Well as you probably know I don't usually do movie reviews, and when I do it is usually for a movie made from a book. After watching Blackfish though I decided to make an exception.
Many of us have experienced the excitement and awe of watching 8,000 pound orcas, or "killer whales," soar out of the water and fly through the air at sea parks, as if in perfect harmony with their trainers. Yet, in our contemporary lore this mighty black and white mammal is like a two-faced Janus-beloved as a majestic, friendly giant yet infamous for its capacity to kill viciously. Blackfish unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, employing the story of notorious performing whale Tilikum, who-unlike any orca in the wild-has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. So what exactly went wrong?
My Take: I guess I should add a little back story so you understand why I found this movie so amazing. When I was much younger my cousins went to Seaworld and as a gift brought back the Seaworld Celebration video. Now this was a long time ago so were talking an actual video and I watched it so much I actually had to tape the video back together in more than one spot. So from that moment forward I wanted to be a whale trainer. Of course I am a horrible swimmer so actually becoming a whale trainer was out so I had to try to do the next best thing. Get to Seaworld myself. Now that part took some time but I finally made it to Seaworld in the spring of 2004. Shortly after the trainer was dragged to the bottom of the pool and almost drowned. The day we went the whales were "acting off" so none of the trainers would get in the pool with them. They still did the splashing and jumping, just no trainers swimming with the whales. I remember feeling so jipped that we missed all of the tricks I had spent years watching. I still haven't made it back to Seaworld but after watching Blackfish I have a new appreciation for all of those trainers who get in the water every day.
The movie itself follows the path of one whale Tilikum and how his life and handling have lead to at least one human death, potentially three. I don't feel that the movie shows Orca's in a negative light. In fact I think they did an exceptional job showing the beauty and majestic nature of the whales. Using actual footage and interviews with trainers the viewer is pulled into a world where animals are treated like side show acts and all the people who love them feel helpless to do anything.
It brings to light the heartbreaking death of experienced trainer Dawn Brancheau. And how that death has effected both trainer and Seaworld as a whole.
This movie was both gripping and emotional. I honestly can't believe it isn't up for countless awards. This was an exceptional movie, one thats not to be missed.