Blackfish is a movie that mainly tries to explain the terrible captivity for killer whales used for shows, more specifically at SeaWorld. Blackfish uses mostly logos about orcas to show how they are suffering by using scientific figures about their lives in the wild and comparing it to their miserable lives at SeaWorld. Blackfish uses Tillikum, an orca that was captured in 1983, as a main character from the orcas’ side. On the other hand, the movie uses former SeaWorld trainers, orca researchers and experts. The tragedy theme appears when it comes to the trainers. It’s kind of showing that the trainers were also victims of SeaWorld’s lies. The pathos and ethos appeals are evident in the movie when it covers the trainers, researchers, experts or even public media side. These emotions show how the movie tries to exonerate many guilty sides and blame only SeaWorld and the similar firms by using lots of pathos on the trainers’ side while the main victim is the orca. However, the trainers notices many times that SeaWorld does wrong thing, the researchers knew from before that SeaWorld lies, and the public media publishes what SeaWorld says. I think the movie ignores all of the trainers’ acts and makes them victims, avoids talking about the silence of the researchers and media, and directs all the blames against SeaWorld.
Blackfish starts with flashback showing footage from Dawn’s death with music and people talking in the background. The short flashback shows that there is a crime. After the flashback, the movie starts with interviewing some former SeaWorld trainers. The pathos appeal is clear here. Emotional moments, reasons behind trainers joining SeaWorld, and emotional music and effects make the viewer love them and just want to hear about their experiences. I think we can say its pathos to make the trainers’ ethos; after all the emotions the movie makes the viewers feel about trainers; they are now, no doubt, honest people. In an emotional way, Blackfish brings Dawn to life using trainers’ reviews and footage about her. After that, the movie brings SeaWorld to the scene using recording from an investigating with SeaWorld Paramedic, Thomas Tobin, followed by public media’s footages show the anger of people. All these direct the anger of watchers towered SeaWorld. All what have been mentioned up to this point shape the wonder, why all the researchers, media and many other responsible departments waited until someone died to do something. Basically, the production makes me feel that we don’t stand against injustice; if we do, it’s not until it’s against humans. One of the footage archive from CNN in Blackfish a news anchor says “If you were in a bathtub for 25 years, don’t you think you’d get a little irritated, aggravated, maybe a little psychotic?!”. The anchor is attacking Thad Lacinak, Former SeaWorld Executive, with these words. Therefore, people knew it was wrong, but no one have stand against it until Dawn’s death.
Back to he root, the logos appeals cover this part where in Blackfish they talks about hunting the killer whales. Figures and some information about hunting the whales are shown. At this part also, John Crowe, a whale hunter, talks about his adventures with hunting whales. I noticed that in his part there is no music or emotional effects. Some emotions come from the way John talks, but in Blackfish John Crowe mentions that although he knew it was wrong to hunt whales, he did it anyway. Blackfish doesn’t show hunters being really guilty. Although this class of society, hunter, is not enough educated to figure out how wrong is the act they are doing, they still are guilty, because as I mentioned, John Crowe knew that, but he didn’t stop. Now Blackfish starts talking about Tilikum. He was hunted in 1983 and brought to SeaLand. The logos appeals still there, actually, most of the talks about whales are logistic. Blackfish shows that SeaWorld was lying about some facts related to whales. The age, the fact of the dorsal fin and that the killer whales live better and longer by them, all these were lies by SeaWorld. The concern is why the public media and researchers didn’t respond to that, did they know they were lying? In Blackfish, Howard Garrett, an orca researcher, said “We knew by 1980, after half a dozen years of research, that they live equivalent to human life spans. And every potentially embarrassing fact is twisted and turned and denied one way or another”. So they knew it. One of the pathos appeals comes with whales is when they separate the baby whale, Kalian, from her mom, Katina. That part is very emotional, it makes the watcher feel it’s human baby being separated from her mom. The trainers, as they mention, knew there was something wrong but they didn’t do anything.
Blackfish brings also some stories and footage about accident happened by killer whales. Pathos is included in most the stories were they bring relative of victims to talk about it. Two ladies narrated one story about Keltie Byrne who was killed by Tilikum before SeaWorld bought him in emotional way. In the story about Byrne, the news paper lied or ignored this!. Many other stories are mentioned but public media and responsible companies ignored all of them. The most effective part in the whole movie is in Spain, when Estefania Rodriguez talks about her fiancé Alexis Martinez, Loro Parque Trainer, who was killed by killer whale. This part was full of emotional feelings that make audience cry. Another face in this part was the bad face of the companies that’s responsible for all these insane acts. That face appears when the managers came to the hospital with their lawyers and all they care about is to show that they were innocent. At the last, Blackfish brings the story of Dawn Brancheau, The main story, and starts blaming SeaWorld in order to direct the facts and stories in the movies toward it. However, the analyzing of Dawn accident by the trainers and experts at the end makes viewer thinks it was Dawn fault. The Blackfish ends telling what was the reaction and judgments on SeaWorld and trying to convince audiences to stand against this institution.
In conclusion, Blackfish shows the guilt of SeaWorld and many other similar companies by using many sides witnessing against them. Blackfish, some how, shows that there are another guilty sides, however, the pathos appeals reject audience from realizing that. We can’t make full judgment since SeaWorld didn’t participated, but if they had, I think the only thing they can say is “ we’re not the only guilty side”.