Friday, March 5, 2010

The Cove

As anyone knows, humans are the third most intelligent species on Earth, following mice and dolphins. (Source: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.)  The Cove makes no reference to HHGTTG, but I think the activists featured in this jaw-dropping documentary would clearly rank dolphins above the fishermen of Taiji, Japan and the Japanese whaling commission.

The Cove exposes the brutal killing of dolphins herded into a cove in Taiji.  Buyers from dolphin parks around the world come here to buy the stars of their shows.  The ones not selected are then slaughtered and sold for meat.  I'm no environmentalist or animal rights activist; in fact, I am highly suspicious of any of that ilk.  But the brutal, senseless slaughter of the dolphins portrayed in this movie is enough to get any decent person fired up.

The water in the cove is red with the blood of the slaughtered dolphins.

The prime mover of Taiji activism, Richard O'Barry, states that he has been working for years to rectify a problem he helped create.  As the dolphin trainer for the TV show Flipper, O'Barry pioneered dolphin training techniques and helped fuel a the popularity of dolphin shows.  After a few years with the show, and after he, as he described it, held one of his dolphins in his arms as she committed suicide, he dedicated his life to freeing dolphins held in captivity.

O'Barry teams up with the filmmakers to expose the killing in the cove.  The Japanese do everything they can to stop them, tailing them in unmarked cars and intimidating them as they film and take pictures.  But using special-ops techniques and high-tech cameras and concealment, they gather video and audio evidence to indict the dolphin killers.  And using Michael Moore-style guerrilla journalism, the confront officials and fishermen about the practice.

The film is well done, and the topic is moving for anyone with the smallest soft spot for these majestic, friendly sea creatures.  Watching this film, you can't help but hope the dolphin killing industry will be shut down, and you may never want to go to Sea World again.

Bottom line, 3 1/2 stars.

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