BMZ Review: Humpback Whales

March 30, 2015 – 3:40 pm

Humpback Whales
By Ann Coates

Humpback Whales, the latest release from veteran Giant Screen company, MacGillivray Freeman Films, is a straightforward jaunt into the world of humpbacks. With no real storyline, the film teaches audiences about these whales in typical MFF fashion — fun and frivolous, but with always very pretty imagery.

The film launches with a compelling opening sequence of a humpback whale — the camera twisting and turning the audience right side up, then upside down, until we find ourselves wonderfully disoriented. All the while, a humpback whale swivels just below (or above?) the water’s surface. Crisp and blue, the film contains some amazingly detailed close-ups of these no less than majestic animals.

Onwards, the film hints at the complexity of these whales but doesn’t delve too deeply. Instead, the film offers a few interesting facts followed by some flashy musical interludes. Formulaic at best, the film nevertheless boasts some interesting shots, particularly of whales loudly breaching — leaping into the air to come crashing back to the ocean. A sequence involving a team of humpbacks working together to feed on a school of fish could very well have been frighteningly beautiful if not for the exceedingly melodramatic music that accompanied it.

Ewan McGregor tactfully narrates the film, boosting up the more common-place moments, aided in part by an expertly crafted sound mix. Despite the aforementioned hitches, the film is undoubtedly pretty, and manages to capture the inherent charm of these humpback whales. In addition, Whales certainly does not lack in wow-inducing shots, and will prove to delight most audiences, as long as you’re not too demanding of the film.