January 20th, 2014


Let's Watch: Documentary - Blackfish

When I first heard about the documentary Blackfish I was intrigued. I wanted to see the film makers point of view. Despite the fact that SeaWorld didn't offer their take on what was going on the film was rather interesting to watch none the less. And while it should be viewed as a one sided point of view it did make some interesting valid points that you help understand to some extent why the Orca's; the film mostly focus on Tilikum; in captivity have killed people.

But the film wasn't always correct with it's information and there were somethings I really disliked about it over all which I have listed below.

  • The use of the term 'Killer Whale'

        This has always annoyed me. Orca's are not whales. Just because they are the size of some whales doesn't make them a whale. They are much a dolphin which is reflected by how they interact with each other.

  • Orca's have never harmed Humans in the wild

         This statement is partly true, They have never fatally harmed humans in the wild, but they have come close. Like most apex predators in the wild they have mistake humans as 'food' and attacked. But no one has ever died.

  • Let's set them all Free

        Umm, no. I get the romantic notion at the end of the movie 'Free Willy'. Let the Orca's free. To anyone that thinks like that I feel I must slap you. A good deal of the Orca's that are captive now have been born into captivity. They don't know what an ocean is. For the Orca's that were once wild they were caught when they were 4 to 5yrs old. At that age they would just be starting to learn how to hunt for themselves. Taking them away from their families before they learned the skills they would need to survive meant that returning them was impossible. The sad reality for them is that while they were forced into the habitat they live in now there is no going back. They don't know how to hunt, they are not familiar with the ocean at all. When all you have known for most of your life entails being fed without having to go look for the food yourself, you become used to that. And it's a sad thing,.

  • Stupid Humans

        The 'Former Trainer's' interviewed for this film were just stupid. You became an animal trainer because you believed that it would make the lives of these animals better. That they would be forever bonded to you. Really? These people live in La La Land. I don't understand how someone who wanted to make a difference in the lives of animals would go into a job and just believe every little thing force fed to them. I get that management would not want you to know about the past history of a violent animal. But to stand there and say that you wanted to make the animals lives better without knowing anything about the general species itself is absurd to me. When I got my first dog, I went straight to the vet and the library and found what every information on the breed I could find. I wanted to know what the standard base line for the animal was. And I get that most people don't think the way I do. But when your working with something as big and powerful as an Orca you need to know what the species as a whole is capable of. Oh, but the best part was when one of the male trainers said he disliked how SeaWorld did things. But he 'stayed for the Orca' because he 'pitied him'. How can you bond with an animal that you pity? How can you stay and knowing what is being done to the animal is wrong yet you watch? Stupid Humans.

  • Side Way Blaming

        The film does this a lot. On one hand it blames Sealand, then SeaWorld, then blames the Orca, then blames the Humans. But if you really stop and think about it the group that should really get the blame is the Humans. We are the one's that took these animals, trained them and set them on display for entertainment. In the case of Tilikum; the Orca which the film features the most; it is noted early on that the Sealand trainers trained him using methods that would not only with hold food from him when he didn't do the correct behavior but food would be withheld from the more experience Orca they were using as a teaching aid from him. This in turned made the other Orca violent towards him. The film also noted that Tilikum was beat up a bit at Sealand and SeaWorld by the females we was with which caused him to have to separated and kept alone. For a highly evolved social animal like Orca's that would be traumatic and cause them to become neurotic. So you take into account instants like this and you wonder why he can be violent. I don't necessarily blame the Orca's. All sides agree that the Orca's didn't kill out of hungry or hatred. In terms of the first death the film negated to mention that Sealand later found that both female Orca's were pregnant at the time of the first death. The film hinted at the fact that other people stated that all 3 Orca's had a hand in the first death as well but the film just wanted to focus on Tilikum. The second death is more of a conundrum. SeaWorld as a lot of security and camera every yet. Yet the second person was able to hide from them, avoid night trainers and get in the pool with Tilikum. For this death there are two accounts of what may have happened. SeaWorld says the guy stripped naked, climbed into the pool and died from hypothermia and drowning. The film states that the man was attacked, that Tilikum stripped him of his clothes and ate off his genitals. Somewhere between both of those accounts is the truth. The third death the films main focus. We all know how she died. And while SeaWorld maintains it was still her fault the truth is that it more then likely a combination of her and Tilikum's fault. On lookers noted that the Orca had become frustrated when he wasn't rewarded for doing certain task. Dawn; the third death; should have been able to notice the change in his mood and stopped the show. But the show had to go on and we all know the result.

So all in all Blackfish is worth watching as long as you take it all with a grain of salt. No side is completely right in this matter but makes for wonderful debate material none the less.