Film Review: Blackfish

Jan. 16 / 17

Hello! It’s MLK holiday everywhere in the states people are enjoying a day off. Of course, the MLK is more than just a day off from work. Here in the office of Shadowbox, there is no day off. I’m doing a review of the 2013 documentary film Blackfish. The film centers around captive killer whales in Sea World. Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the film mainly focuses on one of the whales, Tilikum, who passed away earlier this month, January 6.

When you think of Sea World, there is only one image that pops in mind, seeing those awesome killer whales or orcas. This is the park’s big money-maker and has been for years, but that came to a halt.

In February 2010 at Sea World in Orlando Florida, one of the trainers Dawn Brancheau, was killed by Tilikum. Unfortunately, she wasn’t the first. Tilikum, nicknamed Tilly, has killed two other people before. You have to go back 39 years ago. He has been in captivity since he was a young baby whale. The film describes in detail what these highly intelligent animals go thru on a daily basis in a not so great environment. Can you imagine being basically trapped in a tank or getting picked on by the other orcas and you don’t have anywhere to go? I would go stir crazy. Tilly was just a time bomb waiting to blow. Sea World knew about what this whale was capable of. At the time, former trainers had no clue about Tilly’s history. There is a big difference between whales in captivity and whales in the wild. You truly feel sympathy for not only those who were killed by Tilly, but Tilly himself. He has never known what being a wild and free animal is. None of these orcas in captivity at Sea World knows.

I lived in San Antonio Texas and I remember when Sea World opened there in May 1988, over the Memorial Day weekend. I enjoyed my time there. The best part about going to the park was seeing the killer whales. I would’ve never known what conditions these orcas went through. I haven’t been to Sea World since. A lot has changed during the aquatic park’s 52 years. I did read somewhere that the orca shows will be closing soon.

Blackfish is one of those documentaries that really makes you think. Would I still go to Sea World now? No…Not really. The park is only concerned about one thing: making money.

Blackfish: *****

Blackfish is available on Netflix. 





























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