Ossus Library Index Non-Fiction Movie Index

DOLPHINS

Directed by Greg MacGillivray (2000, MacGillivray Freeman Films)
Narrated by Pierce Brosnan, music by Sting

Scientists study dolphins in their natural habitat, dancing and singing with these incredible creatures.

View Count: Twice

 

 

4 stars

July 22nd, 2001 on the OmniMAX dome

 
    The emotions and grace of the dolphins were so beautiful that it literally brought tears to my eyes.  Not only for the sick ones, but for the caring and nurturing they showed.  Even the second time around.

This time, we brought my parents, for they have been wanting to see this film for a long time.  To hear my mother gasp and ooh and ahh was really delightful, as if I was seeing it again for the first time.

I loved the music, and the narration.  I still think Sting and Pierce Brosnan did a great job.  But what really got to me was the emotion that the dolphins showed.  They are intelligent, but the big question is, are they sentient?  If so, we should try to find a way to uplift them, as in the novels by David Brin, so they can have real protection and share in our world.  

I loved the sequences where anybody danced with the dolphins.  The grace they showed, and the way they accepted the divers into their world, into their community, was terrific. 

A great film, and worth seeing twice.

 

 

4 stars

May 21st, 2001 on the OmniMAX dome

 
    Truly wonderful. The filmmakers were able to capture the dolphins when they were having the most fun, while also telling us about them, asking questions, and letting us share in their world. The producers also chose wisely when looking for a narrator and somebody for the soundtrack, as these made the film seem even more energetic.

From beginning to end, the music was terrific. The soundtrack would definitely be worth buying, I think. It was energetic, and most of all, appropriate! When swimming with JoJo, it was a tune based on "An Englishman in New York", a tale of somebody who is living in a world where he doesn't really belong. When dancing with the dolphins at an after-dinner "ball", we start off with a tango! It was really neat how they paid attention not only to the subject matter, but to presentation like this.

The other presentation note I have is about the graphics. Computer graphics were used for the most part in transitions. We got to see the world pass by on the large screen, then take a nosedive towards the region of interest. Then, the name- flags would disappear, the graphics of the land would literally peel away to reveal the beautiful islands of the Bahamas, or the other places we visited. Sometimes the CG ocean would also peel away, taking us from a pristine breeding ground to a harbor jam-packed with boats. That was jarring, to say the least!

But the main attractions here were the dolphins. Beautiful, graceful, and playful, full of energy, and often endangered because of their curiosity. I'm glad the filmmakers didn't focus on the demise of the dolphin populations, turning this film into an environmental cause, telling us we should stop using boats and getting us all angered at the plight of the dolphins. They simply mentioned the problems, then moved on.

We got to visit SeaWorld in Miami, where dolphins are trained. There, we learned that the dolphins actually confer with one another when creating a new type of jump. They are extremely playful, and do things not only because they want fish as a reward (which doesn't hurt, either).

We go to the West-Indies, where we meet JoJo and a man who became the dolphin's guardian for fifteen years. Every day, he goes out and plays with the solitary dolphin. JoJo has a favourite toy -a small motorized plastic fish. It is adorable to watch them play and dance. And when the man has to go away for four months, JoJo is undoubtedly sad, wondering where the playmate has gone. So when he returns, JoJo gives him the cold shoulder. Until... the toy fish is brought out. JoJo couldn't resist! And so all is forgiven, and they are once again happy.

But the most interesting part of the film occurs with a biologist in the Bahamas. She investigates dolphin communication, their clicks, whistles and other noises. She has recognized patterns and given names to over a hundred dolphins. It was truly amazing to watch the dolphins. And when she discovered that touch is as much a part of the communication game with dolphins as it is with humans, she began to dance with them. And they let her in to the dance. Sometimes they became her dance partner, other times, she followed behind. It was truly mesmerizing, and for a time, it was hard to tell the difference between dolphins and humans. For each displayed the same kind of grace, emotion, and desires.

Another highlight of the film was a scene that I saw played out in the IMAX Whales, that of mealtime. The dolphins swim below a baitball (large school) of fish, then circle around and around it to keep the fish from getting away. Then, one at a time, the dolphins swim through the ball of fish, enjoying a fresh meal. They are so smart that they designate each dolphin a turn, and nobody interferes.

Pierce Brosnan did a really good job at narrating this film. He not only gave us the facts, but also gave us wonder. "Why do they do that?" he asked in a bemused fashion, as if he was truly curious. He offered little insights along the way, such as when the dolphins mated -"don't blink, or you'll miss it!"

Dolphins is highly recommended. It is really a visual feast, and the large mammals are so cute and so very fun, both in their nature and to watch, that the film seems to go by so quickly. The soundtrack and narration do a good job at helping this along, too. We were so caught up in feeling part of the dolphin world that the ending seemed way too sudden. Alas, it was over. But the chirps continued until the end.

 
   

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