Blu-ray Blackfish [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray 16590635),
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In 2010, Dawn Brancheau, a veteran trainer at the well-known Orlando, FL, water park Sea World, lost her life when she was attacked by Tilikum, a bull orca (or "killer whale") weighing 10,000 pounds who was a regular attraction at the park. What made the incident all the more disturbing was this was not the first time Tilikum had turned on one of his trainers, and that the orca had also caused the death of a trainer in 1991 before he was purchased by Sea World. While orcas will sometimes attack humans in captivity, such incidents are extremely rare in the wild, leading some scientists to question the wisdom of keeping large, intelligent, and sometimes territorial creatures in captivity and expecting them to perform on a regular basis. Filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite began researching the lives of orcas in captivity after the death of Dawn Brancheau, and in the documentary BLACKFISH, she offers a powerful and provocative look at a remarkable breed of animals that humans still don't fully understand, and how the financial interests of water parks and resorts may run counter to the best interests of the animals they put on display. Taking its title from a Native American name for orcas, BLACKFISH received its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
4 stars out of 5 -- "BLACKFISH presents a persuasive, passionate argument: wild natures right to freedom demands respect..."
"The stirring documentary BLACKFISH vividly tracks the thorny case of Tilikum, a 12,000-pound killer whale and longtime SeaWorld Orlando attraction responsible for three deaths..."
Los Angeles Times
"[An] enthralling documentary....You come away with a sense of orcas' singular intelligence, to be sure, even their astonishing playfulness, but most of all their glorious power, and the majesty of their existence in their natural habitat."
Wall Street Journal
"Incredulity and outrage mark this investigative report by director Gabriela Cowperthwaite."
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "[The] documentary presents a compelling argument against the use of performing orcas in marine parks."
3 stars out of 4 -- "Where 2009'sTHE COVE exposed the theme park chain's role in dolphin kidnapping, abuse and slaughter, BLACKFISH does the same with orcas."
"[The] delicately lacerating documentary, BLACKFISH, uses the tragic tale of a single whale and his human victims as the backbone of a hypercritical investigation into the marine-park giant SeaWorld Entertainment."
New York Times
3 stars out of 4 -- "This eye-opening doc contains sights and sounds that are stuff of nightmares."
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