Call me insane,* but after suffering through the 600-some pages of Moby-Dick during my sophomore year of college, I decided that Melville’s chapter devoted to cetology would be the limit to my whale knowledge. And I was okay with that.
Don’t get me wrong, I sang along with Michael Jackson to the Free Willy theme song and rallied behind the plight of the mighty orca as every stalwart member of the Free Willy generation should. But with the way I always saw it, even though sea parks and zoos weren’t the best things in the world, they weren’t some of the worst things either. That was until I watched The Cove, the 2010 Academy Award winning documentary that uncovers the annual slaughter of a reported 23,000 dolphins throughout Japan, and specifically in the fishing community of Taiji. The all-out brutality is what is remarkable here. Yes, dolphins are lured into the lagoon, then trapped and netted, and then sorted through for the Sea World specialty of young female bottle nosed dolphins. That’s bad, but many things captured in the documentary are worse. Unfortunately, it’s what happens to the remaining dolphins that really makes director Louie Psihoyos’ film carry through with its haunting, muckraking quality. Former Flipper dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry, along with a team of divers, camera men, and a much-needed adrenaline junkie, are the ones who expose what the majestic lagoon and the lush, national parklands of Taiji so desperately attempt to conceal.
Sure, I’m more sentimental than most, but I wouldn’t say that I’m a full-fledged granola either. However this one sticks, and it should. I’ll have to diagnose you as mostly robot if after the movie you don’t go immediately to the website to see how you can help. Save a dolphin, be less of a robot—it’s a win-win situation.
* I hope you have similarly suffered, then maybe you will find this opener as amusing as I do.