Category Archives: Films

The next Free Willy?

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Californian assemblyman, Richard Bloom, has proposed a ban on orca captivity in the Californian state to take place. The bill would make it illegal to hold in captivity, or use, a wild-caught or captive-bred orca for performance or entertainment purposes.” It also would ban artificial insemination of captive killer whales and block the import of orcas or orca semen. After controversial documentary ‘Blackfish’ by Gabrielle Cowperwaithe highlighted the alleged abuse on orcas at SeaWorld there has been a lot of support for this bill to be passed. However, there are many who claim that this bill is irrelevant and could potentially be dangerous for the killer whales.

This proposal for the law to be passed was after the wake of controversial documentary on SeaWorld ‘Blackfish’. After ‘Blackfish ‘was released it went global after originally only been shown at five cinemas in Canada after the Sundance festival. This has sparked major backlash on SeaWorld and many are demanding the orcas be released. Richard Bloom has stated: ‘There is no justification for the continued captive display of orcas for entertainment purposes. These beautiful creatures are much too large and far too intelligent to be confined in small, concrete pens for their entire lives. It is time to end the practice of keeping orcas captive for human amusement.”

This is not a foreign concept at India, Croatia, Costa Rica, Hungary and Chile have banned cetacean captivity and Switzerland have banned dolphin captivity. Under this law there would be 10 orcas that would be released from SeaWorld in San Diego ranging from wild caught orcas such as Corgi aged 36 and captivity bred orcas such as Kastaka.

Green Peace member and active petitioner, Oskar Bindere, stated:

‘I am in full support of Bloom’s movement. I feel that orca captivity is outdated and barbaric. Not only orca captivity but a lot of captivity for animals, it is unfair and unjust.’

When asking Bindere how he felt towards the documentary, Blackfish that led to this proposed law he stated:

‘I did watch Blackfish. I have mixed feelings towards the documentary. On the one hand, I understand where the documentary comes from and they’re not untrue ideals they have presented. On the other hand I do feel like the truth has been twisted slightly to fit their point. That is something I do not agree with the truth speaks for itself.’

The proposal has shocked the captivity world. There has been positive and negative feedback on the proposal. However, after the proposal was made there was a reported drop in SeaWorld stock.

When Bloom was speaking with takepart.com he stated that captivity was not on his radar before watching the chilling documentary Blackfish.

Bloom states:

‘I’m not a big fan of extremists in any form. This bill came about as a result of my involvement in the issue. No one had influence over me, other than my having seen Blackfish and contacted scientists.

As for their second argument, I completely understand the economic value and jobs that SeaWorld provides. But I don’t think anybody would ever argue that we can justify jobs by supporting bad conduct.’

If the bill is passed it is reported that SeaWorld will be the ones to do the clearing up. They will have to relocate the orcas whether that be releasing them into the wild or sending them to sea pens.

After receiving word of the proposed law SeaWorld’s lobbyist released a statement saying that this is the doing of “extreme animal activists” some of whom “partnered with PETA in bringing the meritless claim that animals in human care should be considered slaves under the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — a clear publicity stunt.’

Another critic towards the idea is Marine Mammal Parks past President Billy Hurley. He stated:

“It’s very easy for some of the extremists to say things like, ‘Oh, if we had a sanctuary, if we had a sea pen, it would just be so much different.’ And the reality is that if you had a sea pen, you would still need veterinary care, you would still need qualified people to take care of the animals, you would still need to be careful about those types of environmental changes that could occur while the animals were in those conditions. The list goes on and on.’

Personally, I am for Bloom’s proposition and I am very intrigued as to what will happen when the bill is passed. However, I am very aware of the fact that there are both pros and cons.

I am aware that orcas have sensory deprivation in captivity and their lives are being shortened. However, a lot of whales will die if they are released back into the wild. I do believe that captivity led to the killer whale Tillikum’s psychosis and that eventually led to Dawn Brancheu’s death.

Orcas are intelligent creatures and, in my opinion, there is no valid argument to capture these mammals and make them perform for entertainment and money.

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So I have almost, kinda branched out from my sci-fi/paranormal cocoon. The novel I’m writing about is sci-fi but it is not the usual evident tension between a female protagonist and the dangerous good-looking (insert mythical something) type of novel. However, it is topical as the film based on the book is out this year. I will try my hardest to review the book without revealing any major storylines in the film. So here is my detailed, but in a minimalistic way, review.

Divergent by Veronica Roth is a novel that compelled me from start to finish. I became submerged in her haunting world where society is split into five factions; Dauntless, which the members are fearless, cloaked in black and excellent fighters. Candor, whose members always tell the truth, no matter how harsh it can be. Amity, dressed in yellows and reds and forever happy and peaceful. Erudite, the intellectuals of this warped society and finally Abnegation, the definition of selflessness, dressed in drab gray, never curious and anything that could be associated with cosmetics shunned. Basically, the factions are self-explanatory. Abnegation is where the protagonist enters, Beatrice Prior, who is later known as Tris.

Basically, everyone in this gothic type society is split into one of these five factions based on an aptitude test they have on Choosing Day, an exam that determines you personality, this is when the storyline develops as Tris reveals an aptitude test for not one but three factions, Dauntless, Erudite and Abnegation. This makes her Divergent and therefore a threat to society. Tris shocks her family and herself by deciding to live in the faction Dauntless.

Throughout the novel you see that the fearless faction has many flaws in its society, or else there wouldn’t really be a story, and Tris is caught in the middle, the Dauntless faction celebrates suicide, abuses their initiates and makes their deepest fears a reality. Of course, no good novel is worth its literature salt unless there is the side-kicks and the miniature villain that isn’t necessarily into the major evil behind everything but terrorise the protagonist enough that you wish they were a real person so you could punch them in the face. Tris’ friends, Will, Christina and Al, are there to try to and help each other survive throughout the initiation while jealous Peter makes it his living goal to annihilate any chance they have of placing in the top ten. The top ten is a score board for the initiates placing them in order of their rank, if they make it into the top ten then they have earned their place in Dauntless. However, if they fall short they are cast out to the Factionless, a section of this society filled with homeless and starving people who belong to no faction, hence the name.

Of course, the love interest. (I’m not saying that a good book needs a love interest, I’m just saying that personally for me it makes a little bit more interesting). Four, named after only having four fears. However, this is not a typical girl meets boy novel, there are many themes that overshadow romance so therefor Four is not your typical boy. He is one of the mentors for the initiates, he is dangerous but also haunted, which you later find out why but I won’t tell you because if I did I may as well name this post Spoiler!

Four subtly helps Tris through her initiatiation while dealing with his own demons and this is when it’s all gone Pete Tong. The other faction’s are beginning to cast out Abnegation, the leaders and politicians of the society, with the hunting party being controlled by Erudite.

This is when the novel’s storyline becomes clear, a war breaks out and Tris must decide on whether to stick with her new but damaged faction or help her family in Abnegation and also fight against the antagonist of this novel, Jeanine Matthews, the leader or Erudite.

This novel is definitely in my top ten. I loved the way the society has been portrayed, it appears as though the individuals are managed and ruled by their factions but you can see the bigger picture, the strings being pulled. The strength of the character Tris pulled me in and almost demanded respect. There is no doubt that Veronica Roth is an excellent writer, developing this alternate reality where betrayal is everywhere and love and trust is something earned not given.

I highly recommend that you read the book, I’m slightly biased but I believe that the book is always better than the film as you get to know the character better, hear their inner thoughts. However, it isn’t fair for me to judge before the film has even been released but basically my point is if you like alternative society/paranormal/romance/awesome books then definitely read this book!!