So once again we have survived.

The Cove

tn_thecoveI didn’t know much about THE COVE (out on DVD today) except that it wasn’t the type of movie I go out of my way to see. Sorry, I’ll do it for ninjas, I’ll do it for bad lieutenants, but for some reason not for dolphins. That doesn’t speak well for my humanity or my enlightenment, I guess. But I’m a pretty nice guy in my opinion. Not to brag or nothin. I would be nice to dolphins if I met any. I’m sure we would get along because we’re both pretty laid back.

I knew that lefties and environmentalists and stuff were interested in this documentary, what I didn’t know until I saw it was that it really is fascinating. This is a great story and document of people setting their mind on achieving a difficult task and then doing it. It opened my eyes to some gruesome shit I never heard of before, but instead of preaching to me it kept me on the edge of my seat with a crazy suspense story. Sonofabitch, they entertained me into caring about dolphins.

mp_thecoveCheck out this poster – it could be for an Imax sea life documentary or something. But I gotta warn you, this gets pretty vicious. That’s why I chose that bloody thumbnail picture, in the interest of honesty. It probly oughta be called BLOOD COVE or LAGOON HOLOCAUST. There’s some upsetting shit in this one.

The central character is almost too good not to be fiction: Ric O’Barry was the head dolphin trainer on FLIPPER and is now a radical dolphin activist. I mean he really was the main trainer for Flipper – they show footage of him in episodes and he says the house that the family lived in in the show was the house he actually lived in at the time. He explains with regret how the popularity of the show gave birth to the entire industry of performing dolphins, causing water theme parks to sprout up all over the place and everybody wanted bottle-nosed dolphins like Flipper.

He went where the work was and he believed in it, but he saw all these dolphins dying in captivity because they couldn’t take the noise, the stress, the depression. The turning point was when the main dolphin who played Flipper consciously stopped her breathing – committed suicide, he says – in his arms. The next day he was arrested for trying to free somebody’s dolphins, and that’s what he’s been doing for the 35 years since.

So now he’s found out about “the cove” in Taiji, Japan, a city that makes a huge tourism industry out of its dolphins. What is less known is the cruelty that goes on there – they herd hundreds of dolphins into this cove, pick out the ones that look like Flipper to sell to parks, then stab the rest of them to death and sell them for meat. The entire area turns dark red with their blood. There’s some pretty upsetting footage of dolphins trying to get away. But the fishermen there know it’s ugly so they block and intimidate O’Barry and anyone else who comes there and tries to take footage.

So the other main characters are the Oceanic Preservation Society, the makers of the movie. They met O’Barry, found out he was trying to expose this place, and decided to do it in this movie. It’s about them trying to get the footage, so in a way the movie is its own mcmuffin.

What makes it awesome is they decide to put together an elite team of specialists to pull this off. They have O’Barry as the guide, an “adrenaline junkie” to lead the missions, expert freedivers for underwater activities, a concert organizer in charge of transporting equipment (thermal goggles, various cameras and microphones, a miniature blimp), they even recruit a guy from Industrial Light and Magic to build fake rocks with HD cameras hidden inside. It really is dangerous because it requires trespassing, stealth, and good judgment (they have to plan for a place they haven’t been able to see yet) and they have to evade angry fishermen, security guards, police, the mayor, they even worry that Yakuza could come after them (since there’s alot of money in this industry they’re trying to take a shot at).

One disappointment: they didn’t recruit any of the military dolphins who are trained to fire darts from their heads. Usually if you’re rescuing a minority you should have one member of that minority on your team. Still, it’s pretty cool. It could be called OCEANIC 11.

Of course, in between these really tense and enjoyable scenes you learn about why they’re so passionate about this issue. They all have a great respect for the intelligence of dolphins. You know how some people say dolphins might be more intelligent than humans (it is said once in this movie)? I always wonder what that means. I mean how do you measure that? Obviously they haven’t built all the technology we have. They don’t seem to have changed much over the years, they don’t seem to progress. And we learn in this movie that they’ve used the same migration routes for thousands of years and still do even though assholes like this keep attacking them. They do communicate, but we don’t know what they’re saying. It might just be stupid shit. But it could be real deep and poetic type shit too, you never know. Whatever it is I guess it’s gotta at least tie with the bullshit I hear people blathering on their cell phones about every day. So I guess I can buy that dolphins are of equal or greater intelligence than man. (Plus remember in ORCA they explained how to an orca humans seem retarded.)

Some of these people love dolphins for a cool movie type reason: a dolphin saved their life. I can get behind that.

But there’s more to it than wanting to save dolphins. The fishermen argue that it’s a cultural thing, Americans eat cows, Japanese eat dolphins. But the filmatists go into the city and talk to Japanese people and prove that most are shocked to hear about dolphin meat. The movie explains that because of how high they are on the food chain dolphins have poisonous levels of mercury in their meat. Therefore the only way to sell much of the meat is to mislabel it. Even if a dolphin never saved your life, in fact if they murdered your twin brother, you still shouldn’t eat them because they could end up murdering you too, from the inside. That’s why the butchers at the cove want to keep it a secret and why it must be exposed. It’s not just being humane, it’s self-preservation.

The confrontation is very dramatic, because you have one side passionate in their beliefs (and visibly horrified by the sights), another side stubbornly protecting their business, but also you have this cultural rift. It does feel weird to have Americans and Australians facing off against Japanese and neither knows each other’s language very well. And these are working men, I always feel bad about people just doing their jobs getting hassled. But then again there’s the crack dealer argument. Selling crack is a job too, doesn’t mean I gotta respect the guy who does it. You have to draw a line somewhere.

I thought the arguments were persuasive, but even if I didn’t the movie would’ve still been interesting, just because of the characters involved (a young Australian surfer who seems to have a spiritual connection to dolphins, a belligerent Japanese guy they call “Private Space” because that’s what he grunts while standing in front of their cameras) and the suspense of watching them try to sneak in and set up their cameras. It’s a small place, a small conflict between fairly small groups of people, but they believe if they focus on this one small thing it will have larger repercussions. The way the movie ends, with a stunt to try to get people to see the footage, is almost like the first MATRIX. They’ve achieved what they wanted, now the real battle begins.

Now I leave you with the top 2 all time greatest Prince songs about dolphins.

2. Animal Kingdom

1. Dolphin

http://youtu.be/rY_tAyrQYJM

(sorry, I couldn’t find the album version, but he’s singing a hypothetical question about being reincarnated as a dolphin)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 at 2:02 pm and is filed under Documentary, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

63 Responses to “The Cove”

  1. That thumbnail you have up there, I had no idea what that was, I was staring at it for like five minutes. I just gave up and started reading the review, and when you got to the part about how they bloody up the waters, I looked at it again and nearly threw up. I love fake movie gore, but real life gore makes me nauseus. So I don’t know whether to see this movie or not. I might wait a couple months until when Animal Plante starts showing it around the clock and building a day’s worht of programming around it, the way they do Grizzly Man. Great review Vern.

  2. Are there any Japanese readers who will comment on the whole “It’s part of the culture” thing? Because to me, that excuse is total bullshit. Slavery was “the way of life” for hundreds of years, it was still fucking evil. So that whole “It’s jsut how we live” thing rings completely hollow for me.

  3. another brilliant review. great job vern, will check this out.

  4. Without question this is one of the three movies that I enjoyed most this year, even better than last year’s MAN ON WIRE.

    Bringing in the “elite team” was so cool. Very rousing stuff.

  5. Prince doesn’t allow his tunes on youtube. very uncool Prince.

    i’ll check out this movie, sounds like much more than you’re run of the mill expose.

  6. Great review. Dolphins have the intelligence, but not the opposable thumbs. I usually don’t read your reviews for stuff I want to see until after I’ve seen it, but documentaries usually aren’t all that spoilable for some reason. Anyone seen any other good docs this year? So far my shortlist is:

    BEST WORST MOVIE
    ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL
    FACING ALI
    TAQWACORE: THE BIRTH OF PUNK ISLAM
    L’ENFER D’HENRI-GEORGES CLOUZOT

    But I still gotta see COLLAPSE and this, and others I’m probably forgetting.

  7. Living in rural Japan I can tell you a lot of people would WTF? at seeing dolphin meat for sale, but if you were to bring up a film like this, near everyone would defend the fishermen without question.

    The film has been used by several right wing groups as an example a vicious attack from the west trying to erode traditional Japanese culture– even on broadcast news it was mentioned as such.

    However, Japanese need to act on such things out of their own sense of right or wrong, not from finger wagging from outsiders.

    Here in Japan a fish is a fish is a fish. Tuna, whale, dolphin. It is a fish and they have the right to kill and eat it if they please.

    Of course there are many people in Japan who would disagree, but you will find they are greatly in the minority.

    In any case, no reason to feel too upset about it. After all, I myself indulge in the fruits of other massacres quite often. Not just in food! Monkeys are a common choice for pretty horrifying medical experimentation, and though I may not like it, I still gladly accept modern medicine when I go to the doctor.

    I live in a house built on a place that was once a forest filled with wildlife. Now it is a quaint Japanese neighborhood surrounded by rice fields. Not sure what happened to all the wild life.

    And animals aren’t the only ones, every piece of clothing I am wearing was likely made in a sweatshop or by outright slave labor. Slavery may be wrong and evil, but it sure is useful in East and West alike!

    That’s life, I benefit from the suffering of other creatures. Bad on me. But at least I don’t eat dolphins, so I’m still a pretty good person.

  8. Apparently people have been finding dead sea creatures washed up on shore that have been beaten to death by bottlenose dolphins (baby porpoises, crustaceans, even other dolphins), suggesting that they are the only species other than humans that kill for fun. As opposed to orcas, which kill for vengeance. I guess this is a good argument for (or maybe against) dolphin intelligence, although it would be cool if they turned some of that violent behaviour towards those fuckers in the thumbnail picture.

  9. It’s damn near impossible to live without exploiting something or someone or other. Doesn’t mean you can’t try, though. One of my least favorite classes of people is the person who goes “Yeah, you re-use bags / buy fairtrade / donate clothes to charity etc but it’s just a meaningless gesture really, isn’t it? You’re just doing it to make yourself feel better.” Which may very well be true but the small gestures are NOT meaningless. If one person boycotts a store that uses child labor, it means nothing; but if a million people do it together, the store goes out of business and a lot of other stores stop doing it (or more likely, learn to hide it better. Yeah, I’m not completely un-cynical.)

    Interesting how you can make a good documentary about just about anything, from gun culture to extreme sports to the lives of aging rock stars to professional computer gaming – to name the subjects of just four documentary films that I’ve enjoyed recently. I might look out for this one.

  10. Very nice review Vern Ill def be seeing this one as soon as possible.

    Theres a good one out on DVD now called Food Inc. that would make a good follow-up to this one. It shows the darker side of our factory farming way of life.

    I’m sure to your average Japanese person, seeing our factory farming methods for chickens cows and pigs would be just as upsetting to them as this shit might be to us. And Hindu’s worship cows as sacred I believe so you know every Whopper and Big Mac commercial is a giant slap in the face to them. So i believe maybe alot of it is culture shock, although being stabbed to death in a giant pool with other dolphins doesn’t sound exactly humane.

    And i think a little piece of me died when i read about Flippers suicide, so thanks for that.

  11. Whopper and Big Mac commercials are a slap in the face to humanity in general, aren’t they? For culinary and aesthetic reasons, at the very least. Never mind the part about it killing you.

    Now that I think about it, I’m surprised McDonald’s doesn’t make a dolphin burger.

  12. frankbooth – They do, its called the Fish Sandwich. ;)

  13. Gwai Lo – so FACING ALI was good? I gotta see that one. I also want to see SOUL POWER and GOOD HAIR.

  14. Paul : You’re talking about King of Kong ? Or is Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade ?

  15. King of King for the professional games one.

  16. Exploiting other people and animals is indeed a part of life. But protesting about unnecessary afflicted pain is just as valid as universal. As a boy I once broke a branch of the fig tree and brought it to my grandpa. My grandpa said it was unnecessary to hurt the tree by breaking its branch. Just picking the figs off of it would have been enough.
    Just my two cents on the whole fish/meat/slave labour/culture thing.

  17. If dolphins are so smart, why do they get caught in those fishing nets all the time?

  18. Mmmm dolphin mcmuffin….

    Dolphins can be vicious. Gangs of male dolphins have been known to chase and harass a female until it is too tired to swim away any more, and then gang rape it.

    The whole “maybe smarter than a human” thing…. I have heard that about octopi too, I mean how can you measure such a thing??? Perhaps it’s just a matter of us not understanding octopus culture. They probably think we are “perhaps almost as smart as them” too. I don’t buy it though. Dolphins have big brains, yes, but it’s not for thinking necessarily, it’s for processing sonar echoes. It would be like saying Deep Thought was a really “smart” computer because it was so big and had a lot of processing power, even though 99.9% of its resources were dedicated to solving one problem – chess. I would guess that dolphin intelligence is about on the same level as a dog, and that is pretty damn smart.

    Regardless, killing animals (especially mammals and other semi-intelligent things) in my opinion should always be done with respect. Quickly, as painlessly as possible, without causing the poor buggers to freak out and spend their last moments in abject terror. Factory farming is horrible more for the way cows / chickens / etc live than the way they die. I’d pay extra (and often do) for free range chickens and lamb, but I don’t know if that means they get to go hiking and camping or if they just get a whole square foot of shit-covered ground to themselves instead of just half that.

  19. And the farmers don’t cut off their beaks and toes at birth. That’s gotta be pretty sweet for them.

  20. Forget trying to measure how intelligent dolphins are – what is truly special about them is that they are one of the few creatures that are self-aware. They actually know that they are alive, that they are beings unto themselves. They are not just biological machines carrying out their genetic programming. Only humans, apes, and recently elephants have been proven to have this awareness, typically through the “mirror test.” Check out this cool story and video about the elephants.

    http://www.livescience.com/animals/061030_elephant_mirror.html

    And Gingeridiot, tuna is a fish, dolphins and whales are mammals. Even Kramer knows this.

  21. Oh, and if you are really interested in the whole “where does food come from?” issue, read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan – great Xmas present.

  22. Incidentally, there is a ‘dolphin’ that really is a fish. The porpoise we call the ‘bottle-nosed dolphin’ was named after it. But the mammal is vastly more famous, and for good reasons.

    For those interested in THE DARK SIDE OF DOLPHINS (not that this excuses rounding up sentient creatures and slaughtering them wholesale):

    http://www.cracked.com/article_16762_p2.html (page down to #2)

  23. Vern – FACING ALI was great, yeah. A real testament to why he was the G.O.A.T., straight from the mouths of guys he mopped the floor with (well, most of them..) The director was at my screening and he said he wasn’t so much interested in making a sports documentary as an examination of indomitable wills. And it’s a heartbreaker, because it charts his career from his early days to the days when he really shouldn’t have been getting punched in the head anymore. They omit a few of the major fights/opponents, but the director said he got all 10 of the interview subjects he wanted, and it doesn’t feel incomplete or anything. I’m not sure if it’s as good as WHEN WE WERE KINGS, more talking heads for one, but the nature of the documentary kind of requires talking heads so I don’t know if that can be held against it.

  24. Nice find Vern. Will check this out.

    I don’t support the killing of dolphins or anything but the idea of white people going to other people’s countries and telling them what’s right and wrong always makes me uncomfortable. That shit never ends well.

  25. pheteesh – I think one reason it works is that they either don’t try or have given up on trying to convince them. Instead they’re just trying to photograph them. It seems like the fishermen agree that if everybody’s knows what they’re doing they’ll eventually have to stop.

  26. Sabreman,

    The fish you refer to is also known as Mahi Mahi or Dorado in order to avoid confusion. It is brightly colored and has a very blunt, flat head. Always wondered about the naming though. If one was truly named after the other, someone was a real idiot. Ha ha ha.

  27. Paul : Well , if you liked King of Kong , I highly recommend Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade , more old school arcade gaming goodness! This time , with all the High Score winners of a lot of classics , not just Donkey Kong.

    Vern : “Sorry, I’ll do it for ninjas, I’ll do it for bad lieutenants, but for some reason not for dolphins.” Come on , man , you love animal movies of every kind . It’s one of your secret hobbies , tracking down animal movies . The classics like sharks , bears and crocodiles , and the less known like wild boars , killer whales , flying fishes ,
    nazi dogs , radioactive lizards and lasagna cats.It’s nothing to be ashamed of .

  28. So why is there no killer dolphin movie? They could call it…JACK THE FLIPPER.

    Ouch. Sorry, guys. Had to be done.

  29. Well, technically ORCA is a killer dolphin movie. There’s also THE DAY OF THE DOLPHIN, which is about a shadowy group that kidnaps some trained dolphins so they can use them to assassinate the US president.

  30. DAY OF THE DOLPHIN is one of the great ridiculous ideas to be treated seriously and classier than you could possibly believe without having seen it in the 70s. It fucking stars George C. Fucking Scott for chrissakes. THAT’S a movie that could make you care about dolphins.

  31. It’s true. Until you’ve seen it with your own eyes, you really can’t imagine Scott earnestly delivering lines like “Listen, Fa — Pa and Ma go to land. Fa and Bea go to water” to a squeaky-voiced, talking dolphin. Yep, that’s right — the adorable aquatic critters speak English in this film, and it’s not a comedy or fantasy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5Mx_c3duF0&feature=player_embedded#at=171

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xdrkm-3Mgo&feature=related

  32. JTraveller76

    Domesticated dogs and cats also seem to be self – aware, and can process abstract thought to a pretty fair degree. Blue-jays possess a theory of mind, which goes hand in hand with that kind of upper cognizance. Crows are – crows, and are scary. They know how to use machines, and guns.

    The thing about the mirror test is that, really, it only works on animals who – well, can use it, basically. Whales, we’re certain, are pretty advanced as far as their individualized cultures and whatnots go, which includes what’s being called a personalized language. But, they wouldn’t be able to make head nor tail of the mirror test, nor would any other animal who, say, relies more on smell than on sight or color, or any other number of variables. It’s actually pretty faulty, as far as determining what species aren’t cognizant, and even now ethologists and behaviorists the world over are trying to find some sort of reasonable-yet-narrowing expansion with these kinds of things in mind.

    Cats and dogs have, however, passed the mirror test.

  33. Filmist. You are completely full of shit, but thanks.

  34. How is he full of shit? It sounds reasonable to me. Except for the parts about bluejays and crows, not sure about that stuff.

  35. The mirror test is biased against non-vision-dependant animals, but until they invent a smell-mirror (or smirror, if you will) I guess we’ll never know.

    Crows are pretty smart (I’ve read about them placing nuts on busy streets so they will be cracked open by passing traffic) but I don’t know about that “machines and guns” stuff. If they are capable of operating firearms it needs to be incorporated into a gritty, ORCA-style revenge story. “They killed his family, now he’s going to make them eat crow! Quoth the raven… NEVERMORE!”

  36. By the way, that Prince song should be all the reason anyone needs not to kill dolpins. Because what if the next dolphin you kill is… Prince? You’d feel real fucking bad, that’s what would happen.

    In all seriousness, though, this sort of problem is exactly what this century’s gonna be full of, as globalization brings cultures closer together than they’ve ever been in the past and suddenly we find out that althought we have a lot in common, its the little things which make up everyday life that are hard to reconcile. We’re going to keep running into situations where a culture includes something which is morally repugnant to us. When this happens, are we obligated to try to do something by our own moral code? Or are we obligated to be respectful of another culture even when they’re doing something which seems so deeply wrong to us?

    And of course, other cultures feel the same way about us, and sometimes are pretty inarguably right. We get pissed at Japan for their unrepentnt commerical whaling- even if whales weren’t intellegent, their numbers are declining rapidly (along with a whole slew of other fish that Japan is fishing to exitinction) and we think its unfair for one country to kill off an entire species just because they don’t like being told not to. Makes a lot of sense, until you realize how the U.S. looks to them, almost single-handedly creating global warming and then not even admitting its happening for years and years and not even doing anything about it once we do acknowldge it.

    Lots of folks in Afghanistan wouldn’t really mind having the Taliban in charge, but we decided that they’re a bunch of assholes and we’d be better off if they weren’t in ower. We’ve got a better idea for your culture, we say, and it HAS worked out pretty well for us, more or less. Well, this decision is interpreted by a lot of people, including me, to be a bad idea. But what’s the alterntive? Is it the right thing to do to sit back and watch people getting stoned to death for adultery because its someone else’s culture and everyone is equally right? And for that matter, can Denmark and Canada sit idly by while the U.S. executes mentally ill convicts, who may or may not even be guilty? What about wholesale genocide? Rwanda in 1994 was a broad cultural movement which had been building for years.

    This is sort of the new way Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” will be realized over this century. It’s going to be a process of feeling out when we should impose our own view of the universe on others, and when we have to admit that it’s all subjective, if we want to live in a peaceful world.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Clash_of_Civilizations

  37. Mr. S., when it comes to global civilization, I got a motto: “Nuke it from space. It’s the only way to be sure.”

  38. JT,

    In retrospect, their names probably both derive from the same root word or something. (Like the orcs in Tolkien. Not named after the orca, but both are named after a word for ‘death’.)

    And yes, killer whales are (so I’m told) actually porpoises, not whales. So they’re really killer dolphins. Except not all dolphins are porpoises, or even mammals; so orcas aren’t really killer dolphins. Just killer porpoises. But that doesn’t sound quite as solid to say.

    (On the other hand: FREE WILLY 4: ALL-PORPOISE KILLERS: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS! Starring Chow Yun Fat and some white American actress who badly needs a career reboot after she and/or her agent made poor project choices. Actress still tbd. DIRECTED BY A SLUMMING CHINESE ACTION FILM DIRECTOR (2nd unit). All two brief martial art sequences CHOREOGRAPHED BY WING-YEU PIN!)

    (And no, Electric Boogaloo turned out to be non-superior as a subtitle choice in this case. Rare exceptions do in fact exist, now established by rigorous testing.)

  39. All of this pales before my treatment for JAWS 5: IN SPACE.

    I am not kidding. Imagine the nearly silent opening: An astronaut floats along the exterior of a gleaming space station, welding a panel. His face is a mask of concentration inside his helmet. Suddenly, we catch a flash of movement reflected in his glass dome. He whips his head, but sees nothing. He goes back to work. Something brushes his foot. He looks down, startled, but sees nothing. He barely has time to be relieved before he looks up and sees…

    FUCKING SPACE SHARK! OH FUCK THEY CAN EAT YOU FROM ABOVE NOW! NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM! A SEVERED ARM DRIFTS TOWARD CAMERA IN 3 FUCKING D, TRAILING DIGITAL BLOOD GLOBULES LIKE IN STAR TREK 6 ONLY BETTER!

  40. Ahem. Jumped the gun. I wasn’t even close to done.

    Although we the audience know that there’s a space shark about, sadly, nobody believes Security Chief Brody of the Space Station Amity. The command crew just want to protect their status as a resort station in orbit around Saturn. But when a astrozoologist and a crusty space fisherman (work with me) come aboard, the scene is set for some zero-G chomping.

    We’re gonna need a bigger spaceship.

  41. Well, the ‘guns’ thing was a joke, but crows seem to find it quite easy to learn how a machine works relatively quickly without any previous familiarity with it. One of the better examples of this is Joshua Klein’s ‘vending machine test,’ which he explains here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhmZBMuZ6vE

    Whales and their language:
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn8886

    Blue Jays and their theory of mind is a relatively new one, but it’s gaining precedence little by little. I first read about it here:
    http://cogscilibrarian.blogspot.com/2007/07/blue-jays-theory-of-mind.html

  42. Mirror test, schmirror test. I think the important question here is, how do they taste?

  43. They already had JAWS IN SPACE. It was called ALIEN.

  44. Mr. Majestyk,

    I feel compelled to point out that, whatever role the US did or did not play in global warming, we were not more-or-less single-handedly responsible. Our environmental policies are rather stricter than several equal-or-more-populated industrial countries, and always have been.

    That being said, yes that’s how the Japanese would naturally be inclined to think of us, especially since we refused to sign the Kyoto Accords (because we already met or exceeded the standards without having to do things in the accords that would handicap our economy) yet they had to do so (with the predictable economic results. If they have to suffer for it, why not us, too?!)

    Irony alert: Prof. Mojib Latif of Germany’s Leibniz Institute, a leading proponent of manmade global warming theory for the past 10 years, admitted in Geneva in early September that since the signing of the Accords, we’ve been in a 10 year global cooling phase with at least another 20 to 30 years of cooling to go (by his best reckoning) before the warming trend begins again. World media reacts with indifference. President of Micronesia berates G8 Summit for dawdling when his whole nation will cease to exist in 25 years at the outside, having flooded over completely due to global warming.

    It should be fairly noted that this doesn’t mean global warming won’t eventually flood the earth as in the days of the medieval mean temperature (well, at least Greenland was green then). Only that it’ll take a lot longer than is being marketed.

    AND THEN DOLPHINS SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH!!! {g}

    (Even though they aren’t all that meek. And probably are incapable of taking it away from the killer whales, now that I think of it. And won’t be inheriting ‘earth’ exactly, except for holding up the water.)

  45. I said no word about global warming. That was Mr. Subtley. I’m the guy who advocated a movie where sharks live in space and eat astronauts. Which I feel is a very important topic. Think of the children.

  46. MM,

    While the ‘Outland’-ish intro is admittedly gripping and would probably work well… feh. A construction worker? Really?

    Chrissie and her boyfriend for the night decide to go out for some zero-g sex after a party. Chrissie suits up, and drifts out into the void, assuring whatsisname over the radio that it isn’t that cold. Whatsisname, though willing, findeth that alcohol taketh away the ability to coherently put on his suit, and eventually tumbles over near the airlock to lie on the floor passed out mumbling “I’m coming.” Chrissie, unable to see her boyfriend-of-the-evening’s predicament, floats expectantly–unaware of the camera approaching from beneath her most vulnerable area (since she was assured in all solemnity that this would not constitute a nude scene and that technology would never develop to the point where anyone would ever be able to make out anything anyway. Pun not intended. And besides, she’s wearing a suit, right? Because it’s space.)

    Cue deep strings.

  47. D’oh!!!

    Yes, true, I stand corrected.

    (In my defense, his moniker was too subtle, leading me to overlook it completely and… uh… yeah. {facepalm})

  48. Rainman,

    I’m going to take a guess that, not being feathered reptilian creatures, they taste like beef. Not like, for example, chicken.

    Or anyway they taste like some meat the Japanese frequently eat with a constituency different from fish and/or chicken. So beef or pork.

    (Now I’m imagining ad campaigns with dolphins caught engaging in deadpan wacky marketing actions, trying to convince humans to “EAT MOAR CHIKEN. OR BEEF. OR FISH. WHATEVER.” Except using simplified Japanese letters. (Not the fancy ones. Though admittedly dolphins might be able to do that.))

  49. MM,

    In hindsight, it occurs to me that my choice of scene composition seems unfortunately… um… chosen, in relation to how it would otherwise lead into your fine description of how this movie would be most successfully perceived.

  50. People who point to 10 year “cooling” periods (wait, 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record, right? But what’s with the cooling? Sounds like right-wing oil company trash talk to me) don’t understand that in order to observe long term trends, you have to ignore one-year or two-year or even 10-year dips, spikes. Low pass filters are your friend. I saw a graph one time in Time magazine showing that women runners’ times were improving faster than men’s times, and they actually drew a couple straight lines on the graphs to show that (you guessed it) women would be as fast as men by 2030 or whenever. They should have kept going and showed that they would break the sound barrier by 3000.

    Ummmm ok my point is, you can’t take the last X years and draw a line and show that the world is getting cooler, or warmer, or is going t stay the same, or whatever you want to show. It’s wrong, and pointless. I could draw a straight line from today’s high temperature to tonight’s low temperature and show that it’s going to be absolute zero by Friday afternoon, but nobody would listen to me. But Fox News etc is willing to grab onto anything any idiot says on the “global cooling! hahaha!” bandwagon, while MSNBC is willing to grab onto anything any idiot on the other side says, no matter how blatantly unscientific either argument is.

    Also see arguments that the Antarctic ice shelf is growing! OMG! Yes, in some parts of Antartica the ice is getting deeper (like, the middle and towad the west) but this is hardly evidence that the world is cooling like some pundits would try to spin it. The middle might be getting thicker but the edges are falling off at an alarming rate. Antarctica is actually a desert, one of the driest places on Earth, and the fact that the ice is getting deeper shows that there is more snow there now than there was previously. Kind of ominous in a space-shark kind of way.

    But then again, 90% of statistics are made up.

  51. Vern!!!!!!!

    Long time reader, first time poster. This here documentary(The Cove) is one that I’ve been waiting months to see and was actaully looking forward to you reviewing, so thanks.

    Anyways, being as I love your reiviews, love documentaries and love boxing I thought I’d pass along a recommendation if you were thinking about checking out an Ali related boxing doc. I haven’t seen Facing Ali BUT I have seen the HBO produced documentary called ‘Thrilla in Manilla’ about Ali and Smokin Joe Fraziers epic third fight and its pretty amazing. Basically, I recommend it because pretty much every Ali documentary looks at him with complete revery and this documentary, actually makes you look at him in a completely new light. It’s by no means anti-Ali and as a boxing fan and overall human being I have a lot of respect for him but the whole point of documentaries is to hopefully see things in a new light and HBO did an oustanding job on this one. Thats all I got.

    Oh, and you should really consider writing a review for THE PROPOSITION, John Hillcoats unbelievably powerful western because I think you’d certainly appreciate it.

  52. Way up there in the comments somebody pointed out that dolphins do torturing and gangbanging for fun. Guys! Don’t you think it’s wrong to judge an entire species because of despicable actions by a few? Why are all dolphins suddenly ‘gangbangers’? i’m pretty sure 99% of the dolphin population frowns upon such things. And who knows; maybe deep in the oceans somewhere there is a black dynamite dolphin who sets things right. Because dolphin orphans don’t have parents either.

  53. Don’t look at me, Zeez. Some of my best friends are dolphins.

  54. I desperately need to see a “Black Dynamite Dolphin” one-sheet now. Help us, O Vern!!

  55. {{[People who point to 10-year cooling periods] don’t understand that in order to observe long term trends, you have to ignore one-year or two-year or even 10-year dips, spikes}}

    Actually, I do, which is why I included the qualifier: this doesn’t mean global warming won’t get where it’s going, only that it may take a lot longer than is being marketed.

    What I thought was much more significant is who this was coming from: he’s hardly a right-wing oil company spokesman. Rather he’s someone who (supposedly??!?) has vastly much more access to the data than almost anyone else in the world; and who has been serving as an authority on the subject for the United Nations board on global warming; and who for the past 10 years has been telling everyone (including in the bi-decade reports to the UN) that warming has been continuing. But now he says that for the past 10 years it hasn’t been.

    Ironically, it doesn’t exactly give me much confidence about his prognosis for the next 10 or 20 years of cooling… {lol}

    Also, I would much like to see a transcription of his original speech. I don’t entirely trust news organs to summarize things, and while this wasn’t FOX News the author of the article clearly seems to have an agenda and doesn’t spend much time actually quoting Prof. Latif.

    For an Oct 1 article on the other side that does at least occasionally quote Prof. Latif (though not from that speech in Sept), and which features an “exclusive interview” with him on the subject (not actually provided in the article)… {g}

    http://climateprogress.org/2009/10/01/interview-with-dr-mojib-latif-global-cooling-revkin-morano-george-will/

    This article is _MUCH_ better, for actually quoting selections from his presentation with powerpoint slides. It also links to a pdf and mp3 of his presentation.

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/10/02/key-excerpts-from-mojib-latifs-wcc-presentation/

    So as it happens, once his own projected estimates (far beyond the point where he claims he doesn’t dare try to make projections {wry g}) are taken into account, Prof Latif still believes…

    …DOLP^H^H^H^HKILLER WHALES SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH!!!

    (Or, as he puts it in his speech, “If my name were not Mojib Latif, my name would be global warming.” (real quote, not a joke))

  56. The subsequent article at Deepclimate is pretty good, too, I think. And makes the point that some of the visuals in Prof Latif’s presentation should be ignored as being for illustration only. (Though one then has to wonder why Prof Latif would include a charting diagram intended to hypothetically illustrate a temperature variation that ends up being utterly overshadowed _by the fictional and actually quite impossible_ hypothetical curve of warming, “unless there’s a supervolcano in 2030” as the defender jokes, which takes up almost half the chart. It’s marketing like this that make people suspicious in the first place.)

    Anyway, this and the previous link are the best subsequent rebuttal and defense I’ve found so far; and (once some… convenient marketing strategies {g}… are filtered out) it seems a pretty convincing rebuttal to me.

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/10/02/anatomy-of-a-lie-how-morano-and-gunter-spun-latif-out-of-contro/

    We now return to the regularly scheduled jokes about space sharks and kill-or-being-killed dolphins! {g}

  57. Speaking of OUTLAND, you should review that Vern.

    Give Peter Hyams some love.

  58. Not wanting to get into a debate about global warming which would go on and on in circles with us both selectively citing different and seemingly contadictory data, I’ll just say I used that as an example of the way national and cultural norms and expectations play out on the international stage, which is, to me, one of the most interesting and potentially troubling things about the way our world looks today.

    Killing Dolphins looks pretty bad to us. What do we look like to other cultures? And how bad do thing have to look before we have a moral obligation to intervene and do the “right” thing? At his Nobel speech, of all fool places, Obama used some of his strongest language yet about “human rights” being universal – a fact which is not at all agreed upon in many corners of the globe. This is exactly the kind of thing which leads to a scenario like THE COVE. Two peoples trying to decide what is universally acceptable behavior in the modern world.

  59. You will never be able to read the whole sight in a day. Many have tried, but it’s impossible, in my opinion.

  60. this movie was excellent. “entertained me into caring about dolphins”, haha, yup.
    wanted to jump right on the website they display in the credits. asks me to write an angry letter to Japan, not sure about that yet.

    “Hey Japan, cut it out will ya? shit’s crazy. peace”.

  61. i just found out this movie is actually gonna get released in japan, which is really surprising. it will probably be a tiny release and get little attention, though. also, i heard they are anticipating some potential problems because there is apparently a lot of over-sensitivity to the issue of prejudice against the kansai region (where this movie takes place) as there are fears that kansai people will view a release of the movie in tokyo as tokyo-based anti-kansai discrimination, and they may raise a stink about it. seems silly to me, but i am an outsider, so i don’t really know the ins and outs of it. but it will be interesting to see the reaction in japan, if any.

  62. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Groups of more than four are nothing but trouble. Four people, you got a rock band. Five, you got an angry mob.

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