Essay on ‘Blackfish’: Story about One Amusement Park
Tilikum, undoubtedly SeaWorld’s most famous whale, was held in captivity for 33 years of his life. He died in March 2016 due to bacterial pneumonia. His death was a result of the poor treatment and inhumane conditions he was forced to live in for 33 of the 35 years he was alive. Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary ‘Blackfish’ exposes the SeaWorld corporation and their efforts to distract their customers from the repeated ‘accidents’ as a result of keeping the orcas in their parks. The question is raises is SeaWorld really an amusement park or is it rather an abusement park.
Gabriela Cowperthwaite is an American filmmaker who has directed, produced, edited and written many documentary and television films. She often deals with social, cultural and environmental issues within society in relation to real life events. Cowperthwaite’s most famous documentary ‘Blackfish’ has been nominated for 39 awards and won 6, both within in America and globally.
We all loved our childhood trips to the local SeaWorld to watch the animal shows and one of the most popular shows where the classic orca killer whale extravaganza. Years ago, orcas were left in the wild untouched, the way it should be. Orcas lived in beautiful blue oceans and migrated from sea to sea. These beautiful creatures of the deep are instead placed in supposedly well-maintained theme parks. However, this is proven to be a false perception and image of SeaWorld’s true environment. Since SeaWorld started to breed and capture orcas, there has been many cases around the issue of animal cruelty brought to the surface.
‘Blackfish’ explores the exquisite deep-sea creatures known as orcas often referred to as killer whales through the use of characterization. However, the word ‘killer’ is just not at all a representation of these beautiful creatures, although SeaWorld continues to push this as their excuse for the negligent decisions they have made. The director chose to express the orcas as victims of SeaWorld’s corrupt practices.
Gabriela Cowperthwaite uses the manipulation of human emotions and plays on the strong societal views which created instant response to the mistreatment of animals. As this is a heavily weighted issue in society and will continue to be until the issue is quashed the documentary instantly became powerful as its target viewers were captivated.
The overwhelming use of facts and interviews of multiple accredited SeaWorld trainers who tell their personal anecdotes and expose the truth of SeaWorld. In particular the interview of a previous orca capturer showing a grown man crying because of the intense memories he recalled of the capture of the orcas from the wild. A relevant cultural assumption is that grown men are seen to be tough and hold in their emotions. So, when this is displayed on the screen the audience is drawn in to sympathize for the man and his pain.
Another interview which appeals to the viewers visual and audio response is John Hargrove. When he speaks of the one-on-one whale attacks that Tilikum experiences due to the circumstances of his enclosure, pictures and videos of a whale bleeding profusely from the side is shown. The director uses the representation of SeaWorld’s character as a villain. This powerful representation continues to push viewers to see SeaWorld and their efforts to hide the truth on the appalling issue at hand. Instead, they continue to brush the mistreatment under the sand.
The director incorporates interviews and stories, along with police recordings and the OSHA investigations which led to trial cases. These worked well together in succeeding to produce the most negative representation possible. The ingenious idea of creating the ‘invisible’ narrator but instead using many different interviewees sharing their own personal anecdotes and views on the SeaWorld situation, effectively enforced Cowperthwaite’s agenda. The array of experts whose interviews were cleverly picked to be arranged in a way which supported the director’s argument also reinforce the horrifying villain in which SeaWorld is.
The use of amateur footage also coveys the truth about SeaWorld’s agenda. The footage of Dawn Brancheau’s final moments before the fatal attack which lead to her death. Previous footage of Dawn is also showed as a technique to create a connection with the audience to force the viewers to subconsciously take her side in the story. The use of actuality footage showing SeaWorld treating the orcas in a cruel manor continues to sway the audience throughout the documentary.
Throughout the documentary, Gabriela Cowperthwaite utilizes the specific story element of story arc. This clear structure is present within the film and it allows her to create the best effect possible on viewers for the underpinning view she intended.
At the start of the documentary viewers are positioned to have questions and tension fills the room as it introduces the mystery of Dawn Brancheau’s death. The first response, police recording is a key element used to promote the agenda in the beginning of the documentary. The use of dark images along with the suspenseful music creates a sense of panic for the viewer. A total of two police recordings are played and the fear and anxiety overwhelm the audience. Dawn Brancheau’s death can be seen as the climax of the documentary her death is intertwined all the way through the film constantly dropping hints.
The juxtaposition of editing techniques is used in the final scenes where the majestic creatures are seen in the wild in their natural habitats in peace. It drills in the idea to the viewer that the real problem is SeaWorld. The repetitive use of these techniques throughout the documentary positions viewers to develop the intended negative view towards SeaWorld and their practices in terms of orca treatment and captivation. The argument of ‘captivity kills’ is reinforced in these final moments of the film.
‘Blackfish’ puts viewers in a situation in which they are forced to pick a side. Often the human race will side with an animal where there is evidence of clear mistreatment. This is an ethical concept imbedded in one’s moral compass. All the elements within the documentary effectively work together to exploit the unthinkable actions of SeaWorld the ABUSEment park. Several countries including Canada amended their laws in terms of the capturing of wild orcas after ‘Blackfish’ was released in 2013. The documentary’s release sparked public outrage. SeaWorld was also forced to change their policy on whales kept in captivity. Although the director created a fairly one-sided representation of the issue the circumstances presented allow for the only representation to be one which is bias to the animals. The shows that once created so much joy and magic, and created lasting impacts on so many childhoods, now drowning in the disgraceful truth of the real SeaWorld.
Abel Gance’s silent film titled ‘La Roue’ (1923) or also known as ‘The Wheel’ is a masterpiece that will take the viewers into another perspective of film where creativity and imagination plays a significant role in its entirety. This epic melodramatic film centered on three main male characters who are fighting over a woman whom they love. Sisif, a widowed man and a railway engineer, finds himself romantically attracted to his adopted daughter named Norma (an orphan girl who was...
‘The Secret Life of Pets’ is an animation created by Illumination and distributed by Universal Studio under the instruction of director Chris Renaud. This is an adventure with a hint of comedy animation that earned a total of more than 800 million dollars up till now. And with all the factors sated above. The animation is considered a successful one. The movie is about Max, a Jack Russell Terrier who was adopted by his owner Katie in Manhattan, New York....
While both ‘Ali: Fear Eats the Soul’, directed by Rainer Fassbinder, and ‘Do the Right Thing’, directed by Spike Lee, criticize the divisive nature of dominant ideology within their respective stories, Fassbinder and Lee use differing cinematic techniques to address these racial hierarchies and tensions between minorities and dominant groups. The two films challenge dominant ideology through telling the story of an interracial couple in Germany in a time when this type of relation was not accepted, and the story...
The power of cinema is incredible, but it is certainly overlooked. A key element to a successful film is its ability to raise awareness, awaken interest in social issues but more importantly change the way viewers perceive important topics. Often, we find ourselves ‘in the story’, helping characters make decisions – rooting for them when they make the right decision and cringing when they don’t. We get emotionally involved, we identify, and like Taraji P. Henson’s character in Theodore Melfi’s...
‘The Stoning of Soraya M.’ is a film by a French-Iranian journalist named Freidoune Sahebjam. The film makes an evident case against the Iranian Sharia Law system, which is supported by Zahra, the aunt of the main character, Soraya. While acknowledgement of an individual’s right to choose and freely practice their religion is commendable, more important is the recognition that there is a clear moral differentiation between right and wrong. The events depicted in this film fit unambiguously and certainly...
In the film ‘The Way We Get By’ we meet three troop greeters: Bill, Joan, and Jerry. These retired elderly citizens have been doing a kind gesture to greet every troop plane arriving or departing from Bangor. We can take a glance behind the warm smiles, handshakes, and free cookies and discover a world wherein the seniors are worried in their very own struggles with aging, sickness, loneliness, and private loss. In this essay we will be focusing on the...
Set in dystopian London ‘V for Vendetta’ directed by James McTeigue, tells the story of the mysterious ‘V’ and his mission to begin a revolution to overthrow the government due to how it oppressed him and the citizens of London. With the help of his ally, Evey, they become successful in toppling the government. With the topics, this film covers and how the story plays out, the best literary theory to analyze it with is Marxist theory as they both...
The film ‘Citizen Kane’ was released in the United States in 1941, It was a famous masterpiece written, directed and performed by Orson Wells, a 25-year-old film master at the time. It is not only an important experimental film in the history of American cinema, but also an innovative and classic film in the history of world cinema. What’s more, the method breaking through the traditional shooting of the movie also provided a direction indicator for later American movies. Deep...
The movie directed by Sean Anders ‘Instant Family’ is about a married couple – Pete and Ellie. At the beginning of this movie one of Ellie’s sister’s mentions the fact that Pete and Ellie had no children. Pete and Ellie never over thought that, they have never even tried to have kids yet. The same day Ellie went on an adoption website and began to get emotional when she saw the children and how in need they were for a...
01 / 09
Fair Use Policy
EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.