The nominees for the Academy Awards are out - click here for a list - and it's pretty much a lock that 12 Years a Slave will win everything up to an including Best Animated Feature.
Over the last decade, Best Documentary has generated some serious winners, and is now a favorite among winners like myself. Of the five nominees in this category, the good people at the Academy really whiffed by not including Blackfish.
If you have ever visited SeaWorld and watched the giant killer whales swim around, and the trainers that splash either on or next to these massive animals, you should watch this film.
Shot mostly from the perspective of an animal lover, Blackfish takes an in depth look at the many accidents, some fatal, at water theme parks involving killer whales.
Who thinks playing around with a giant animal named "Killer" is a good idea?
Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite interviews several former trainers and SeaWorld staffers who experienced the terror, and sadness, surrounding the animals. Some of the footage feels like a feature film where you can't watch because you know a rea-life trainer is about to have a tremendous accident. The suspense is gripping.
The movie focuses primarily on the whale Tilikum, a massive animal that produced top-line sperm to produce other SeaWorld whales, who in his career had three accidents that left trainers dead.
By the end of the movie you feel for the animals that are seperated from their families in the open water in the name of entertaining us in a confined area at a theme parks. That the animals are incredibly smart.
In case you are wondering, despite the bad press from the movie, SeaWorld remains a cash cow. Or cash whale. And SeaWorld had no official comment in the documentary, although it does have this website detailing how it goes to great length to protect Orca.
Maybe the accidents are just isolated incidents, and a merely a matter of percentages: Play with a giant animal long enough, something is going to go south. But watching the film you do get the sense that SeaWorld is just a big company whose business is not that much different than a zoo - sometimes people get hurt, and the animals are screwed.
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