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Whale Rider [DVD]

4.7 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton, Cliff Curtis, Grant Roa
  • Directors: Niki Caro
  • Producers: John Barnett, Frank Hübner, Tim Sanders
  • Format: DVD-Video, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Icon Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Aug. 2008
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001BFH4N4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,099 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

A young mother dies in childbirth along with her newborn male son, who was supposed to be the Whangara tribe's next leader. His twin sister, Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes), manages to survive and is brought up by her grandparents. She enlists the help of her uncle to teach herself the art of chiefdom and it appears that she possesses a natural leadership ability.

From Amazon.co.uk

One of the most charming and critically acclaimed films of 2003, the New Zealand hit Whale Rider effectively combines Maori tribal tradition with the timely "girl power" of a vibrant new millennium. Despite the discouragement of her gruff and disapproving grandfather (Rawiri Paratene), who nearly disowns her because she is female and therefore traditionally disqualified from tribal leadership, 12-year-old Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes) is convinced that she is a tribal leader and sets out to prove it.

Rather than inflate this story (from a novel by Witi Ihimaera) with artificial sentiment, writer-director Niki Caro develops very real and turbulent family relationships, intimate and yet torn by a collision between stubborn tradition and changing attitudes. The mythic whale rider--the ultimate symbol of Maori connection to nature--is also the harbinger of Pai's destiny, and the appealing Castle-Hughes gives a luminous, astonishingly powerful performance that won't leave a dry eye in the house. With its fresh take on a familiar tale, Whale Rider is definitely one from the heart. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kona TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Feb. 2004
Format: DVD
Whale Rider is a rare and wonderful film. It is set in a small seaside Maori village in New Zealand and concerns the chief, who has no first-born grandson to carry on the old ways. He does have a loveable and plucky granddaughter, Pai, named for the legendary founder of the Maoris who came there on the back of a whale. Pai adores her grandfather, but he has forbidden her to study the old ways because she is a girl.
This is one of those movies that draws you into its world completely with its honesty. The 12-year old star, Keisha Castle-Hughes is so genuine and charismatic, it is no wonder she has been nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. She is a natural talent, beautiful, inspiring, and delightful to watch.
Whale Rider has the art-house feel to it, because it deals almost exclusively with emotions. Village life and underwater scenes of whales are lovingly photographed and accompanied by a haunting score. There is a lot of Maori culture in it, but the desire for acceptance and respect are universally understood. If you like character-driven stories with heartwarming elements of the supernatural, you'll enjoy Whale Rider.
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Format: DVD
Based on the novel by Witi Ihimaera, Whale Rider is an intelligent independent film by director Niki Caro. This is a poignant and powerful coming of age tale and also the story of a people who are struggling to maintain their identity and the old ways. There are strong mythical components to the film. The underwater shots of whales, and a young girl who seems to sense their presence and commune with them, are mystical and breathtaking. And the scenes of Maori dance and the narration of their mythology are extraordinary.
The film is set on the eastern coast of New Zealand, which is inhabited by an ancient people, the Whangara. The narrator is a wonderfully expressive young actress, Keisha Castle-Hughes. She gives a riveting performance as Paikea, (called Pai), a twelve year-old Maori girl with the blood of royalty in her veins and the heart of a warrior in her chest. The movie opens with Pai narrating a Whangara myth. Legend has it that the native people came to New Zealand following their leader, Paikea, (who Pai is named for), a boy who heroically rode on the back of a whale. Traditionally, tribal leadership has always gone to the direct descendants of that first leader and always to the first born male of the noble line. Tragedy occurs, however, when fraternal twins are born into that line, a boy and a girl. The girl lives, the boy does not, and the mother perishes along with her son as a result of a difficult birthing. The chain of leadership is broken with their demise. Pai's father, an artist, can not come to grips with the deaths of his wife and son and so he leaves New Zealand, and Pai, who is cared for by her paternal grandparents.
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Format: DVD
There are those films that everyone should see. There are those that everyone should own. Then there are those that everyone should cherish. Whale Rider is all of these.
Breathtakingly emotional, beautifully heartbreaking and wonderfully funny, this outstanding film deserves much more recognition than the lone best actress Oscar nomination for Keisha Castle-Hughes. This brilliant young girl should have received the award for the speech scene alone.
Simply an excellent story by Witi Ihimaera, adapted perfectly for the screen by Niki Caro, casted with genius by Diana Rowan, acted magnificently by all the actors, completed with a hauntingly stunning score by Lisa Gerrard.
Every now and then a film comes along that makes the world a better place to live in. Whale Rider does this. Watch it now.
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Format: DVD
This film of a Maori chieftain's search for a successor who will keep the rural community's culture alive is also an appraisal of the culture itself and the values it represents. The community is dying as its young people leave for the city and do not return, except briefly as visitors, and the chief, Koro (Rawiri Paratene) has no successor. His own firstborn son, Porourangi (Cliff Curtis), who would normally have succeeded him, has left the community after his wife died giving birth to twins--a son who died, and a daughter who lived. Naming the surviving daughter (Keisha Castle-Hughes) Paikea, after the whale rider who formed the culture a thousand years ago, Porourangi (Cliff Curtis) abandons her to the care of her grandmother and the community and goes to Germany to promote his artwork.
Paikea's difficult relationship with her grandfather, who scorns her because she is a girl and not the male heir he needs, is beautifully played here, and Keisha Castle-Hughes is a sensitive and winning actress who endows Paikea with the "strength, courage, intelligence, and leadership" which are the hallmarks of the culture. Always trying to learn the old ways so that she can win her grandfather's love, she is, instead, constantly berated for trying to break the taboo of the marai by assuming a boy's role.
The striking cinematography (Leon Narbey) captures the spirit of the land, while the underwater photography of whales, as Paikea's spirit is drawn to them throughout the film, is stunning. Maori chants and ceremonial dances convey many of the Maori cultural traditions and illustrate their similarities with those of the Hawaiians, who share a common origin.
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