An animal-loving volunteer and a small-town news reporter are joined by a native Alaskan boy to rally an entire community - and eventually rival world superpowers - to save a family of majestic gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle. Written by
One of the reporters shown in the movie is played by Jackie Purcell, real-life chief meteorologist for KTUU-NBC Channel 2 in Anchorage, Alaska - the station for which Adam Carlson, John Krasinski's character, works in the film. See more »
Ice does not form vertical underwater walls. Ice floats. See more »
[Rachel approaches the hole in the ice for the first time; one whale pokes it's head out of the water]
Rachel, I'd like you to meet Fred.
[second whale pops up]
... and Wilma.
Good morning, Wilma! You're beautiful!
[third whale, the baby, comes up]
And this, is Bam Bam!
Hi Bam Bam! Wait... wasn't Pebbles Fred and Wilma's kid?
Yeah, but Pebbles was also a girl.
See more »
During the credits, on the left side are scenes from the movie characters and on the right side, archive footage of the real people. See more »
It's amazing how much good can be accomplished when a group of largely self-interested people whose primary interest is self-promotion come together for a common cause. In a way, that's really the "big miracle" of this movie. The story revolves around a family of grey whales who are trapped by thick ice in Alaska and have no way to get to the open ocean. With temperatures plummeting, the only breathing hole they have is rapidly freezing over and the whales are in danger of drowning. When a local reporter makes the situation known to the outside world, saving the whales becomes a cause celebre, and brings together a very diverse group of people.
Into the mix steps a Greenpeace organizer (Drew Barrymore) - undoubtedly committed to the whales, but also aware that the issue will get a lot of good publicity for the organization, an oil executive (Ted Danson) who wants permission to drill in a wildlife reserve and figures that saving the whales will get him a lot of good publicity, the native community of Barrow, Alaska, who would really prefer to kill the whales for food, various townsfolk who use the situation to their advantage and make lots of money with ridiculously jacked up prices as outsiders fill the town, politicians (including the Governor of Alaska and President Reagan) who know there's votes in the issue, various reporters who know there's ratings in the issue, a couple of guys from Minnesota who seize the opportunity to make their new de-icing machine known and even a Soviet ice breaker called in to help who take the opportunity to soften American attitudes toward their country.
The whales (nicknamed Fred, Wilma and Bam-Bam) become the backdrop for the story of uneasy co-operation taking place around them, but they are the real lure for the viewer, even if the most interesting part of the movie is the strange alliances being formed. There's no doubt that the viewer gets drawn into the whales' plight and you root for them all the way through.
This is based on a true story that occurred in 1988. Like most "based on a true story" movies, this one takes license with the actual events. The ending of the movie is happier than what happened in real life, which is actually a mystery, as no one knows whether the two adult whales escaped after the baby died. What I really appreciated about this was that it was a marvellous family movie - enough "meat" to keep adults interested all the way through, and an animal story that will appeal to the kids and really very little anywhere that you wouldn't want your kids to watch. I thought it was very well done, and deserving of a much higher rating than it currently has, which is 5.9. (8/10)
9 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?