It’s the documentary you’ve heard a lot about, and if you haven’t seen it, it really is an educating blast of reality. Blackfish seeks to explore the treatment of killer whales in captivity. They do this by interviewing former trainers, marine experts, and showing you actual footage of these whales in their environments. The orcas are mistreated, definitely. One sea park admitted that they kept their whales in a space that was way too small, and they all feel bad about it now.
The film doesn’t just go after Sea World, which is an important fact to remember. Sea World just happens to be the biggest sea park, with multiple locations. It explores problems at other parks. Blackfish does spend a great deal of time focusing specifically on Tilikum, the orca that killed its trainer, Dawn, in 2010. You will actually feel bad for Tilikum, even though he killed his trainer. The treatment that Tilikum had was unacceptable. He was bullied constantly by other whales, spent most of his time alone because of that, and clearly had exhibited behavioral issues that should have kept trainers out of Tilikum’s reach. The argument is that Sea World was negligent, and knew Tilikum was a risk, and still did nothing.
It’s not a hard to watch documentary, like The Cove, but it is still an important one. Sea World definitely has done a lot of things wrong, and should be forced to completely reevaluate their trainer situation. The fact that they blamed Dawn for her death is deplorable. Definitely a must watch documentary.
FINAL GRADE: A