Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.
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Richard O'Barry was the man who captured and trained the dolphins for the television show Flipper (1964). O'Barry's view of cetaceans in captivity changed from that experience when as the last straw he saw that one of the dolphins playing Flipper - her name being Kathy - basically committed suicide in his arms because of the stress of being in captivity. Since that time, he has become one of the leading advocates against cetaceans in captivity and for the preservation of cetaceans in the wild. O'Barry and filmmaker 'Louie Psihoyos (I)' go about trying to expose one of what they see as the most cruel acts against wild dolphins in the world in Taiji, Japan, where dolphins are routinely corralled, either to be sold alive to aquariums and marine parks, or slaughtered for meat. The primary secluded cove where this activity is taking place is heavily guarded. O'Barry and Psihoyos are well known as enemies by the authorities in Taiji, the authorities who will use whatever tactic to expel the... Written by
Kerner Optical, previously the Industrial Light and Magic model shop, created special camouflaged (rock-like) cameras that helped capture some of the footage in the cove. See more »
It sometimes amazes me that the only language which has been extensively taught to dolphins is a version of American Sign Language, which, of course, you use your hands, so you have all these wonderful signals, and people use their hands to give messages to dolphins. And this somehow kind of misses the point because dolphins don't have hands, so this is inherently a very one-way process. And it's this anthropomorphic, "We have something to teach them or control them," and perhaps we ought to be...
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After the end credits there is a humorous scene involving the team's Whale Blimp and local police. See more »
The tin-foil-hat-wearing hypocrites are out in force
One-sided? Yes. Superbly crafted? Most certainly. A practical joke or fantastically manufactured lie? Despite what many of the conspiracy theorists here would tell you, no, it is not.
The campaigning elements of the film may not sit well with some people, but the facts are the facts, and there's simply no denying the emotional impact this film has. It is a prime example of constructed film-making with an overt agenda, filled with elements that at time make it feel like a heist movie or spy thriller.
Having said that, there's no doubting just how real the horrors are. The annual slaughter of thousands of dolphins in an isolated cove near Taiji is sickening, heart-wrenching and unnecessary. After select dolphins are taken for the world's aquariums, the rest are left for brutal and barbaric butchering. I for one appreciate the risks taken by the film makers in attempting to get this story out, and I would place good money on this documentary being a front-runner for next year's Oscars.
One of the marks of a powerful documentary is the response it generates from the hordes of nay Sayers. Some of the absurdly laughable comments listed here on IMDb are begging to be called out and exposed for the pathetic lies that they are.
Conspiracy theory/lie no.1: The premise of dolphins being slaughtered en masse in Taiji is a complete fabrication.
This belongs in the same volume of crackpot collections as those who deny the dangers of global warming. It is indeed real, and there is a plethora of information available to anyone with 3rd grade research skills. An article by Minoru Matsutani appeared in the Japan Times on Sept 23rd this year covering the issues raised in The Cove. The practice of mass dolphin slaying is indeed confirmed.
Falsehood no.2: That the scenes from Taiji's infamous cove were in fact filmed in Ottawa.
People will fabricate lies without any thought of at least giving the lie some credibility. There is no evidence to support this ridiculous claim. And having personally travelled along the east coast of Honshu in 2001, I can tell you that this is indeed filmed in Taiji.
Falsehood no.3: Dolphins are not native to Japan.
Wrong. Dead wrong. Bottlenose dolphins, for one, inhabit all warm temperate seas worldwide including Japan. In fact, Mikura Island has a permanent colony of bottlenose dolphins.
I'm utterly delighted that this film is stirring up so much emotion, as this is exactly what is needed to spark change. Most people in Japan aren't even aware of this atrocity, and had it not been for this film, I seriously doubt many of them would have ever known.
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