Title: A Whale of a Tale
Director: Megumi Sasaki
Starring: Jay Alabaster, Atshushi Nakahira, Rick Oliver
Runtime: 1 hr 37 mins
What It Is: Dolphin Cove fishers in Taiji, Japan weather harassment and protests from anti-whale-fishing activist group Sea Shepard. What follows are multiple accounts from both sides of the issue.
What We Think: Chronicling the aftermath of The Cove, an Academy Award-winning film about dolphin hunting, this documentary stands neutrally and faces individuals either in support of or against the dolphin/whale-meat industry. In that respect, it’s respectful, educational, and important. It’s always important to lend context: in this case, it being a painfully awkward matter of cultural differences. On one hand, we learn about the nationalist attitudes and the historical significance associated with the industry and on the other hand, the logical (or sometimes unsurprisingly illogical) and overbearingness at the helm of the American/foreign-activist front. It tends to be uncomfortably revealing in how extreme the protesters treat other people without having the full context themselves, and absurdly dedicated much of the Taiji/Japanese culture is to commercially fish and eat wild animals. Films like these make you realize that the answer to understanding and solving these sort of issues (environmental or otherwise) are made all the more clear when we stand in the middle and open our ears to both sides.
Our Grade: C, It overall lacks an impressive or even satisfactory style and presentation (with the titles literally in a Chalkduster font) and at times tends to be dull or has a lack of organization that gives you the sense of an old Discovery Channel documentary. Nonetheless, A Whale of a Tale is an essential and sympathetic watch to anyone willing to enlighten themselves truthfully in the wake of this prevalent and urgent subject at hand.