Monday, April 18, 2011

Aquatic Killers: Orca

Here's a summary for all you skimmers- I hate this movie.  I hate it, hate it, hate it.  I hate it with the passion that I generally reserve for wars, genocide or films about sparkly vampires.  Thanks again, Carl!  Today's film is a blockbuster rip-off, but that's actually the least offensive thing about it.  It's 'we're better than the other, more famous film' bit happens early and is not all that consequential.  No, the annoying and offensive stuff in Orca pretty much takes up the 99.9% of the movie.  This is a film full of crap science (I think), stupid logic and characters that are far more deserving of death than the film's antagonist.  Basically, take that whole 'he without sin can throw the first stone' logic and toss it out the window!  I really didn't want to hate this movie, but it didn't give me a lot of choice!  By the way, Will Sampson (R.I.P.) is here playing an Indian of a completely different ethnic background and from the literal other side of the country that he's from.  At least he's not an Italian playing an Indian playing an Inuit, I guess.  One other side note, Sampson starred in another killer animal film that year (1977) that I actually want to see (White Buffalo).  Why that film is not on DVD while this one is escapes me!  Get out your crew of half-deaf sailors as we go to hunt the...
 The film begins with some nature footage involving the Orca aka Killer Whale.  It juxtaposes between that and a woman (Charlotte Rampling) giving a lecture on the animal.  She makes up what seem to be all sorts of silly statements, including bits about how Orca can communicate over hundreds of miles via sonar and how their language has more character than all of the languages of the world- combined!  To say that this film is 100% scientifically-accurate is to say that The Human Centipede was 100% medically-accurate!  We cut from that to our lead character, an Irish fisherman looking to make one big catch and retire to Ireland.  Gee, this isn't a recipe for cruel and ironic death.  He goes out hunting for a Great White Shark, but stumbles across something more tantalizing.  While Rampling and a colleague are out in a raft, a shark goes after them...only to be attacked by an Orca.  By the way, I love how the shark sails up and out of the water from being hit in the side.  I'd also love to see Behind-the-Scenes footage of them caber-tossing that shark!  The fisherman decides to hunt the whale instead, despite the warning of Rampling.  The next day, they manage to find the whale and harpoon it...only to realize that they actually got the female one instead.  They find this out when her unborn whale baby plops out on the deck!  To quote Captain Hero from Drawn Together, 'Ah, unborn baby whale- you were as wise as you were delicious.'  The mate makes a mournful 'yell' and apparently vows revenge.  By the way, Orcas can apparently do that.
The creature's revenge scheme is both very elaborate and highly-illogical.  First, it kills the Captain's friend (Keenan Wynn) as the man tries to cut the 'wife' free from the rope.  One- how did it leap that high and precise?  Two- how did nobody hear that thing- which wears over a ton- dispersing the water in the multiple laps it would need to build up the speed to jump that high?!?  Next, it attacks all of the fishing boats in the harbor, save for our hero's.  This is part of it's plan to make the other people in town mad at him & force the guy to face him.  Okay, how the hell does a whale make a plan like that?!?  It involves a level of fore-thought and understanding of human interaction that this thing could not have!  At one point, it even attacks a shore-side building, which causes a fire on the line that goes to the power station and blows it up.  This is a whale, not Dr. Phibes!!!  To add to this, the people in town go along with this logic and make really stupid decisions to help keep this plot in motion.  For example, Rampling tells him that he has to go and fight the whale because of blah blah blah bullshit science blah blah blah.  Later, the guy sets up a trap to shoot the whale on land and she tells him that it's not sporting.  Here's a note- he's about 30x the guy's weight and lives in the water.  If you want him to fight fair, that's not it!
All of this is a build-up to the fight between the guy and the whale.  He tries to just flee, but the people won't let him, for fear that the whale will continually attack them.  Yes, they're being held hostage by a freaking whale terrorist!  Here's a hint for you guys- just freaking move!!!  In addition, the whale attacks its enemy's house (which is on the freaking shore!) by taking out the pillars...because it now knows about architecture too!  The final straw- it bites off one of Bo Derek's feet!  The Captain goes out to Ocean with Rampling, his remaining crew members and Sampson's Indian character.  The crew follows the whale as it leads them away, as opposed to just freaking shooting it like they wanted to in the first place!  Along the way, the whale does another random 'leap out of the water' attacks and kills another crew member.  It's so important that they barely acknowledge it and move on.  The crew eventually get to an ice drift where the whale pushes an iceberg into their boat.  No, really.  This kills Sampson (thanks to falling ice) and wrecks the boat.  Rampling and the Captain go onto the ice, leading the final battle.  The Captain is entranced by the whale (I guess) and doesn't shoot it when he clearly could.  Instead, he gets knocked into the water and thrown into an iceberg via the Orca's tail.  It swims away triumphant as slightly-too-late helicopters rescue Rampling.  The End.
Science is for losers!  The plot of this movie is good in theory, but freaking stupid in execution.  A revenge tale- good.  A revenge tale involving a whale- silly.  A revenge tale involving a super-smart whale that understands human behavior- just plain stupid!  There is a severe lack of logic in regards to the whale and some just plain silly logic in regards to the people.  Why don't these people just kill the whale?  It's clearly in their best interest!  Evidently they were too afraid of offending 'the Gods' or something, so they basically blackmailed the Captain into doing it instead.  I have so many problems with that logic!  It's just so stupid that I feel my IQ start to drop even trying to rationalize it!  I'm sure that there are good ways to make this plot work, but they tried none of them.  That said, it's a Dino De Laurentis production and features good actors, so it's at least nice to look at.  That's the nicest thing I'm going to say about this movie.  Take us away, shark dropped out of a helicopter...
Next up, I present another Review in Pictures.  This time, it's not a Japanese film- it's from The Asylum!  Stay tuned...

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