With compelling, tragic, and disturbing accounts of the internal machinations of SeaWorld 's killer whale exhibitions, Blackfish is an effective documentary by film maker, Gabriela Cowperthwaite. The film depicts graphic images, testimony, and data aimed at the public’s assumption that these cherished amusement parks are fun and safe.
One of the ways in which the film successfully reaches audiences is in its way of emotional appeals. For example, the film found a member of the whale hunting crew who first went out and captured orcas to be trained to entertain the public. “It’s like kidnapping a little kid from its mother, everybody’s watching, what can you do? It’s the worst thing I can think of, I can’t think of anything worse than that.” (John Crowe) Even all of these years’ later, tears came to his eyes as he recalled tearing the young whales away from their families. Whales stay with their families for life, and the rest of a young whale’s family clustered around the ship as it was lifted out of the water and taken away. The emotional impact was clear as the man admitted that this was the worst thing he had ever done. He acknowledged that he should have known what they were doing was wrong on more than moral grounds when the workers were told to weight the bodies of three young whales killed in the attempt at capture and let them sink to the bottom.
In attempts to gain emotional sympathy for the orcas, Blackfish humanizes some of the animal’s mannerisms. As mentioned in