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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The pinacle of man vs whale action
Dino De Laurentiis is no stranger to the quick cash-in when it comes to other peoples success, so when Jaws took world box offices by storm he must have been rubbing his hands with glee when the script for Orca dropped onto his desk, giving him the opportunity to exploit an audience hungry for more fishy thrills as man fought real life sea monster on the open seas. Now,...
Published on 9 Oct. 2002 by Pete Murphy

versus
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sad more than scary....
Despite appearances this film is not simply a rip off of Jaws, although there might be similarities its based on the book by Arthur Herzog. While Jaws is a thriller/horror about a crazed shark attacking anyone who enters the water, in this film there is a reason for the Orca's behaviour, there is a reason for the attacks, and a moral theme underlying the whole movie. It's...
Published on 12 Sept. 2012 by Rain-Dancer


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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The pinacle of man vs whale action, 9 Oct. 2002
Dino De Laurentiis is no stranger to the quick cash-in when it comes to other peoples success, so when Jaws took world box offices by storm he must have been rubbing his hands with glee when the script for Orca dropped onto his desk, giving him the opportunity to exploit an audience hungry for more fishy thrills as man fought real life sea monster on the open seas. Now, taken in this context you could probably be excused for thinking Orca: Killer Whale is little more than a cheap, badly acted attempt to milk the Spielberg cash cow generated by his popular tale of three men in a boat. Personally, although I can excuse that thought, I can’t help but think it’s wrong. There’s a lot more going on than purely cheap exploitation and the films ending contains something that most audiences completely overlook, or maybe just ignore, but I’ll come to that later.
Richard Harris gives a remarkably subtle performance, given his reputation for slicing the ham, in the role of Captain Nolan who through the course of the film changes from a jovial, naive, happy go lucky fisherman to a lost soul desperate for forgiveness, until finally he becomes a modern day Captain Ahab, chewing on a clunky, hamfisted script that borrows in equal measures first from Jaws and then Moby Dick. Although the dialogue may be far from fluid and lapses into unintentional comedy more than once, the story itself rises above this, not least because of its habit of taking you by surprise with its downright nastiness. You can tell this isn’t Hollywood when Nolan and his crew, on the hunt to capture a live killer whale, accidentally harpoon and butcher a pregnant female and watch in horror as it aborts its fetus on the deck of their boat. Few producers would have had the courage to even consider presenting such a scene to a paying public in what is essentially a mainstream film and the FX team are to be applauded for creating effects that are never anything less than entirely convincing. From this point on, provided those watching haven’t switched off and chosen some slightly more tasteful viewing material for the evening, Nolan, and in fact the entire human cast, lose our sympathies and we find ourselves rooting for the whale as he exacts his twisted revenge on those responsible for the death of his mate and unborn ‘child’. This is another point where the audience could switch off, unable to suspend disbelief where whales and well thought out plots of revenge are concerned. It’s bizarre, but since when did an Italian script pander to the rational?
Visually Orca is a world away from the sunkissed beaches and glass-like blue seas of Jaws. There’s an air of desolation in Nolans Newfoundland home, it looks inhospitable, nobody seems to have much emotional connection to anyone else, coming across as just as cold as the landscape. This makes a stark contrast to the happy family life enjoyed by the playful whales before their tragic encounter with Nolan. A blunt eco-statement if ever I’ve seen one, punctuated by one of the most insipid Morricone scores I’ve ever heard in my life. But it works, for me at least.
The supporting cast drift along on auto-pilot – Will Sampson is his usual spiritual Native American type; Charlotte Rampling disengages brain and lets the words just fall out; while Bo Derek displays all the depth of character of a strip of pine veneer. The acting’s just enough to carry the story along, but as I said before, the subtlety of Harris’s performance works suprisingly well.
Which brings us to the films climax, now firmly in Moby Dick territory as Nolan follows the whale out onto the open seas intent on killing it in a showdown that’s blessed with stark visual imagery courtesy of the stunning beauty of the Northern icefield location. Most people seem to think there’s little more to this film than Man vs Whale and the whale wins. But does he? Although Nolan ultimately slips beneath the sea, his body smashed and broken by the Orca, the wounded whale doesn’t simply swim away. Could a whale, seriously injured by Nolans harpoon, ever return to his life as it was before becoming twisted by the burning desire for revenge, before becoming…human? I don’t think so and this is something the audience usually misses; a whale needs air to breathe, but when the Orca swims away into the murky depths he’s well below a thick crust of ice that he’s no chance of breaking through for air. He just disappears into the darkness, having lost his family and been torn apart by his lust for vengeance he can never find happiness again and so, with his enemies dead, the whale chooses to just slip away beneath the ice. It’s actually quite touching
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Giving Jaws a run for its money, 23 Sept. 2004
By 
Darren Harrison "DVD collector and reviewer" (Washington D.C.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
wo years after the classic thriller JAWS struck terror into movie audiences around the world - and had many a beachgoer at least think twice before diving into the ocean - another movie opened whose haunting music, classic cinematography and virtuoso performances gave the Peter Benchley/Steven Spielberg collaboration a run for its money.
Easily the best of all the movies that sought to cash in on the underwater monster craze that gripped the western world in the late 1970s, ORCA THE KILLER WHALE is both fascinating, moving and also intriguing. The thrust of the movie is the battle between a determined fisherman (played by the always excellent Richard Harris with more than a tip of the hat to the literary Capt. Ahab) and an orca - a killer whale bent on revenge for the slaughter of his mate and murder of his offspring.
But, for me personally one of the best parts of the movie is provided by Charlotte Ramplings character Rachel's discussion on the scientific study of the fascinating creatures. Her `humanizing' of the whale is effective is invoking a certain level of sympathy for the creature and elevates the movie beyond JAWS in which (let's face it) the shark has little motive for actually attacking the residents of Amity.
Making her feature film debut as Annie is the incredibly beautiful and enchanting Bo Derek in what is probably her best performance (having reverted to soft porn in the 1980s with the likes of `Tarzan: The Ape Man' and `Bolero'). Her character meets a particularly gruesome end in this movie (leg cast and all) but then so do a number of the characters in this movie, until Harris' Capt. Nolan faces off with the orca on the frozen tundra in what will ultimately be a battle to the death.
I saw this movie many years ago on British television and it haunted me then, the direction by Michael Anderson is flawless and steady and Paramount Home Video have provided a good DVD transfer of the movie that is sadly devoid of any special features (not even a trailer). Still, if you liked JAWS the chances are you will like this movie - I did, and what better recommendation can I give than that.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sad more than scary...., 12 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Orca The Killer Whale (DVD)
Despite appearances this film is not simply a rip off of Jaws, although there might be similarities its based on the book by Arthur Herzog. While Jaws is a thriller/horror about a crazed shark attacking anyone who enters the water, in this film there is a reason for the Orca's behaviour, there is a reason for the attacks, and a moral theme underlying the whole movie. It's not really a horror film although it does have elements of a horror & there are violent/graphic parts, but on the whole the events of this movie are sad/tragic rather than scary.

The ending I won't spoil for you but for me it had a very poignant and sad feel to it.

Although I liked this film in a general sense it does have it's flaws and there were some parts that bothered me. The one that springs most quickly to mind is a scene near to the beginning (the trigger for the whole snowball of events) which I found very gory and hard to watch....even though the whale etc is obviously fake the scene is never the less not easy viewing...at least for me it wasn't.

Also while it was only a mild irritation, one of the characters in the film is supposed to be an Orca expert but most of the "facts" about orcas she mentions in the film are wrong, such as the statement that orca's are monogamous. In truth male and female orca's alike stay in their family (birth) pods for life, they form strong family ties with each other and only mate when meeting orca's from other pods, afterwards they go their separate ways with their respective pods, and the male has very little if anything to do with either the female or his offspring afterwards. I'll ignore the fact that orcas don't really go on roaring rampages of revenge either since I'll put that down to artistic license for story reasons ;) ...but I still feel they could have researched and been a bit more accurate with the other facts.

The only other thing I can think of is that in some of the underwater scenes (on the few occasions where they didn't borrow pre-recorded footage of real orcas) I felt the whale models were too obviously fake as well(the movement much too wooden and not natural). Then again given the movies age it's forgivable.

You can see the movie's age in the film quality, but for me anyway, this simply gives it a slightly nostalgic(?) feel. I think the previous reviewer may have just been unfortunate in receiving a faulty DVD, though, as the disc I have of this film plays fine(occasionally even brand new, seemingly undamaged discs can have a fault on them, it's happened to me before with another film).

Although I wouldn't say rush out and buy this movie, it does have its good points as well as flaws, and if you like animal versus human type stories then it's worth a watch.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Slow delivery, 6 July 2014
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This review is from: Orca The Killer Whale (DVD)
Film was a present. Great product but a shame about delivery time
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fishy tale., 3 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Orca [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I had a whale of a time watching this. It took me a while to catch this film on dvd.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Greenpeace movie?, 26 Jun. 2013
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In my opinion, this movie is one of the better movies that makes people aware that not all is well in catching fish for only money's sake.

A typical "save the planet" movie.

But still one of mys favorites.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Such a wonder, 24 Jan. 2015
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I am a fan of this film since I was a young kid. It is brutal, but so meaningful and beautifully filmed. This is still one of ma favourites to this day
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFUL FILM. BLU-RAY RELEASE IS A MUST!, 9 Feb. 2015
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Beautiful film with a outstanding soundtrack, the opening scenes with the family of whale's was just beautiful, and really sets the mood, the soundtrack was done by Ennio Morricone with the end song called "MY LOVE, WE ARE ONE" Which was sung by carol Connors, I remember for days I could not get this song out of my head, even when I went to bed, I must admit it drove me a bit crazy, but still I love this soundtrack.

Richard Harris who is trying to catch a live male orca whale, but accidently harpoons a female, but he is unaware that she is pregnant. There is a graphic scene when they load her onboard there boat, she then aborts her baby, and with the male whale who is looking on, when the crew hose the fetus of board, this is when the orca seeks revenge, and WOW!! What a revenge.

I have read that this film is classed as a horror but for me this is more of a revenge, it makes me laugh when humans take revenge it's classed as a thriller but when animals do it it's a horror, they are both the same in my eyes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 19 Oct. 2014
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Saw it at the cinema and love anything with Richard Harris in
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Have You Seen Free Willy ? You MUST See This One Too !, 16 Sept. 2000
By 
roland.wagenaar@castel.nl (Zandeweer, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This is the only movie so far (I am 28 now) that made me cry. The music and soundeffects are very good chosen. The effects in the movie are sometimes much too real. Especially the effect of the born baby-killerwhale is extremly hard to see. I don't know if there were already Oscar nominations in 1977, but this one really deserves one or more !
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Orca [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Orca [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] by Richard Harris (DVD - 2013)
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