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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cove
In his film debut The Cove, award-winning director/photographer Louie Psihoyos highlights the gruesome, annual slaughter of about 2,300 dolphins in a National Park at Taiji, Wakayama, in Japan.

Backed up with hard facts, interviews and undercover evidence the documentary follows the atonement of "Flipper" trainer Ric O'Barry as he continues on his dangerous...
Published on 12 Mar 2010 by Ms. S. J. Markworth

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Can't watch it didn't know it was region 1 should be made more clear :(
Published 3 months ago by janine bennett


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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cove, 12 Mar 2010
By 
Ms. S. J. Markworth (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Cove [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
In his film debut The Cove, award-winning director/photographer Louie Psihoyos highlights the gruesome, annual slaughter of about 2,300 dolphins in a National Park at Taiji, Wakayama, in Japan.

Backed up with hard facts, interviews and undercover evidence the documentary follows the atonement of "Flipper" trainer Ric O'Barry as he continues on his dangerous quest to end the annual killing of dolphins trapped in a secret cove.

Within this film, uncomfortable footage highlights the length of deception the authorities are prepared to go to in order to hide the abuse of these animals. While the entire town promotes their love of cetaceans, attracting tourists from all over the world, activities at the aggressively guarded cove indicate a far less loving regard for the animals.

We see Japanese marine scientists select a few dolphins destined for theme parks across the world. In graphic, spine chilling footage we see the fate of the remaining few hundred dolphins. These are brutally, inhumanely bludgeoned to death before being sold off as meat.

Evidence of rampant corruption is unleashed to the Japanese public as the illegal toxicity levels of mercury found in the dolphin meat is exposed.
Director Louie Psihoyos justifies his need for the secret, undercover filming as his attempts to openly collect footage of the cove are met with threats of violence from the local fishermen and intimidation by the Japanese authorities.

Not only has this film been well shot using the latest digital equipment but it is also a story beautifully told. The viewer will benefit from a collaboration of marine conservation experts willing to share over 40 years worth of knowledge.

Achieving awards in cinematography, production and best documentary this film is much more than the promotion of dolphin conservation it is also an insight into the corruption, by large marine park corporations, of the institutions put in place to protect these marine species.

This powerful documentary will entertain all but if you have any leanings towards marine conservation this film is a must see as it is packed with facts highlighting the plight of conservation leaders worldwide. After watching this film you might find yourself asking: "What can I do to help?"
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It is not governments or organisations that force social change but individuals, 30 Oct 2009
By 
All of them Witches (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Cove [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
An unashamedly very personal perspective of the annual dolphin slaughter occurring in a small cove of a small town in Japan, Taiji. Ric O'Barry and a committed band of concerned individuals passionately highlight this trade and the ethical debate surrounding it via secretly filmed footage, footage from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meetings, talking heads and extracts of interviews with various Japanese officials.
It is problematic in parts. Of the thousands of dolphins that are driven and contained within the cove the bottlenose dolphins are removed and sold on to dolphinarium type places (we'll come back to that) and the rest are killed and eaten. The film dispenses with the 'cultural' argument very quickly by stating (paraphrasing) 'the Japanese say we eat cows.... but eating dolphins isn't part of their culture' They are then exploring shops and markets in Tokyo buying whalemeat and testing it for both mercury levels and to establish what type of cetacean it is the conclusion being that many people buying whale meat are actually inadvertently buying dolphin meat. The film for me did not make a distinction as to why a nation who are happy to eat whale meat would balk at the idea of consuming dolphin meat. Is there a cultural reason for this or is it because higher mercury levels in dolphins deter consumers?
Of course the 'cultural' argument in itself does not justify a carte blanche approach to just anything as there are many odious practices justified on tradition grounds but there are also philosphical arguments the Japanese defence has highlighted and it raises the rhetorical questions is it worse to kill and eat a creature that has until that point existed in its own environment compared to one bred and raised within a controlled environment?
Should particular species be given special consideration based upon intelligence levels etc above that given to other species? I have no issue with a yes response to these and the wider argument concerning the fragility of the ocean eco-system it's just I felt the film was on slightly shaky ground in its fleeting raising and dismissing of the cultural argument.
O'Barry reported that bottlenose dolphins are sold for up to $150k each to various amusement parks and it seems that the remaining dolphins which are killed do not provide much of a revenue. This whale meat was to be distributed free within schools in the local area so can be viewed as little more than a by-product. The Cove did feature footage of these theme parks with performing dolphins but I felt the film should have made the message more explicit that ultimately those who pay to visit attractions like these are creating the demand for dolphin extraction from the wild and the associated slaughter in Japan.
Nonetheless the film is a triumph for individual perseverance and courage. In spite of the hostility, threats and police surveillance of the activists they go to enormous lengths to rig hidden cameras around the cove and capture the disturbing footage they set out to film. The footage from the IWC is also very illuminating and culminates nicely with O'Barry (banned for life from the IWC) interrupting proceedings during the Japanese representatives speech proclaiming how non-cruel the process is, by entering centre stage with a screen around his neck playing the footage of the dolphin kills he has captured.
O'Barry in his time was the animal trainer who captured and trained the 5 dolphins who were 'flipper' in the tv programme of the same name and in his own words acknowledges his ignorance at being involved in this trade and to a degree sparking off the popular appeal of captive dolphins. He changed his mind after one of the dolphins died in his arms and has worked to rescue dolphins since. It is also worth mentioning that in the past two of O'Barry's former co-activists were murdered in seperate events in pursuit of their objectives.
Maybe any long term change will come about from heightened awareness of mercury levels in cetaceans and educating dolphinarium visitors as opposed to challenging Japanese fishermen and officials directly but a depressing observation made was that with the unsustainable overfishing levels dolphins and other whales are likely to become in increasing demand.
The Cove is a very good documentary and despite its pessimistic subject matter says an awful lot about redemption, the human spirit and the enormous difference an individual can make.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Cove" on BLU RAY - US Disc Gives Playback Problems To 'UK' Buyers..., 22 Mar 2014
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Cove [US Import] [Blu-ray] [Region A] (Blu-ray)
Highlighting the Japanese Government's craftily hidden slaughter of Earth's most beautiful of creatures (dolphins) - "The Cove" is a stunning feature-film that fields some obvious answers too (men in power can stop it).

You will also notice that most of the reviews are for the 'DVD' version. When I went to get it on BLU RAY - there are two odd options (one of which won't work).

The American BLU RAY on Lionsgate is REGION A LOCKED (Amazon doesn't advise what this means). It won't play on our machines unless they're chipped to be 'all regions' (which few are).

Luckily there's a Euro release (which is REGION B) that gives no playback problems and has glorious picture quality. It's also reasonably priced...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply unsettling, 15 Oct 2012
This review is from: The Cove [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This is one of those -must-watch' documentaries.

On one level, it doesn't tell us anything that new. What it manages to achieve is to graphically and convincingly demonstrate the sheer degree of cultural self-interest and profound deception involved in Japan's continued espousal of whaling. The documentary intends us to be shocked by the level of brutality and butchery perpetrated against dolphins, and it achieves this in some measure with its final scenes in the 'cove' where the seawater becomes blood. And whilst it is right that we be shocked, I did find myself wondering if there was something that inherently singled out dolphins for moral outrage, given humanity's awful crimes against so many other species, or indeed against other human beings.

The moral/ethical implications are not explored in depth, but highlighted for us within the documentary. Setting aside for one moment any reservations about the specific focus on dolphins, we were presented with the issue of mercury poisoning, and the fact that the practice of dolphin-butchery was explicitly attempting to feed this toxin-laden meat to junior-school children - and apparently with full governmental collusion. We were shown dolphin meat, with up to 2000ppm of mercury contamination, in vacuum packs in supermarket chiller cabinets in Tokyo, mislabeled as something completely different. For me, it was this chilling combination of profoundly unethical and deceptive practices being used to get toxic food substances into the human food chain which got my attention - the kind of ethos which cultivated the macabre deceptions at Taiji was connected to the feeding of poisons to human children.

This, then, supplies the most frightening message of the film. It demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt the kind of perversion within human nature and culture which connects these things together, so that the outrage at Taiji becomes coterminous with the deceptions and self-interest of local fishermen and authorities, or with Japan's dubious representatives on the IWC, or indeed the preparedness of other IWC Members to look the other way, culminating in the feeding of lethal levels of mercury to young human children.

The documentary ought to cause us to weep for these dolphins, as the researchers involved clearly did. But it should lead us to weep for a culture which actually colludes in its own destruction by feeding poison to the next generation, even whilst it actively destroys its own natural environment.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastically valuable viewing!, 1 Jun 2010
This review is from: The Cove [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This was a super film. Words escape me. But I shall try. I had been wanting to watch The Cove for quite some time since finding out about it and especially since it won a well deserved Oscar!

The build up in the film and the development of events is nail-biting and I found myself willing the crew and Ric to succeed especially after all the blood, sweat and tears they put into this campaign.

Ric's background with the Flipper dolphins that he trained is very moving and his willingness to share his history with the dolphins and to openly admit his mistakes is very humbling. Respect to Ric O'Barry for being so open and honest and for trying to right his wrongs which is more than many people would do.

Everybody should watch this film - I watched it late at night and couldn't wait to start writing to my MP. Perhaps it will motivate others to act similarly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch it and the dolphins may live, 2 April 2014
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This review is from: The Cove [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This is a fascinating and increasingly relevant watch. The impact which this film has had on the survival of dolphins and the treatment of marine life worldwide, is incredible. Great insight into how mankind has messed up.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Japan's Dirty Secret and Marine Entertainment Shows, 5 April 2010
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This review is from: The Cove [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This is an excellent documentary and worthy of its Oscar nomination.

Most importantly is its message that certain groups in Japan's fishing industry and political institutions are willing to lie to their own people about mercury poisoning as well as covering up the horrific slaugher of these beautiful creatures. Watch the film and prepare to be shocked, but also educated.

The film also highlights the games Japan's government plays at the International Whaling Commission in bribing poor small island nations, most of whom actually have no interest in the whaling industry to vote in support of Japan's efforts to increase whaling activities. The film highlights the ecological disaster that is occuring in one local spot, but also paints the canvas of the broader ecological disaster occuring for cetaceans around the globe. Japan (or more accurately a Japanese fishing community and the Japanese government) may be the villain of this piece - most Japanese are ignorant of the facts; but the film also highlights the unnecessary death and stress caused to cetaceans captured from the wild to perform party tricks for western and asian marine entertainment parks (a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide).

It is difficult to watch this film and not feel sick and angry. However, the film provides an important educational tool which will hopefully mobilise people to save these beautiful animals from such selfish, senseless slaughter and captivity.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, inspiring documentary, 13 Jan 2010
By 
V. Donohoe (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Cove [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This is a well researched, well presented and completley inspirational movie. I would go as far as to say it is the only film that I think has actually changed my life and my perspective. I urge you to watch it and take action for these animals.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking and heartbreaking, 11 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Cove [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
amazing documentary i wish they made compulsory to watch in all RE and philosophy lessons. Definitely a strong message to bring about.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stain on Japan and a stain on humanity, 29 May 2010
By 
P. D. Smith "drumbox" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Cove [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This film connects all the dots about dolphins in marine parks and swim with dolphin programmes and how they are sourced. SeaWorld has claimed they are there to educate on the wonders of marine life, but refuse to show The Cove. Why? SeaWorld actually use to buy dolphins from Taiji, Japan. Okay, this was a long time ago but they have placed themselves in a very difficult position. This film is much more than the just the end sequences which are upsetting, but it says so much more about money, corruption and humanity.

The strength of this film is about the courage of those that made it, but also to those people who documented this story but who never had the money to get it into the mainstream.

Japan needs the oceans to live because it does not have the argriculture that we take for granted, but it must also learn to live in harmony rather than just keep consuming without thinking about the consequences of its actions.

This is not just Japan's problem. It a problem we must all face in terms of how we must learn and to co-exist with other life forms which share the planet with ourselves.

Whales and dolphins have adapted well to their ocean environment. We must also evolve as a species to do the same.
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Cove  [US Import] [Blu-ray] [Region A]
Cove [US Import] [Blu-ray] [Region A] by Louie Psihoyos (Blu-ray - 2011)
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