Being a newbie to blogging, I unceremoniously deleted this post from a few weeks ago, so here it is again:
A few weeks ago I had the chance to see this lovely thriller/documentary (real interesting mix of genres here) called The Cove.
Remember Flipper? The mastermind behind the series is Ric O'Barry, world famous dolphin trainer of the five that starred in the series Flipper in 1964. O'
Barry made easy money, drove a Porsche, and did not care much for the animals he was working with at the time. Little did he know he would rethink his actions...and later commented on his previous ignorance:
"Humans breathe without even trying. It takes effort for dolphins have to breathe, to take every single breath. I saw Kathy...she was really depressed... You have to understand dolphins and whales are not [involuntary] air breathers like we are. Every breath they take is a conscious effort. They can end their life whenever. She swam into my arms and looked me right in the eye, took a breath and didn't take another one. I let her go and she sank straight down on her belly to the bottom of the tank."
Kathy was one of the five dolphins working in Flipper and died; O'Barry claims that she committed suicide, a fact heavily disputed by scientists, psychologists, and animal conservationists. Ric O'Barry worked with these animals everyday for years; he
personally trained the five on Flipper, and worked most intensively with Kathy.
It wasn't until then that O'Barry saw the consequences of his actions; he had single-handedly and unwittingly created an industry that had dire consequences for dolphins, and the ecosystems of the sea.
After setting free dolphins (even getting arrested by taking two dolphins from Sugarloaf Dolphin Sanctuary and freeing them), and becoming permanently banned from The International Whaling Commission, O'Barry teamed up with The Oceanic Preservation Society, National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos, special effects designers from Industrial Light and Magic (George Lucas's own special effects company!), and world champion free-diver and record-holder Mandy-Rae Cruickshank, and several adventure-seeking guys, they set off to Taiji, Japan to crack open a twisted way of life where 23,000 dolphins and whales are killed by means of primitive weapons- spears and knives.
Using night vision goggles, infrared recorders, and special cameras from National Geographic, Mandy was able to place cameras underwater and several others placed cameras in areas the Japanese did NOT want them to see (covertly done by asking the Japanese which places to avoid, and asking to keep the map "just to make sure where to stay out" WELL DONE).
After harvesting the tapes, the crew were completely unprepared for this:
Trainers pick the dolphins they want and the rest that get scared into the cove are brutally slaughtered by spears. The waters in the cove haunt in red- it really is a dolphin's worst nightmare. How long do you think this can last?
I don't want to spoil everything, but even if you are not much for animals this is definitely one of the most exciting and triumphant films I have ever seen. It has a satisfying feel but at the same time sends out an admirable message that the battle is not over.
Dolphins have unrivaled intelligence and are one of the few species that possess self-awareness. To think that people can treat them in such a manner really sets a new low point in humanity for me.
I highly recommend watching this movie; I don't think I have been moved this much since watching Million Dollar Baby.