13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2010
My husband falls asleep for almost every movie we have ever watched.
We recently purchased this because my co-workers were raving about the show.
I was a bit reluctant because I don't want to see animals killed.....but the show is FANTASTIC!! Kudos to the producers!
We watched the entire first DVD without even thinking about stopping it and going to bed. It was edge-of-the-seat thrilling and fascinating, enhanced by beautiful
scenery that few of us will ever see firsthand.
This set was worth twice what I paid for it - excellent drama! There are some truly funny scenes in it as well - they lose contact with their zodiac which has gone to harass a Japanese ship in the dark. They become so desperate that they actually call the Japanese ship to inquire whether they have seen the zodiac.
Ok that's enough for the spoiler.
If you live in an area where you cannot get cable, as we do, consider this for top rate entertainment.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
After seeing the pilot episode on Animal Planet, I became more aware, educated and sympathetic to the plight of whales. These magnificent creatures--solemn, intelligent, peaceful and the largest mammals on earth--are vital links to the ecosystem of the seas and the oceans. They are creatures which mesmerizes the sight and stirs the imagination. History has shown us that these creatures were mercilessly hunted towards the brink extinction. It is only in recent times where laws were enacted to save the whales from forever vanishing in our Earth. Unfortunately, some countries like Japan, continue to ignore this moratorium on hunting Whales. Once you see this documentary, you will feel sick to your gut on how the whales are hunted and slaughtered in the guise of research! The Japanese has an armada of highly sophisticated, high-tech ships all dedicated to fine-tune the machinery of hunting whales.
Enter the Sea Shepherd, a conservation organization headed by its founder Paul Watson, dedicated and devoted not just to the conservation and protection of whales but all other marine animals as well. The Sea Shepherd is fighting a conservation war when no other country dares to do the fighting. This organization has been branded as pirates and terrorist. But to people who see the full extent of the unimaginable horrors of whaling, they are warriors, fighting a crusade to protect and conserve the existence of whales.
In this documentary, we will see the Ship M/V Steve Irwin, the flagship of the Sea Shepherd, named after the famous Australian Naturalist who died doing what he loves best--protecting and conserving animals of every kind. We will see the crew, several dedicated and unselfish individuals, volunteering from different countries who all have one goal in common and that is to preserve the animals that nature has given us. We will witness the effort of the Steve Irwin's crew exactly as they are unfolding, no holds barred , uncensored effort as they weave their way thru the Antartic Ocean, locating the Japanese vessels and disrupting their whaling activities. We will see the crew use several "non-lethal" methods of disruption--throwing stink bombs to make the decks unworkable because of the nauseating smell, laying down ropes that will disable a ship's propeller thereby making them immobile at sea and just plain low-down psychological talk on the communication systems.
Although the approach of the Sea Shepherd to conservation seems unconventional, its founder Paul Watson deems it necessary. The unorthodox methods that they are employing seems to be the only one working right now to stop the massacre of whales. He constantly argues that whaling countries do not listen to diplomacy and often ignore enacted laws to these endangered animals. He always backs his claims with UN-sanctioned documentation.
This is a very enlightening documentary that hit the cable TV recently that has roused my awareness in the highest levels. The world is now focusing on sustainable living. We must not discount protection and conservation in these endeavors. I highly recommend this documentary and I am pre-ordering it thru Amazon.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2010
I always thought that whaling was a thing of the past. The fabric of legend found in the pages of "Moby Dick". It wasn't until I came across Whale Wars that I was shocked to discover that it's still being practiced, unchecked and "illegally" in the Antarctic. Whale Wars follows the rag-tag crew of the M/V Steve Irwin(flagship of the Sea Shepherds) and her Captain Paul Watson(a founder of green peace who was kicked out do to his radical tactics)the only people dedicated enough to take action. Both sides of the conflict use loop holes in the law against each other. The whalers claim the law states that they are allowed to kill a set number of whales as long as it's for "scientific research". A law that they break in pretty comical ways. Japanese whaler ship simply write "research" on the side of their ships and hold up signs that say "We're taking tissue samples!" if they see that they're being videotaped. The "Sea Shepherds" are wise to this and take it into their own hands to stop the whaling in protected whale mating waters. It's one of those tricky things we're both sides are wrong and right at the same time. The show grabs your attention on the first episode when one of the launch boats breaks off a crane and nearly kills four of the crew. The show continues to keep its pace as we see the crew deal with faulty equipment,ice burgs, kidnapping, poor judgment and of course, the wrath of the whalers that they tick off. Whale Wars is a very fascinating show that sheds light on a subject that not many people are unaware of. Though their methods continue to be controversial, The Sea Shepherds strictly use non lethal methods and are non violent. I don't consider myself an environmentalist but by watching this show I can't help but have great respect for the Sea Shepherds. It's nice to see a group of people take action when lazy diplomacy fails, to have them act as a buffer against unchecked consumption and greed. I can't wait to follow the Steve Irwin crew on their upcoming adventures or more precisely, what the new volunteers are going to mess up. Whale Wars is a very enjoyable show and I'm sure Paul Watson and crew will find new and imaginative ways to give the whalers headaches as the show goes on. I only wish all "reality" television was this good.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
I have been aware of the Sea Shepherd Society for nearly 20 years now. I routinely introduced them to my environmental studies classes as we reviewed prominent environmental and conservation NGOs (non-governmental organizations).
The Sea Shepherds are a self-proclaimed direct action organization whose main agenda is the protection of marine species from illegal commercial exploitation. Their highest profile work is the protection of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. This is the focus of the reality series "Whale Wars".
The founder of the Sea Shepherds, Paul Watson, was one of the co-founders of Greenpeace, but he was eventually voted out of that organization because his tactics were generally viewed as being too confrontational and even counter-productive to the mainstream conservation organizations' efforts to lobby governments to take legislative and enforcement action against whaling and other marine crimes. Paul Watson and his organization are, however, of the opinion that since governments are not stepping up to take legal action to stop illegal marine activities that NGOs have the option to do that.
The Sea Shepherds use a U.N. mandate and International Whaling Commission total ban on commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary (the waters off of Antarctica) to justify using non-lethal and non-injurious methods to harass and interdict the efforts of the Japanese Whaling fleet to whale in those waters. At the same time, the position of the Japanese government is that they are carrying out legal lethal whale research, and that they are therefore not conducting commercial whaling. The stipulation of the lethal whaling regulations are such that all parts of any whale that is killed for research must be used. The Japanese fleet therefore allegedly takes scientific measurements on the allowed number of Minke and Finback whales they capture each season. The Japanese fleet includes a factory ship where whales are processed and packages for shipment back to Japan.
This whaling is officially carried out by the "Institute of Cetacean Research" which, though an organization independent of the Japanese government, receives millions of dollars of subsidies from that government each year to carry out whaling. it is this connection between the institute and the Japanese government that leads many governments to view Japanese "research whaling" to be little more than thinly disguised commercial whaling.
If the Japanese fleet (including a factory ship, three harpoon chase ships, and tanker/supply ships) were unharrassed they would be able to harpoon and kill nearly 1000 Minke and Finback whales each season. Of course, the Japanese assert that they are not engaging in commercial whaling, but as many whale products as possible, including whale meat, is sold on the open market. it is estimated that each whale may yield a minimum of $150,000/whale, and perhaps as much as $500,000 or more apiece. During seasons when the Sea Shepherds were taking action against the Japanese fleet, they were able to slow whaling activities enough that by the end of the season the Japanese fleet was able to capture and kill only about 1/2 of the just under 1000 whales allowable under the scientific whaling quota. So they are making a significant difference in that regard.
That's the stand-off. Sea Shepherds are willing to put themselves at personal risk to stop whaling, with their own interpretation of the law that legalizes their actions, while the Japanese use their interpretation of the law to justify whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. And so the stage is set.
Regardless of your personal position on whaling, you have to be intrigued by this war that takes place in the southern ocean each season, and is the focus of this video series.
I found this series to be fascinating. While I am not generally an advocate of this kind of direct action, I am in complete sympathy with the basic idea that research involving lethal capture (harpooning) is no longer necessary, and is, in my personal opinion, a practice whose day is done.
FYI - my professional background is in marine biology, and I have spent my career teaching at college and university levels, with teaching assignments including environmental studies, marine biology, field marine ecology, and related courses, so I'm not completely in the dark on this issue.
I highly recommend taking a look at this series. Like I said, it was fascinating, and I look forward to watching Season 2!
5 stars for being a timely topic. It is, after all, time to leave the whales alone.
If you enjoy this series you will also enjoy the documentary The Cove.
I hope this was helpful.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2009
I have seen this series and it tells the true story about what the Sea Shepherd really does. They have never hurt any one at sea, but the whalers have lost 2 crew member at their own faults for this line of work. The Japanese whalers will use any means necessary, including extreme violence against protesters to protect their very cruel and greedy whale killing industry.
If you need more information about whale killing and the laws go look them up. The truth is out there. Don't just take the hate comments, that have given this series 1 star just to lower the rating of this series. They are paranoid and follow around everything that Sea Shepherd posts on the internet including youtube videos and anti-whaling clips just make and post comments about Sea Shepherd being so called "eco-terrorists" a label given to the conservation society to make people think they are some how crazy extreme violent group, which they are not.
Sea Shepherd have the highest level of integrity. I have followed the whaling industry and the Sea Shepherd and compared both sides. Sea Shepherd have proven to be the on the side of the law. Japanese have exploited a loophole in order to kill whales for food under the guise of research but all they actually do it gut the whales and weigh them. No real data is given. What information is given is used to justify, the restart killing of other species of whales like the humpback. But because the loophole exists, they continue to kill.
The Japanese had also been invited to contribute to this series by offering their side of the story but they refused. SO if the series seems one sided, it is at the fault of the whalers. Not Animal Planet or the Sea Shepherd.
As for the series, when I watched it, my opinion is that it is extremely exciting. I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to happen next. I have learned a lot about the Sea Shepherd conservation society and what they have done for seals and other marine wild life and had been impressed. But when I watched this series, the depth of their willingness and compassion for whales is so deep, to risk their lives just to save whales is amazing.
I truely felt that no one is so brave to actually stand up for what they believe to that extent in this world any more or at least there are a very rare few. It also gives the human side of being cramped into a small ship, and having to be with a bunch of other people who at times made mistakes. I felt this series is well made. I love the music samples to used for the series Smashing Pumpkins, the world is a vampire. It fit perfectly.
So don't turn away just because this has gotten low star rating by a few who just hate Sea Shepherd.
It is an exciting series. This is true reality show!!!!! I can not wait for the second series to come out. The Japanese whalers have increased their violence by using LRAD Long Range Acoustical Devices (LRAD's) and high powered water cannons against the Sea Shepherd crew.
So stay tuned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2009
Whale Wars tells of the controversial 'War' going on between the Sea Shepherd and Japan over what constitutes legal whaling. Animal Planet has made no secret that they did not attempt to document this issue from the Japanese side, simply because they thought they would not even been granted the access. They decided to document the issue from Sea Shepard's point of view and in doing so show the passion, dedication and what the crew go through to stop the Japanese from killing these whales in the name of research.
The show starts off with the alleged shooting of Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd (a blatant move to get the viewer to watch what happens next). This opening scene is shown in chaos and confusion on purpose, frankly no one really knows if Paul Watson was actually shot by the Japanese. Even though Animal Planet could have easily slanted this event to make the Japanese look like killers, they did not. In the last episode the tell the story exactly as they saw and in my opinion were very fair to both sides. They show the events that led up to the 'shot' and what happened afterward. Though the Japanese were not directly interviewed on the show, the narrator did tell the audience that Japan released a statement stating they did not have a rifle on board their ship or shoot at anyone. This is confirmed by the crew of the Sea Shepard as no one saw a Japanese crew member with a rifle.
This is not the only instance that the producers stayed very neutral even though they documenting this from the Sea Shepherd's ship the 'Steve Irwin'. They show how core crew members are trying to show volunteers who have never worked on a ship the ins and outs of navigating through some of the most dangerous waters in the world. The first time they launch the zodiac, they flip it and if not for the specialized suits they were in case of emergency, they all would have died due to hypothermia. In the process they damage their helicopter. Later, when they dock for repairs, they change out some of the crew members and the new group fumble their way again with trying to launch the zodiac that it results in a lost 'mission'.
For those that claim Animal Planet did not tell the viewers what the law is and how Japan is following the law as it it is currently constituted are 100% incorrect. They do. In fact through out the entire season they remind the viewers what the law is and that Japan is only killing whales within the established quota for research. They tell the viewers that all the meat must not be wasted or discarded. Admittedly, not as much time is spent on this subject as there could have been. Its not as sexy as showing people illegally boarding ships or hard hitting as showing the Japanese dragging dead minke whales into the 'Mother Ship'. I would have liked to have seen interviews with Japanese citizens describing their thoughts on what their government is doing. Whether or not they care, who is eating the meat and why. It would have given them more credibility as a third party observer.
The Sea Shepherd clearly are not saints and their tactics should be questioned. The Japanese are clearly not saints and their research practices should be questioned. Animal Planet clearly is not a saint and this show as a documentary should be questioned. The one thing you can not question after watching it, whether or not you agree with the Sea Shepherd methods, what the Japanese are doing is wrong. The Sea Shepherd have a direct impact on the amount of whales that are lost to 'Research' and the governments from around the world should be doing more to stop Japan so that the Sea Shepherd are not taking the law into their own hands.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2009
Bought it for my sister as she was unable to watch the complete season 1 on TV. She loves it. Regardless of your views on whale hunting and the methods used by the Sea Shepherd, whale hunting is just morally wrong! Bad Japanese.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2013
You may not always agree with Sea Shepherd, at times you may find them overly harsh or critical, but at the end of it, I don't think it's possible to disagree with their cause.
On a mission to save whales from Japanese whalers, the Sea Shepherd's trials, triumphs, and failures are enthralling to watch. The show always leaves you on your toes, ready for the next episode.
The views of the whales are incredible and at one point in particular, especially moving. (The scene was in the final episode, so I don't want to spoil anyone by saying what it was exactly. Trust me, you'll see it.)
It will make you think about your stance on animal rights.
I only gave it four stars because there were times that I wished they would educate the viewer more on the life of these whales and life at sea. I also found that there were parts I wished were more condensed (the recaps/previously on Whale Wars scenes) and I wanted Giles Lane to talk more than he did. We heard Potts' side, but Giles didn't talk all that much.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2014
It's great that the Sea Shephards exsist to stop the killing of whales in the Southern Ocean. And I'm glad that we get to experience their efforts through these videos.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2009
Goofy, idealistic activists on a mission to stop Japanese whalers in the vicinity of Antarctica. The documentary's camera work and imagery is reasonably well done, no complaints here. Pacing can be a bit off. Some episodes don't really accomplish much while others are action-packed and full of suspense. Great personalities, the activists act and seem like real people, each with their own unique outlook and with plenty of political squabbling, breakdown in the chain-of-command, total inability to handle or think clearly in a crisis situation, 'activist logic' that does not really make sense to a typical observer, etc. Most of this show plays out like a cross between a Shakespearean morality play and a reality show, but on occasion they find the whalers and confrontation of one type or another results. These are the best parts, where we see the activists try to put their bizarre plans into action, often times with lasting consequences to the crew and/or their own morale.