Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse a... Read allUsing state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.
I'm sure many of us will agree that dolphins are very beautiful water-based mammals, and the lucky few who have gotten to chance upon them in their natural habitat will attest to the fact that it's awe-inspiring to have seen them in action. From time to time we read about the heroic nature of our mammal counterparts in saving human lives, so what would warrant such untold cruelties toward those blessed by Nature with a smile and an extremely gentle, docile nature, or cursed as the filmmakers would say, because they are unable to project outwardly their feelings of pain, sadness and betrayal by humankind?
Director Louie Psihoyos had crafted an incredible documentary which isn't just another save- this-species film, or just another wildlife conservation flick. Somehow, The Cove stands above those that I've seen which have run along those lines, in that it contains footages that the team had managed to wrangle out in a quest for the truth. It contains scenes of murder most foul, which will start again in the month of September, unless people around the world make some noise beyond puppet worldwide organizations fueled by corrupt bureaucrats bent on smug thinking that half-baked nonsensical answers can keep the truth under wraps.
What also added that emotional weight to the film, is the inclusion of Richard O'Barry, who could be infamously credited with sparking the interest in dolphin-aquariums and shows around the world, simply because of his involvement in the Flipper television series, where he had responsibility in capturing and training 5 dolphins used for that successful series, and henceforth spawned an industry of sorts where dolphins are captured en masse by confusing them and leading them into man-made traps, then allowing trainers around the world to come and choose those with potential. Think of it like the slave trade which we have abhorred, but now transferred to the animal kingdom, with a murderous act of slaughtering thousands of those which don't make the theme-park cut. Who are we to decide those that cannot entertain, only deserves to be chopped up in cold blood for the supermarkets?
O'Barry is now an activist set on releasing every dolphin in captivity, but only because of a personal, profound loss of a dolphin in his arms that have jolted him into action. He's quite forthright in his interviews, and his transformation as explained is nothing less than heart- wrenching. His crusade led him to Taiji, Japan, which is the source of the trade, with over- zealous Japanese fishermen bordering on counter-surveillance, muscling in on local police influence, to try and keep O'Barry at bay from interrupting their profitable trade, and of course putting a dampener on O'Barry's search for redemption.
Most of the film then centered on the filmmakers and their assembling of a few good men and women with specific skill sets, such as free-diving and prop-making, acoustics experts to covert camera operations, in an attempt to expose the truth from The Cove, an area designed by natural geography and exploited by the fishermen to perform their most heinous acts. It's akin to a heist movie with intense preparation work and danger lurking around every corner, but the images obtained are nothing less than shocking – the indiscriminate slaughter without remorse and plenty of laughter, a very affecting sea waters filled with red from the bloodbath, and frenetic cries for help and unsuccessful flight from death. It'll make the most stoic of men, shed tears.
The film also had touched upon another aspect of how Man is offending Nature through our polluting ways, but Psihoyos deftly included that portion in because it's also related, but never letting it detract its focus from the main story. While dolphin meat doesn't appeal, being slyly packaged as something else is nothing less than cheating. Also, the high levels of mercury found in the meat not only endangers whoever is putting it on their dinner plate, but just emphasizes the entire polluted food chain with the fact that we are the #1 pollutants on this planet, and poisoning of marine life, or rapid consumption of food from the sea, is something that will impact us in time to come very soon, unless we wake up.
One of the world's most intelligent creatures getting slaughtered indiscriminately, and you can do something about it. Undoubtedly as a film this is very well made, and have received countless of accolades, but if audiences were to stop at this point then nothing will change and everything will be lost, starting from the efforts from the activists. This film is set to break into my top films of the year as well, but even that rings hollow.
What we can do, at the very least, is to vote with our wallet. Make some noise, talk about it, spread the word and get people go watch the film, and take affirmative action. With demand and attendances to sea-world-like or dolphin theme parks come crashing down because we choose not to patronize them, then demand for dolphins to perform at these locations will no longer be viable.
- DICK STEEL
- Aug 23, 2009