BLACKFISH

"Asking Good Questions, but from a Faulty Worldview"

Quality:
Content: -2 Discretion advised for adults.
NoneLightModerateHeavy
Language
Violence
Sex
Nudity

What You Need To Know:

BLACKFISH is an intriguing documentary about the captivity of Tilikum, a killer whale that’s been involved in the deaths of three different individuals, yet continues to perform shows at SeaWorld. The documentary interviews several former whale trainers who worked at SeaWorld and trained with Tilikum. It also interviews expert witnesses who testified at hearings concerning the accidental deaths and some of the actual men who helped capture the orca in 1983.

BLACKFISH is an expertly made documentary, but mostly one sided. A large part of the movie aligns with biblical values putting emphasis on protecting human life and treating God’s creatures in a caring, responsible way. Sadly, though, a few remarks also reveal an evolutionary worldview about protecting our “kin,” the orcras, from “inhumane” zoological institutions. These statements are unfairly addressed. The opposing view is only touched upon briefly by one person. BLACKFISH asks some good questions that believing Christians should address and consider, but the movie doesn’t answer the questions or problems from a Christian perspective. This, along with a few obscenities and some violent discussion in BLACKFISH, warrants extreme caution.

Content:

(HH, EE, B, Pa, Ev, L, VV, S, N) Strong humanist, environmentalist worldview but with some good moral points stressing the importance of protecting life and being good stewards of animals, but also a mention to a myth where orcas have “spiritual powers” and an evolutionary comment; two obscenities and one light profanity; some gruesome description of killer whales mutilating individuals and the discussions of wounds they received, several videos show orcas being aggressive with humans, one terrifying video of a trainer nearly getting drowned by an orca, and several orcas also have wounds where they are seen bleeding; no sex but talk of orca sperm; upper male nudity and woman in a bikini, and an orca’s testicle is seen; no alcohol; no smoking or drugs; and, nothing else objectionable.

More Detail:

BLACKFISH is an intriguing documentary about the captivity of Tilikum, a killer whale that’s been involved in the deaths of three different people, yet continues to perform shows at SeaWorld. The documentary interviews several former whale trainers who worked at SeaWorld and trained with Tilikum, expert witnesses who testified at hearings concerning the accidental deaths, and some of the actual men who helped capture the orca in 1983.

The movie begins with a 911 call reporting the attack of Dawn Brancheau, a trainer mutilated by Tilikum during a show at SeaWorld on February 24, 2010. Everyone is aware of the dangers the trainers face, but few knew of Tilikum’s questionable history of aggression.

The movie then goes back to 1983 and interviews a man who helped capture the orca, retelling it in a way that legitimately sounds barbaric and ungodly. As told in the documentary, the capturers targeted mothers and their young with the end goal of bringing back a baby orca, no matter how many others died in the pursuit. Tilikum was one of the orca’s captured off the east coast of Iceland. He was was subsequently relocated to marine zoo Sealand of the Pacific in British Columbia, Canada.

Within one decade, Tilikum would be involved with two deaths. The first occurs at Sealand where Tilikum and two other Orcas repeatedly submerged a 20-year-old marine biology student. The second occurs at SeaWorld Orlando where a 27-year-old man was found dead and naked, draped over Tilikum’s back in the pool. Both institutions that owned Tilikum claimed, however, that these were freak accidents that couldn’t be blamed on the orca. Tilikums actual trainers believe the killer whale was intentionally aggressive because of poor living conditions. Nonetheless, Tilikum continues to perform at SeaWorld.

After Dawn’s gruesome and disturbing death in 2010, a storm of protestors called for the release of orcas for the sake of their safety and that of their trainers.

BLACKFISH is an expertly made documentary, but mostly one sided. It primarily deals with the deaths surrounding Tilikum and SeaWorld, plus Sealand’s possible public relations cover up to avoid lawsuits. The movie acknowledges that trainers know the dangers of their jobs, but it questions preventative safety measures that SeaWorld failed to fully adopt and the possible mistreatment of orcas that specifically led to Dawn’s sad death.

A large part of the movie aligns with biblical values putting an emphasis on protecting human life and treating God’s creatures in a caring, responsible way. Sadly, a few remarks also reveal an evolutionary worldview about protecting our “kin,” the orcras, from “inhumane” zoological institutions. These statements are unfairly addressed, as the opposing view is only touched upon briefly by one person.

Many may see BLACKFISH as an environmentalist attack on family friendly institutions such as SeaWorld. While it does seem to lean toward a leftist humanist view of nature, it poses some legitimate questions that believers should ask. As Christians, how can we best exercise dominion over the creatures that God bestowed to us while allowing their existence to beautifully glorify the God who created them? Do some institutions unnecessarily abuse and harm animals like orcas? If so, should Christians support such places? In a culture that enjoys worshiping “the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25), it’s important to be good stewards of the planet, not for the sake of the earth or “mother nature,” but for the glory of God, because God finds pleasure in the beauty of His creation.

Though BLACKFISH asks some good questions, it doesn’t answer them from a Christian standpoint. This, along with a few obscenities and some violent discussion, warrants extreme caution.

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