Saturday Morning Documentary: Eco Pirate: The Story of Paul Watson

9 02 2013

It`s been quite a while since I last watched a documentary on Saturday morning, mostly because I always find myself having things to do and write on the weekend because of school.  With some time to spare, I was finally able to open my Documentaries folder and take a look at one of the movies that have been waiting patiently.  I remember when Eco Pirate played at Fifth Ave.  Hardly anyone went to see it, unfortunately, and we only screened it for a week.  It`s a good documentary, and director Trish Dolman isn`t afraid to show some very disturbing, graphic images, like whales being harpooned and killed, and even more terrifying and unexpected, baby seals getting bludgeoned in the Arctic.  But it`s moments like these, this uncensored look at what Paul and the rest of his followers really believe in stopping.  It`s the ugly truth of what goes on in the world, and people, as Paul says, are ”stupid”.  What some people believe to be eco-terrorism, this film examines the injustice of nations who proceed with illegal activity or in some cases, like Japan, blatantly lie about their whaling purposes (they call it ”research” yet others point out that you don`t need to kill whales to study them), Watson looks more and more reasonable in his actions.  He and his crew throw stink bombs onto other boats, clog their waste outlets (ie. the holes near the bottom of the ships where blood from whales pours out), and sometimes even ram the ships, all in the name of protecting animals and the environment.

If you have the stomach and eyes for watching animals getting killed a bit, then I would recommend this documentary.  It may be a little long, but the entire film is a well-made and fascinating portrait of a man willing to make the change no one else will do.

Saturday Morning Documentary: Polar Bear, Spy On the Ice

20 03 2011

I’m sure I don’t have to explain what a polar bear is: vicious white bears who kill seals!  Also, the cubs are adorable.  According to yet another BBC produced documentary called Polar Bear, Spy on the Ice polar bears have not been captured on film very much in the wild and a lot of their behaviour is still not completely known.  Scientists have built a variety of different spy cameras ranging from “Snowball cam,” a spherical camera that is “almost indestructible”, “iceberg cam,” which is exactly as it sounds — a camera mounted on a small, fake iceberg to follow the bears in the water or on icebergs at sea, and my favourite one, “blizzard cam,” a camera propelled by two propellers on a set of skis that allow the entire camera to travel to 40 miles per hour.  Pretty darn cool.

On the islands of Svalbard in Norway, these cameras — no humans — are placed, waiting for the bears to come out of hibernation as they make their way onto the drifting sea ice in search of food during the upcoming summer.  The bears have to hurry though; once the ice melts away, the distance will be too far to swim to the icebergs and bears that don’t make it on the ice will be stranded on land where food is harder to come by.  The documentary follows two families of bears: a mother with a cub and another mother with two cubs.  One of them gets left on the island while the other makes it onto the icebergs.

What the documentary finds is the bears being extremely curious to the cameras, showing remarkable intelligence, and showing the differences between the two polar bear families and survival strategies.  Nonetheless, there are lots and lots of the obligatory shots of super cute polar bear cubs.  And in HD, the entire documentary looks fantastic.

Blizzard cam

Mother and her cub, stranded on Svalbard