Friday Film Pick: Whale Wars

0 Posted by - April 23, 2010 - Blog, Screen

Given yesterday’s announcement, on Earth Day of all days, that the Obama administration may be moving toward the legalization of whaling, this week’s Friday Film Pick is about the deplorable international practice of slaughtering whales.

I had originally wanted to embed the documentary To Kill a Whale, but it appears to not be capable of streaming. Follow the link and give it a try and you may have better luck.

After poking around on line looking for a good film to stream, I came up short (your suggestions are welcome!) and have reluctantly settled on Discovery Channel’s Whale Wars.

Whale Wars – CrewDespite high production values and an exciting and important topic, it’s a show with some problems. Between reality-TV-like narrative structuring, complete with over-the-top music and edits that reduce characters to soundbites, the content can be frustratingly unfulfilling.

Walmart and other sponsors’ commercials that are so loud I think I burst an eardrum don’t help, but hey, there’s always mute. Unfortunately the commercials are so frequent, it’s hard to watch more than one episode.

But the ongoing struggle over the sanctity of our sea-cousins as it is played out by Sea Sheperd Captain Paul Watson and crew versus Japanese whalers is exciting, intense and an important story of direct action. There’s a lot of drama, action and suspense, but not nearly enough context, intelligently articulated arguments and debate. The editing creates false narrative arcs each episode, but the danger and conflict that the conservationists face against the whalers, is very real. Watching the relatively small Sea Sheperd ship surrounded 4-1 by large powerful whaling ships is an edge-of-seat experience, to be sure.

All this to say, I won’t blame anyone for seeking alternative methods of acquiring Whale Wars episodes if only to avoid the frequency of the many, many adverts that constantly interrupt the storyline.

So enjoy this Friday Film Pick that is important, topical, exciting, political, and packaged in an annoying delivery system bound up with the two-dimensional framing of reality television.

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