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133 of 148 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, Not To Be Missed
Everyone should see this movie to learn the truth about orcas in captivity. It's a terrifying, heartbreaking, well-constructed argument and the images and interviews will haunt you. I can't wait until an equivalent documentary is done about other forms of animal captivity like circuses and zoos, etc.
Published 13 months ago by Jocelyn Heaney

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119 of 148 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All hail Tilikum
Killer whales have often been referred to as docile yet extremely intelligent and friendly creatures, but Gabriela Cowperthwaite's documentary "Blackfish" puts a bit of a different spin on it. While Orcas may be friendly out in the wild, they're also extremely family oriented meaning that one killer whale can't be ripped from its natural habitat or its pack and be placed...
Published 13 months ago by C. Sawin


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133 of 148 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, Not To Be Missed, July 22, 2013
By 
Jocelyn Heaney (Los Angeles, Ca.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blackfish (DVD)
Everyone should see this movie to learn the truth about orcas in captivity. It's a terrifying, heartbreaking, well-constructed argument and the images and interviews will haunt you. I can't wait until an equivalent documentary is done about other forms of animal captivity like circuses and zoos, etc.
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98 of 110 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blackfish, August 9, 2013
This review is from: Blackfish (DVD)
The documentary takes you back to the 1980,s and the beginning o the Orca's demise. It has various interviews and first person narratives of how orcas actually have displayed aggressive behavior within the confined pools in SeaWorld and other places, like Loro Parque in Tenerife, Spain. There is some bloodshed in the movie, so I would advise caution if you plan on taking your kids. This piece is similar to another movie about similar cetacean, The Cove; in both movies you get pieces of a truth well hidden by those with a fat pocket, unwilling to let go the reins of a multi-billionaire industry. It's just sad.

My opinion:

Be prepared to view heartbreaking footage. To pillage another being's young, to dislpay it in front of millions of viewers and lie to the public in order to conceal the animals' frustration--leading to fatal, aggressive behavior--is immoral. It's obvious to you as a viewer how much these animals suffer when they are being taken from their pods by looking at the trainer's reaction to the animal's captivity. The saddest part of the movie for me was Tilikum's abduction. An orca's wailing after its young has been taken from its side is heartbreaking.

So think about it for one second. You're taken from your parents when you are four years old, stuck in a tank made of concrete, and forced to hang out with strangers from a diversity of cultures you would probably hate (each pod of orcas is so different that it's like comparing the Homo sapiens, a single species, with thousands of different religions) --this is the road to insanity.

It's not only about freeing Tilikum; it's also about stopping the massive hunting of whales and other highly intelligent beings, like dolphins. Cetaceans are having a hard time nowadays. Watch "The Cove" and you'll see what I'm talking about.
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65 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See it, September 2, 2013
This review is from: Blackfish [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I am giving Blackfish five stars not because it is the best-made documentary I've seen, but because everyone should see it. I teach college students and I often show The Cove; starting this November I will also be showing this movie. I often hear students (and others) complain that a documentary is biased, as though that is somehow against the rules. Of course Blackfish is biased; most docs are. Even The March of the Penguins betrays some pro-penguin bias; we don't notice because, hey, who doesn't like penguins? Plus, of course, there are no humans on camera interfering with them.

This movie is rather graphic for children, but I will allow my 10yo to see it. The whale penis was not as disturbing to me as the whale blood, but if blood is the price of entertainment then I think we should all know about it.

The film's argument is not quite as tightly structured as I might like, but I was fascinated and emotionally involved, and I certainly came away convinced. (Well, maybe I already belonged to the choir.) There is a Sea World in my city, and, although I have always been uncomfortable with the confinement of animals, I didn't absolutely refuse to go there until I saw The Cove. It's hard for me to imagine anyone seeing Blackfish and still buying tickets.
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104 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Planet Earth..., July 19, 2013
This review is from: Blackfish [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
It is not our imagination that many species are becoming extinct. We need to be aware that making use of nature should not be synonymous with destroying or using it up since we will drown in our selfishness, ignorance and waste which is increasing everyday. What some do to many creatures of this planet, including to this planet are those criminals without integrity that are not hold liable since their victims do not have a voice.

When I watched The Cove Documentary, the disturbing part was how could a group of people in a civilized society known for their accomplishments in this case Japanese, gather up hundreds of dolphins every year, year after year and slaughter those dolphins by hitting them so hard that blood covers such a huge area in the ocean without any protest or any resistance from a single citizen, all in the name of gathering and selling few dolphins to other nations and the rest of their catch to their citizens for a whale meat instead of a dolphin meat. To understand the impact of the Sea World, an American business on dolphins, killer whales, etc. as well as the Japanese, one needs to watch A Fall from Freedom Documentary. These days, the Japanese Navy even accompanies whale killing vessels in Antarctica supporting the Japanese fisherman from environmentalists. At the Edge of the World Documentary documents their activities and what it takes to stop Japanese from killing thousands of whales in the name of research without any fear of being stopped by any other nation in the world. Monterey Aquarium the most visited aquarium runs their operation without any whales or dolphins while becoming a great help and a research center to both marine and human life by protecting nature and educating the citizens of this planet in the most compassionate and caring manner possible toward ocean mammals and the environment. Blackfish [Blu-ray] a painful and heartbreaking documentary exposes the hunters of the sea in a family environment called Sea World where parents knowingly or unknowingly with no compassion or understanding or any sense of respect for other living mammals on this planet are entertained at their expensive Sea World expedition on their wholesome family outing. Mammals right to life should be the same as ours unless if we happen to be an Arctic Eskimo living in Arctic not in CA. Without nature there would be no reason for humans to enjoy life on this planet. Protect the marine life and the beauty of oceans from that one single enemy, that cruel human-kind who wants to destroy and manipulate life on planet earth. Oceans were created with the orcas not without. Blackfish will awaken humans since if there is only one thing wrong with this planet is the equation of the human-kind behavior toward other form of life. I wish the production people of all these documentaries much health and happiness. Well documented, cinematographed, directed, grabbing, real documentary that every individual must watch to understand the impact and consequences of our actions on other creatures and this beautiful planet which belongs to all. Bravo.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking and revolting... a MUST SEE documentary, August 23, 2013
This review is from: Blackfish (DVD)
"Blackfish" (2013 release; 85 min.) takes a critical look at killer whales being kept in captivity, and the devastating effects on the orcas AND their trainers. The movie opens with the news in 2010 that veteran orca trainer Dawn Brancheau has been killed at an incident at the SeaWorld water amusement park in Orlando (we don't see any footage of it). From there the documentary goes on to show the beginnings of orca whaling to bring them into those water amusement parks. In the early 90s a young but rapidly growing orca named Tilikum is involved in "an incident" at a small park in Victoria, BC, after which the owner decides to shut down the park, and Tilikum is bought by SeaWorld in Orlando. I won't tell you how it all connects to the tragic death of Brancheau, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: first and foremost, this is a shocking and yet riveting documentary, one of the likes you don't get to see very often. Second, the movie interviews a bunch of former SeaWorld orca trainers who, with years of wisdom, now decry the multi-million dollar industry that has become these water amusement parks with killer whales putting on a "show". Their point of view is clear. Third, there are no reposts from anyone at SeaWorld in the movie (in the end credits, we are told that "SeaWorld did not respond to multiple requests for an interview". Last, but certainly not least, towards the end of the movie, we are shown a number of graphic videos of "when orcas go wild" and viewer beware, they are not for the faint of heart, but at the same time, they bring home the point that keeping these killer whales in captivity is just wrong, and can lead to disastrous results.

This documentary made a huge splash (pardon the punt) at the Sundance film festival earlier this year. It just opened this weekend at my local art-house theatre here in Cincinnati, and the showing tonight where I saw this at was PACKED, I am happy to say. This movie proves once again that "facts are stronger than fiction", reason why I love well-made documentaries like this one so much. Bottom line: this is a shocking and revolting documentary that is simply a must see. "Blackfish" is HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lord have mercy..., November 1, 2013
By 
This review is from: Blackfish (DVD)
I watched Blackfish seven times over this last weekend and cried every single time. I was mesmerized, traumatized, heartbroken, stunned. I learned a world of valuable information about Orcas that I never knew before. Sea World isn't teaching it. EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THIS PLANET SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO WATCH IT... (including age-appropriate children...especially age-appropriate children. In a few years, they'll be the rich and famous and influential entertainers and senators and members of the House and the White House. Unless, of course, there are enough of those kinds of people with that power who can get it done right... HOW ABOUT NOW...? AND NOT WAIT UNTIL OUR KIDS GROW UP.

If I had known back in the 70s, when I took my daughter as a toddler and an elementary school student to Sea World once a week or more, what I know now... and if I had the power and fame to legislate Orcas and dolphins in captivity as criminal, and you evil, ignorant, money-greedy administrators of the "marine parks" (SEALAND!?? REALLY??) Sealand is a segment in Black Fish and is now closed. It was a poor-man's version of Sea World... where the Orcas were inhumanely, crazy-wicked-bad 'taken such good care of. Can you hear my sarcasm? Every man who has ever used these breathtaking awesome highly emotive and intelligent creatures to make money should all serve prison terms: confined for 25 years in a bathtub.... inside a prison cell. You can get out of it for a half hour 'show' every afternoon walking on your hands in the prison yard.

The documentary is carefully, exquisitely, professionally, compellingly produced. I've watched it seven times and have been brought to tears every single time. What kind of monsters are you humans who are so egregiously abusing and neglecting the Orcas and the dolphins. These whales come from their own families. They speak their own languages. The young NEVER leave their mothers' sides. NEVER. Until the mother dies. A lot like how humans live with their own families and cultures and languages on the land.

It's not good enough to set them all free. It's the best we can do at this point, and it is truly not good enough. They desperately need to be reunited with the pods from which you kidnapped them. Others, like Tilly, who are old and sick and have already given their best years and made a gazillion dollars for you will need APPROPRIATE care. A VERY VERY VERY BIG (is a 100-mile square big enough...?)in the ocean. Preferably with others who would/could socialize with him instead of viciously raking and shunning him.

Those of you who have been in the upper layers of management, and have made the most money are greedy for more and so sociopathologically lacking in empathy and morals are no doubt too lazy and uncaring to even make an attempt to find the RIGHT (original)families for each youngster!

What if somebody came and stole your three little kids and placed each one of them separately in another family; another country; another language and confined them in a bathtub for the rest of their lives?

And the COVER-UPS out of the mouths of Sea World every time a trainer gets injured or killed? Shame. Shame all over all of you. Own it. Stand up and own it and tell us you're sorry and that you're going to begin the process of returning as many as possible back into the wild. NOW. (With the guidance and leadership of way more than several of the very best people who can be called experts in the species.) You executives and administrators are beyond the pale. You blame their injuries and their deaths, publicly, on the very CHILDREN you cheaply hire to train and show the creatures (ages from what... 16 to maybe early 30s? Most late teens and twenties. America has fallen too far from grace.

I commend Black Fish's producers and research specialists and trainers for contributing. You all did an outstanding job. Absolutely excellent. Thank you. And thank YOU, CNN, for having the courage to air it not just once, but I am now watching it for the seventh time over this last week. And still crying. And praying that God will intervene. Soon. He gave us dominion over the animals, and you all have done an exceptionally horrifying job of it. There's a gigantic amount of PTSD to go around at this point. GO. NOW. Immediately: To your children who have loved these wondrous kin of ours trapped in tiny cement swimming pools at all the Sea Worlds... to your priest, preacher, church and God and apologize and ask for forgiveness from all American people, and then spend the rest of your lives, and no doubt your gazillion dollars, doing your BEST to make it right for every single Orca and dolfin in captivity.

LET US ALL BOYCOTT ALL THE SEA WORLDS on this planet until the Orcas and dolphins have been returned to the ocean.
Seriously.

CNN, Please do not stop airing this documentary. Thank you.

Sincerely, Trisha Lisk
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Documentary, October 25, 2013
By 
Tawn (Las Vegas, NV USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blackfish (DVD)
This documentary revealed things to me about whales, and Sea World I was ignorant about.

After watching this disturbing documentary on the treatment of Tilikum, I don't wonder why he kills his trainers, I wonder why he doesn't kill all of them.

He was snatched as a baby from his mother and forced to spend most of the day in a tiny black metal box at Sea Land. He was attacked by female whales, his skin shredded. At Sea Land he killed a female trainer so the owner closed the park.

Then Tilikum was bought by Sea World. There he killed another trainer, and probably a male visitor, who was found dead floating on Tilikum's back. He has injured many. Tilikum is viciously attacked by female whales so he spends most of his life just sitting in a tiny, shallow pool. Another sick aspect of his captivity is the use of his sperm to make more Orcas to sell to be exploited. I don't even want to say here how they obtain it. The footage of that in this documentary is truly revolting.

Putting these majestic animals in bathtubs for people to scream at is reprehensible and disgusting.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opener..., October 2, 2013
This review is from: Blackfish [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I watched this film knowing very little about the behind the scenes about whale capturing and exploitation of the whales for monetary gain. I kind of figured they weren't as comfortable as they were before they were captured and forced to live in tiny pools compared to a mega huge ocean. After watching this film, it cemented my opinion of never going to seaworld or any aquatic park that's similar to it.

First of all these are killer whales. Killer being the keyword. Nobody said they're friendly or trainable to the extend that they won't harm anyone, which unfortunately was the case in this film. I'm not blaming the trainers for being attacked. I blame the company that set up the situation to make money off of these animals. The lies and excuses they give throughout the movie is mind numbing. The interviews the former trainers gave was informative and seemingly more truthful than the proponents of keeping killer whales captive. Of course seaworld wouldn't be a part of the film. When a company does this in a documentary, it tells me that they have stuff to hide, or possibly are in more legal trouble than letting on. If they're worried about editing, they can do what Dana White of the UFC does. He has his own camera and crew filming at the same time, since espn distorted an interview he had done previously, but I digress.

I like animals. I don't love animals and I'm not a member of PETA or anything like that. I like nature, nature programs and seeing animals in their natural environment. There's something really wrong with having these huge whales in these small pools and it makes me feel sick to my stomach with the way the animals are treating each other since they're trapped. If they kill each other in the wild, it's different. It's because of territory or maybe another reason, who knows, but that's nature. When you put these multi-ton animals into a cage, it's like a wrestling match and the weakest gets hurt, as shown in the movie (I don't want to get into it too much as I don't want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't seen the film). As we speak, sharks are eating seals, eagles are hitting goats off of mountains, and snakes are killing baby mice. It's nature and that's what they're programmed to do it. What they're not programmed to do is live in super small spaces like these whales. Most zoos are pretty good at giving animals enough space to roam and be themselves, with a couple of exceptions. I know not all zoos are 100% perfect, but I know people are keeping a close on them.

Seaworld and other similar water attractions treat these animals like crap and expect them to play by the rules. a 200 pound trainer is no match for a 6 ton whale that has taken all that it's going to take, especially when you take away it's mate and children. I really wish there was a ban on these kinds of places. I know kids can like them, but it's because they don't understand and see what's really wrong here. The only way I can help out is by never ever going to any of these places and guiding my children to stay away from them.

Watch this film because it's a great film and it exposes the cruelty to these animals. Free all of the killer whales back into their own habitat. Not just for the safety of the trainers, but for the sake of keeping killer whales in their own habitat where they belong.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, the truth about Killer whale captivity is told, and it is SHOCKING!, October 24, 2013
This review is from: Blackfish (DVD)
Wow, eye opening to say the least! I first have to say that Seaworld must have ties to the CIA for them to be able to sweep some of these shocking facts under the rug for so long. Secondly, I have to say shame on all of the people who know about the social behaviors of killer whales but choose to ignore these truths in order to make money. ie. how can anyone with a conscience decide to separate these whales from their pods knowing that in the wild they stay in those pods their entire life? I was angered and heartbroken to learn about some of the atrocities that have occurred to these animals in captivity. I'm afraid I will no longer be able to visit any marine animal park that keeps killer whales in captivity. I understand that there was a time and place for it, to want to learn about these creatures, and captivity was a way to learn about them. However, now that we know the things we know about their social and emotional nature, there is no justification for continuing to keep and breed them in captivity. If you don't think you agree with me, you need to see this documentary. Thank goodness that OSHA has had the good sense to put a stop to trainers interacting with these animals in the water, although I have to say that I can't fault the whales for their aggressive behavior in captivity. If I had been taken away from my family at two years of age and placed in a jail cell with angry females who like to beat me up and caretakers who deprive me of food when I don't do exactly what they want, who knows what I would resort to. Again, if you have no idea what I'm talking about, you need to see the documentary because that is exactly what they did to Tilkium, the whale who has killed 3 people while in captivity.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best documentary since The Cove, September 18, 2013
This review is from: Blackfish (DVD)
This film will change the way you think about aquatic amusement parks- a must-see for everyone. Some people will feel squeamish about watching it or will think it's 'too sad', but I assure you it is worth going through to know the truth. It's as unbiased as it can be, well-made, and gripping from beginning to end.
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Blackfish [Blu-ray]
Blackfish [Blu-ray] by Gabriela Cowperthwaite (Blu-ray - 2013)
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