The Cove (Blu-ray)
The documentary, THE COVE, exposes truly horrific acts of animal cruelty currently taking place in Taiji, Japan. Specifically, this picture highlights the inhumane murders of dolphins in a secret cove. Primarily narrated by director and Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS) co-founder Louie Psihoyos, we are introduced to Richard O’Barry. Known initially for his work as the trainer for the television series Flipper, O’Barry has since become a dolphin activist fighting those who want to keep dolphins in captivity or in this case, slaughter them unnecessarily.
Major accolades go to Psihoyos for crafting a thought-provoking, heart wrenching masterpiece. Easily, he could have just shown us the horror of the cove and what goes on with the fishermen, their spears and the defenseless dolphins. Instead through amazing shots, well told stories, beautiful yet haunting scores, we sense the danger that went into capturing the footage of the cove, feel outrage when learning about toxic dolphin meat being served in schools, and experience the sadness of the dolphin slaughter.
This film is truly espionage at it’s finest. From the opening scenes with the thermal camera you will be blown away. Having a tail on your car or a surveillance team outside your hotel might be a deterrent for some but it seemed to fuel and motivate the team assembled by Psihoyos for the endeavor of exposing the cove. When the various members of this elite team are introduced, it really felt like the moment in OCEAN’S ELEVEN when Danny and Rusty discuss their crew and the special skills each crew member possesses. Stuntmen, freedivers, hidden cameras designed by Hollywood props teams, military backgrounds, you name it, this crew had it. With so much risk at hand I was surprised how many people were on board for this project but understood their passion to be on this team as well.
Watching this film it is hard not to recall the thrill I felt swimming with dolphins in Mexico and the Dominican Republic or the awe of seeing Shamu at Sea World while feeling completely guilty for contributing to the demand for fishermen in Taiji to capture the dolphins to sell them into captivity while executing the rest. Maybe I’m naïve, but it never occurred to me that the dolphins I was swimming with were imports from Japan. At least I was not at the whale and dolphin show eating dolphin meat as shown in this documentary. At least I can hang onto that bit of knowledge.
There is so much more that is involved with this film other than just exposing the actions that happen in the cove. High level government cover-ups, mercury filled dolphin meat being sold in stores labeled as other types of meat and more, this film will ignite a passion to fight this brutality and research how you can help. I must warn you, despite some beautiful scenes with dolphins and whales, there are moments of immense viciousness that will turn your stomach. If you can get past that, I highly recommend this documentary.
Video: (1.78:1) Amazingly clear picture. The non-cruel underwater sequences were beautiful.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) Loud and clear. Hearing the dolphin cries will haunt you.
Audio Commentary with Director Louie Psihoyos and Producer Fisher Stevens (1:31:19): This is a really fantastic commentary providing insight and additional information about various people and within the documentary. Almost as interesting as the actual documentary.
Black OPS Covert Gear (8:56): A bit more in-depth look at the cameras used to capture the covert footage of the cove. This has a play all button and the most entertaining sequence is the creation of Blood Cam as that was not shown in the film.
Freediving (4:23): This is the same footage of the freedivers as seen in the film but without the voiceovers and with the harp, flute and piano music. Very beautifully shot.
Deleted Scenes (9:37): This segment has a funny moment with O’Barry, extended footage from the dolphin show in Taiji, and additional footage of the surfers including interviews with Dave Rastovich (Surfers for Cetaceans). The surfer footage is interesting to watch.
The Cove: Mercury Rising (18:35): This is a mini-documentary about the mercury levels in food, not just in Japan but in the United States as well. This is extremely fascinating with excerpts from THE COVE throughout.
Also from Lionsgate Blu-ray