinematic. More than worth your time.8/10
Like many I guess, I've seen and considered myself entertained by the sea creatures at Sea World. I was aware of the death of one of the trainers at one of these shows from some years ago but put it down to being an occupational hazard, a tragic but accidental death. This well-made, provocative documentary takes that sad story as its starting point and digs deeper, painting up a tawdry tale of greed, deception and apparent wilful abandonment of care by the named entertainment company, which significantly declined to comment on any of the major accusations lodged here.From the horrible <more>
death of the female trainer in 2010, caught on video, but mercifully cut before she is actually killed, the production traces back the story of the only too well named killer whale and its history of previous attacks on other trainers, caused, allegedly by years of mistreatment of the animal. Sea World's part in a similar European tragedy involving the death of a Spanish trainer only adds to the charge sheet.A host of former trainers now recanting their previously parroted company-speak of how well the animals are treated is a particularly effective device, but there's much good detective work besides. Most of all, the film isn't afraid to point the finger at the multimillion dollar corporation Sea World and while I hesitate to come to a judgement without the accused exercising the right of reply, it's hard not to conclude that this was an accident, if that's the correct word, waiting to happen.The film is happy to confine its aim to Sea World alone, but I'm sure I'm not alone in reconsidering my position on the capture and training of animals for our entertainment not only in water parks, but also of course in circuses and zoos.A sad, sobering, look into an unacceptable mode of entertainment which has surely had its day.
For those who dreamed of one day going to Sea World, this film gives you 2nd thoughts. (by Amari-Sali)
Like many people who grew up in the 90s, part of my childhood fantasies were going to Disney World and going to SeaWorld. Of course, neither of which were close, or affordable, so that never happened. But, going to both places, especially Disney World, never leaves your hopes and dreams, and seemingly becomes the type of trip you do with your kids not just as a treat, but because you want to live vicariously through them. But, one night while watching Bill Maher's Real Time, there was an interview about this film and it was quite disparaging. Now, with the movie easily available, I found <more>
myself intently watching.To begin, there aren't any characters in the film, per se, but there are repeat faces. Many of them are former SeaWorld trainers and while we watch and listening to their discussions, you realize one thing: None of them really were qualified when they first started their positions as trainers. They will even tell you that themselves, for none of them had advanced degrees in marine biology or veterinarian care, they were simply animal lovers who found a job. And they convey a sense of naivety as we go from talking about their background to meeting a slew of killer whales, with the film giving a spotlight on one in particular: Tilikum.As for the overall "story" of the film. What the documentary looks into is similar to what The East tried to do. Companies like SeaWorld have incidents and accidents yearly, in fact, there supposedly have been at least 70 incidents with killer whales since the 1970s. But, since this was the time before the internet, they quickly wrote most things off as "accidents" and faulted the trainer more so than the animal. However, in this film we see what happens to these animals to make so these events are certainly no accident. It all very much plays out like a Killer Whale version of the triangular trade. We watch as these animals are taken from their cultures, and their families, and forced to work day in and day out for the measliest of meals. Because of this, they become frustrated, are sometimes forced into isolation and sometimes end up having to fend against those they cohabit with for despite being the same species, as we learn, between their cultural differences and gender, this can lead them to attacking, if not killing each other. And the film doesn't just show Tilikum, as if he is a rare example, but various whales since the 70s which really help substantiate their claim.Now to be honest, I am not a huge animal lover. This isn't to say I would kick a dog in the street, but at the same time I wouldn't be the type of pick him or her up and take her to an animal hospital. With that said though, this is the type of film, which I wish The East was. A film that really makes you want to be involved, even if it is just spreading this film around. I say this because, to me, it really does make you upset at companies like SeaWorld when you learn about these intelligent animals and what happens to them in captivity. Also, it makes you feel supremely ignorant like when you learn what is happening in Syria is just a repeat of the past, or how things are going on in the country, state, or even town you live in, and don't know a damn thing about what is going on. So, needless to say, the film is very informative and provides not just testimonies, but also pictures and videos of not just whales attacking humans, but also the environment which turns an intelligent animal into a beast.But, one thing I do wish there was more of, though their argument would have been hard to fight with, was some opposition. Naturally, SeaWorld didn't comment at all in the film, but instead they got one former trainer who seemed so much like a stooge that you just roll your eyes whenever he appears. And really, that would have been the only thing I would have wanted more of. For the film finds other companies which admit guilt, as well as people who made a living capturing Killer Whales, but the lack of any real opposition or serious counter argument makes it so you don't necessarily think they are lying to you, but you really do want to get into the head of the people who support and continue this practice.Overall: Definitely a Go SeeTruth be told, I like documentaries with some type of narrative like this and what Disney produces time to time. But, it should be noted, this is a bit more like an expose than Disney's "look at these cute, but deadly, animals act like live-action versions of what makes us money." With that said, I do recommend seeing this movie if you are curious, an animal lover looking for some facts for a future argument or someone, like me, who has had an interest in places like SeaWorld which thrive on animal entertainment. I can't say though if this is worth a buy or not, but it is at least a rental.