September 20, 2013


Gabriela Cowperthwaite, 2013

Seaworld continues to operate, even after trainers have been killed by killer whale Tilikum. This documentary interviews past trainers, past employees, and family and friends of the victims who detail their experience of their lives involved with working with the Orcas.

An interesting yet disturbing look at some of the most beautiful creatures on earth. Killer Whales that have been confined, exploited, and basically tortured for most of their lives in captivity. The film is quite deliberate, clearly trying to stir the pot of the Seaworld culture, hoping to draw attention to years of abuse to these intelligent creatures and to attempt to clear the air on some past incidents. There is clearly no positive effect to keeping these animals in captivity other than profiting from their elementary stunts that they are quite obviously underemployed to do. They are creatures that we hardly understand. The Seaworld corporation demonstrates one of the worst sides of the human race, throwing compassion out of the window for a buck. Their business ideals seem to match that of Monsantos, trying to drive profits and pay legal teams to cover their asses. And the Orcas are not the only ones to garner sympathy in the film. The trainers are also victimized by the Seaworld machine. Seaworld takes advantage of the trainers urge to work with animals and brainwashes them to believe the animals are enjoying their stay, and tries to sweep past incidents under the carpet.

Seaworld is not going to close their doors unless they start hating money, and that isn't going to happen anytime soon. Therefore, the market must dictate what happens. As long as people are sitting in the seats waiting for the obligatory splash from the tortured Orca, it wont end. At the very least, this film should at least make people think twice before visiting the park with their children. One of the subjects of the film mentions at one point: "In fifty years, we're probably going to look back on this chapter and see how barbaric we were". While the film succeeds in delivering its message, the resistance by Seaworld to be interviewed limits the perspective. Seeing the old school Seaworld commercials certainly provides a creepy tone. Listening to the ex-trainers recount is compelling. But overall it doesn't make a lasting impact, and feels like it could easily be more of a 60 Minutes special than a full documentary.

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