Docurama // 2010 // 80 Minutes // Rated G
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 17th, 2013
Friendship is bigger than we know.
Who would have thought that one of the year's most powerful indictments of big government run amok would come from Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds? But that's pretty much the moral of the story for The Whale -- dumbass bureaucrats saddled with layers of red tape make children sad.
Here's the story: in 2001, a young killer whale named Luna showed up in Nootka Sound, off the coast of Vancouver. Separated from his parents, the orca (wait, is Luna really a male name?) spent his days bobbing around the bay, eager for attention from the various seafaring residents and tourists.
Unfortunately, there are strict rules on the books from the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and state workers would routinely take to the water and belch into their bullhorn, warning observers to refrain from engaging with Luna. Here is a direct quote:
"Folks, this is not a watchable whale!"
Folks, this is not a watchable whale. Fantastic. Poor Luna, who appeared to be as friendly as a creature called a "killer whale" can be. He would follow boats and bob up alongside them, sticking his head up and clamoring for attention. And the people were eager to oblige, looking to get their portable Sea World on, but, no, not happening.
What followed was five years of prolonged limbo. Luna stayed put and no one could come up with an idea to deliver him back into his natural waters. Even when private citizens offered an ingenious method to capture, transport and release Luna, the Canadian government once against stepped in to put the kibosh on it. Even the First Nation people got involved, canoeing and singing and mixing it up politically.
How does it all wrap? Well, that would be spoiling, but it does make a good story. In fact, the whole thing is a good story, nicely narrated by Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern) and beautifully shot by co-directors/producers/cinematographers Suzanne Chisholm and Michael Parfit. Original photography is mixed in with stock footage from news reports and interviews with experts and journalists and bystanders. The soundbites range from heartfelt and honest to, well, this: "The more interaction whales and dolphins have with people, the more likely they are to suffer injury and death."
Docurama's DVD for The Whale: standard def 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 5.1 Surround, English closed captioning, deleted scenes, interviews, "Luna's Birth Drama" bonus footage, and four Luna-inspired music videos of varying quality.
Not Guilty. Go fish!
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (CC)
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated G
* Deleted Scenes
* Music Videos