(a “broken family” film review by Timothy J. Verret)
This has to be a first ever: Me not being able to watch a film in its entirety not because the film was boring but simply because the film broke my heart too much. I have tried to watch BLACKFISH multiple times (it’s overdue on my library account), but I just can’t take the “broken family” of the film, the “breaking away” of a nonhuman animal from his or her family for humans’ entertainment. This is unfortunately the reality of all nonhuman animal amusement parks and acts that are for humans’ entertainment, making the “broken family” NOT just a human “break.”
The film, as best as I can tell from not having seen it in its entirety, centers around SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau who began her “Dine With Shamu” show on February 24, 2010, just as she had many times before. This particular show, however, included a gruesome finale that left Brancheau’s body without her left arm or part of her scalp, among other injuries. Dawn Brancheau was declared dead shortly after the show, but still, 11 years later, SeaWorld claims no responsibility for the vicious attack. This reality “breaks” my heart because it’s BOTH a human AND a nonhuman animal reality. Dawn’s family lost Dawn just as Shamu and all other killer whales captured in the wild and placed in amusement parks and acts lose their family. This fact is the very part when I turned the film off, i.e., the capture of baby killer whales out in the wild as their mothers screamed out for their babies. Interesting, as well, that humans don’t only do this in the sea. They do it EVERY SINGLE DAY OF EVERY SINGLE MOMENT on the land, when they tear a baby cow or pig from his or her mother on a factory farm for human’s “entertaining” breakfast, lunch or dinner.
I would go out on a limb or a fin (and I don’t think it’s a very long limb or fin) to say that all human families care very much about their family and want their babies kept in the family as long as possible. If this limb or fin is correct, why would it be any different for all nonhuman animal families to care very much about their family and want their babies kept in the family as long as possible? A nonhuman animal amusement park or act is known for human families attending these as a family outing. How compassionate is it for a human family to attend a family outing when they know a nonhuman animal family has become a “broken family” because this human family outing “broke” the nonhuman animal’s family apart? Is that amusement or is that apathy? Is that fun or is that family? Is that BOTH humans’ and nonhuman animals’ families “broken?”
And I don’t want to just spotlight humans who attend nonhuman animal amusement parks or acts, as many probably don’t know what horror goes on behind the scenes. But I do want to spotlight SeaWorld, and not in a good way, because they know EXACTLY what horror goes on behind the scenes and they know EXACTLY why they will not shut down their amusement park. Why? You guessed it: MONEY!!!! SeaWorld, in fact, was taken to court regarding Dawn Brancheau’s death 11 years ago and yet SeaWorld is STILL open and operating? I, unfortunately, don’t know exactly what happened in this court verdict because I couldn’t get through the film. But what I know EXACTLY is no matter the outcome of the court verdict, SeaWorld continues to operate its “entertainment” business, because SeaWorld only cares about human money and nothing about nonhuman animal misery.
What is truly enlightening about this film review is that it hits close to home (pun intended). I’m left to wonder why this film triggered me so deeply, because I consider my own family of origin a “broken family.” Why would I care so much about a “broken family” of nonhuman animals if my own family is “broken,” as well? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my “broken family” is a human “break,” while the “broken family” of nonhuman animals for humans’ entertainment is NOT within their own family but an outside human “break.” There is a commonality there, right? But you see, I can put my own finger on myself when it comes to my “broken family” and “cleaning my side of the street.” Nonhuman animals CANNOT put their own finger (or fin) on themselves, because they have ZERO “cleaning their side of the street” when it comes to their “broken family.” It’s the humans who break apart their family, and SeaWorld in particular needs to be TOTALLY “cleaning their side of the street” and TOTALLY shameful for these nonhuman animals’ “broken family.” And it sounds like SeaWorld is NOT
“cleaning up their side of the street” or even remotely shameful if they are still opened and operating….which they are. Maybe they should call it ShameWorld and NOT SeaWorld. 😉
Even though I have not seen BLACKFISH in its entirety, I hope you will. I’m just funny (not in a good way) that way when it comes to witnessing animal abuse. When I witness animal abuse, whether in person or in a film like this, I am just SOOOOO HEARTBROKEN, that it leaves me triggered and trembling and “trashed and crashed.” In fact, last night, when I tried to watch the film yet again, I turned it off and “trashed and crashed” straight to my bed because I was SOOO SAD! The only time I can remember that happening before is when I watched PETA’s “Meet Your Meat” (https://www.peta.org/videos/meet-your-meat/). In addition to watching BLACKFISH (even though I couldn’t), please, please, PLEASE watch PETA’s “Meet Your Meet” video. “Oh, but I can’t watch that. It will make me so sad!” Well, then, I REALLY hope you watch it because if it makes you “so sad,” maybe it will make you “so vegan.” 🧡🐾💛🐾💚🐾💙🐾
Let’s face some hard, cold facts: Humans have absolutely NO RIGHT to capture beautiful and sensitive and majestic creatures out of the sea (or on the land) to get these same creatures to perform for our entertainment. As the poster for this film says, “Never capture what you can’t control.” And let’s face more hard, cold facts: If humans can’t even control themselves (God does that!), then humans certainly cannot control a killer whale that is WAY bigger than them and, as research shows, WAY more emotionally complex than most humans give them credit for. I hope you will join me in knowing that a “broken family” is a BOTH human AND nonhuman animal reality. I hope you will consider repairing your “broken family” AND repairing the “broken family” of any nonhuman animal amusement park or act by NEVER going to one and telling others not to go to one either.
There is nothing about BLACKFISH that is “black.” What is “black” is any human (I’m talking specifically to you, SeaWorld) that would even consider capturing wild and precious and free nonhuman animals from the sea (or the land) and forcing and abusing them to perform for human’s entertainment. The “black” human (not fish) stain of that is nonhuman animals of a “broken family” because humans “broke” the family apart.
PS(PERFECT SEA)1: I hope you will read today’s God Sonnet “Don’t Ease Our Ego!” as the sonnet words and the sonnet prayer is all about this film review (https://timothyjverret.blog/2021/05/05/dont-ease-our-ego/).
PS(PERFECT SEA)2: PLEASE do me (and God’s nonhuman animals for a “free and perfect sea”) a favor and sign these very important petitions to SHUT DOWN SEAWORLD. Even if you just sign one (but I really want you to sign them ALL 😉), one signature on one petition could change MANY nonhuman animal lives in amusement parks and acts like SeaWorld for the better:
PS(PERFECT [PRAYER] SEA)3: “Father God, PLEASE forgive me for being so angry throughout this film review. I know that the ‘broken family’ of BOTH humans AND nonhuman animals is because there are so many “broken” people who desperately need You. I know this because I am ‘broken’ myself, and I need You to heal my ‘brokenness.’ The Only Way to heal this ‘brokenness’ in BOTH of us is to go to Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ, for The Healing we BOTH desperately need. Only Jesus can do this! I pray through the Holy Spirit for BOTH humans AND nonhuman animals in a ‘broken family.’ I pray that Jesus can repair BOTH of them. And there’s no better way of repairing a ‘broken family’ than GOD’S LOVE! ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE’ (1 Corinthians 13:13). Let Your Love, Father God, ALWAYS win for the BOTH of a ‘broken family.’ I pray all of this in the Wonderful and Precious and Repairing/Healing BOTH ‘Broken Family’ Name of Jesus Christ, and this prayer is answered by my faith and my belief. Please help me, Father God, where my faith and my belief are lacking. Amen.”
God bless you and the “broken family” of BOTH humans AND nonhuman animals,
Timothy J. Verret