Summary: In 2010 a SeaWorld trainer was killed by an Orca, Tilikum. With confusing reports at first on what happened, it instigated an investigation that led to SeaWorld being sued. Now it's left to ponder what have might brought on the attack? It turns out that Tilikum has been in the industry dating back to the 80's, and this isn't the only attack he's known for. By studying how Orcas act in their pods, and the way they are mistreated in captivity, we see that how it's led to the stifling of an animal who can't thrive in a habit oppressive to it's nature.
Casting: I do like how this documentary sticks with the same people being interviewed throughout the movie. It doesn't grow the base too big, or too much, so the movie does have a personal feel where we get to know the trainers, and other people who are associated with SeaLand and SeaWorld. The trainers know that they could look bad doing this movie because they did stay with SeaWorld as long as they did when questionable stuff was happening, but the fact they are willing to come forward about their own experiences gives the documentary a lot more founding. It isn't just people not associated with the place discussing some of the treatment there, and how they were unaware that it isn't natural in the wild.
Filming: The movie catches you right from the beginning with the most recent story that all of us are familiar with if you watched the news in the past couple of years. From there we get quickly introduced to the people who will be discussing various aspects of why the current situation of Orcas just doesn't work. They even bring in someone who has studied the animal's brain, they disprove many of the facts SeaWorld gives to guest about the whales to guests, and show some nasty footage of how aggressive they can be in captivity. The main problem for SeaWorld is that you just can't argue the facts being presented, because most of the argument is beyond animal rights, and more so into it's a FACT these animals shouldn't be around humans as they are, and they aren't being able to act as Orcas do in the wild.
Plot: The build up to the movie basically revolves around how one animal had twenty years worth of unnatural environmental settings to build up to what is aggressive behavior. The movie seems to start out a bit light by showing a theme park that revolved around Orcas in Canada, and how it failed. The owners though didn't release the animals into the wild as they should have, but instead just shipped one of them to SeaWorld, from there you follow that animal up to his now current situation. If you take nothing else away from this then you should at least be aware that the trainers were treated terribly as well in the movie. The movie has the trainers alleging they knew nothing of other attacks that had happened, or that the whale that SeaWorld bought had possibly killed someone, yet they were continually put into the water with these animals without that information.
I guess the most shocking thing is just how out for money this movie will depict people. I can see why SeaWorld is really having to work overtime on the PR right now, because this movie presents some very strong hold facts. The approach to explain that they take in rescue animals is the best move for SeaWorld, because technically Tilikum wasn't one they bought from the wild, but instead from a failing facility, and all the park has are his offspring. If there is anything to be learned from the organization it's that these whales can't thrive in this habitat, and if they want to continue to display them there needs to be more accommodating improvements to the enclosures (which might be impossible to do), so they can be the animals they are. Another thing to be learned is that a trainer should never be in the water with a wild animal of that size.
Rating 8.5 of 10.