Of all sea creatures the whale has to be the most popular when it comes to books and films, this is because of its sheer size and its unthreatening and almost kind nature. There have been many blockbuster movies featuring this giant of the deep as the main star. As recently as 2012, Drew Barrymore starred in a film called Big Miracle, it is about a family of gray whales that are discovered near the Arctic Circle that are trapped by ice. The cast rally together in an international rescue coalition before it is too late. Big Miracle sparked off a debate of which were the best whale movies ever, and here are some for your consideration.
Free Willy – 1993
Free Willy is most likely to be found in every family home’s video collection, it has all the components that make up a blockbuster movie, it captivates the audience and lures them into the story of a little boy and his relationship with a killer whale.
As always in good movies the antagonists are highly believable and in this case they are a bunch of lawless whalers who capture Willy (the whale), and take him to a local amusement park. Jesse is the name of the little boy who forms a strong friendship with Willy as he is tasked to clean up the park as a part of punishment duty. Then a battle ensues where Jesse locks horns with the owners of the amusement park and the whalers to free his beloved Willy and to return him to his family in the wild.
Whale Rider – 2002
This New Zealand made film is simply enchanting, it centers upon the Maori people of New Zealand and their tradition of only allowing males to ascend to chiefdom. But this situation is put in jeopardy when the selected heir-apparent dies at birth. Pai, the male child’s twin sister survives the birth but she has to do the impossible to convince the tribe and her skeptical grandfather that she is good enough to lead the tribe. This is a must-see film if only for the performance by Keisha Castle-Hughes who portrays the young girl, she even was nominated for best actress in the Academy Awards her performance is that good.
Orca – 1977
This whale film has a very different theme to the other films so far featured. Orca is a killer whale who is out for revenge. Orca’s nemesis is Captain Nolan who catches marine creatures to pay the money owed on his boat. Whilst searching for Orca, Captain Nolan and his crew mistakenly harpoon a pregnant female.
This sets a chain of events that the sees the distraught mate of the murdered female whale seeking atonement. The killer whale sets off on a trail of wanton destruction and terrorizes the local fishing fraternity in a wild frenzy. All these movies have whales at the very core of the plot, and in each case there is some fantastic footage of real life whales swimming in their natural habitats. Of course many of the action sequences use CGI (computer generated imagery) to portray the whales to ensure no harm came to the gentle giants.