Girl on Fire: I can’t wait for ‘Blackfish’

[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, August 1, 2013]

It is hard to describe how excited I am to see the new documentary “Blackfish” in theaters.

“Blackfish” is a 2013 documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and focuses on how orcas, large black and white whales also known as killer whales, are treated in captivity. It also looks at Tilikum, the killer whale held captive at SeaWorld Orlando, Fla., that killed three people since 1991. The film received a 97 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a film review website.

I saw an advertisement for the documentary online a few months ago, and looked into it more. I’ve been a fan of SeaWorld since I was little, but I’ve also been interested in marine life and animal rights since I was little, so to see a combination of all three in one film piqued my interest.

I decided to do some research on Tilikum. The black and white creature is the largest orca in captivity, measuring in at 22.5 feet long and 12,000 pounds. The dorsal fin on his back measures six and a-half feet tall, but is completely collapsed to one side.

What I’m most looking forward to in this film is how the director focuses on control. Animals that large and wild, should they be contained in a tank that could compare to the size of a bathtub to them? Should these animals be captive just so people can watch them do tricks for entertainment? Why do people think they can control an animal such as an orca, and why do they want to?

This film has been compared to the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove,” which looked at dolphin hunting in Japan. The documentary claims approximately 23,000 dolphins and porpoises are killed each year by Japanese whaling industries.

Unfortunately, “Blackfish” is being shown in theaters in large cities like San Francisco, and the closest it will get to Creston in the next few months is Lincoln, Neb., in September.

What impressed me, thus far, is how devoted these people are to showing a different side of something. Some may call it biased, others may say it is too one-sided. I, for one, think that even if it is too one-sided, the fact is that side is finally publicized. We should have all the facts of an event or company before deciding our opinions. For example, SeaWorld has widely shared its views and all the good the company does, but to be able to see it in a different light lets people see a fuller view.

I hope to get a chance to see “Blackfish” on the silver screen before purchasing it on DVD. And, this is definitely one film I highly recommend seeing to anyone, even considering I have yet to see it myself.

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