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.
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
People Concerned for the Ocean, a local Taiji activist group, distributed DVDs in March of 2011 of the film, dubbed in Japanese, to all 3,500 residents of Taiji. See more »
The thing that turned me around was the death of Flipper, of Cathy. She was really depressed. I could feel it. I could see it. And she committed suicide in my arms. That's a very strong word, suicide. But you have to understand dolphins and other whales are not automatic air breathers, like we are. Every breath they take is a conscious effort. And so they can end their life whenever life becomes too unbearable by not taking the next breath. And it's in that context I use the word suicide. She ...
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After the end credits there is a humorous scene involving the team's Whale Blimp and local police. See more »
This Movie is not without it's flaws, but is Inspiring
There are few movies that I can say resulted in lasting change in my life or personal behaviour, but a couple of days after watching this movie the visceral response remains with me. I will never set foot on a marine mammal park again. If that was part of the goal of this movie then mission accomplished Louis Psihoyos and Ric O'Barry.
This movie is about the exploitation and brutality man has shown towards a gentle, intelligent and harmless creature. It can be added to a long list of films with a simple message - man is raping his environment, exploiting life, and quite frankly caring for little else than the profit nature holds.
The movie will hold you to the last 10 minutes, at which point it becomes apparent to all why Ric O'Barry's life has changed. It must be seen as the story tellers wanted it to be seen.
If I have any criticism of the film it's the amount of time dedicated to dramatizing the message with the Special Ops segments. I appreciate the risk taken to get this footage however I think the danger element was overstated by the film. You gain the belief all through the film the OPS is being followed closely by authorities, that they're every move is being noted, their purpose known, they're faces ingrained in the minds of the people, yet on two occasions they load up a van full of crew and high tech equipment and head unchallenged into the "great secret". This aspect of the film, along with the early segments showing paranoid Ric O'Barry moments in which he says things like "they would kill me if they could" leads me to believe the filmmakers we hedging between taking the viewer on a adrenaline fuelled trip of espionage and a journey of education and awareness.
It has it's moments of contradiction as well. It goes to some great length to show that Japanese don't eat dolphin meat but this is not adequately reconciled with the fact that the Taiji school program served dolphin meat to it's children as part of it's mandatory lunch program.
An obvious cherry picking of interviewees in the cities of Japan with questions about their food supply chain elicited responses that I would expect to find in most urban centres. I live in Toronto, where I suspect many people would be surprised to find restaurants here serve alligator and other exotic protein. I know that slaughter houses provide my area beef but I would be hard pressed to tell you where they are or the methods employed. The effort to show the Japanese as oblivious to the scandals going on right under their nose failed to be convincing in my opinion.
Still, a very informative and inspiring film. I would recommend it to anyone who cares about these creatures. I have had the benefit of encountering these wonderful animal at open sea and know them to be curious, intelligent, playful, with strong ties to the family unit. They are better than we are and this film helped me realize this.
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