Pixar Studios has reportedly decided to change the ending to the film "Finding Dory" after seeing director Gabriela Cowperthwaite's controversial documentary "Blackfish." The film has raised questions about the ethics behind keeping orcas a.k.a killer whales in captivity. Cowperthwaite was inspired to make the film after the death of Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.
"Finding Dory" is the sequel to the hugely successful 2003 Disney/Pixar film "Finding Nemo." Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, is a forgetful little blue fish that helped uptight clownfish Marlin find his missing son Nemo in the 2003 movie.
"Finding Dory" is scheduled for a 2015 release and will focus on Dory as the main character. Old favorites will be returning as well as some new characters. The script for "Finding Dory" is still in the early stages of production, but the New York Times has reported that its writers have already made changes to the film's ending.
Inspired by "Blackfish" the ending to "Finding Dory" will feature a marine park similar to Sea World. The marine mammal park featured in "Finding Dory" will give its performers (whales, dolphins, sea lions, etc.) the option to leave the park if they choose.
The New York Times has claimed that Pixar wanted the scenes featuring the aquatic park to be more detailed and last longer. Pixar later decided to change the length the park will be featured amid backlash from Sea World about "Blackfish." Disney has made no public announcement regarding the ending of "Finding Dory."
According to Yahoo News "Blackfish" director Cowperthwaite was invited to Pixar headquarters to screen her film. Louie Psihoyos a film maker responsible for the 2009 movie "The Cove" told Yahoo News,
"At the end of ['Finding Dory'], some marine mammals are sent to an aquatic park/rehab facility -- a SeaWorld-type environment," Psihoyos said. "After seeing 'Blackfish,' they retooled the film so that the sea creatures now have the choice to leave that marine park. They told Gabriela they didn't want to look back on this film in 50 years and have it be their 'Song of the South.'"
"Blackfish" is an emotionally powerful movie. You will walk out of the theater a different person after seeing the film. The documentary tells the story of Tilikum, a 12,000 pound killer whale responsible for the death of Dawn Brancheau and at least two other people over a 20-year period.
The film looks to get at the heart of the issue, why did Dawn Brancheau die and could her death have been avoided? The film follows Tilikum from his capture off the coast of Iceland to the aftermath of Brancheau's death.
What you learn when watching the film is that the orca is a highly intelligent animal, with strong social structures and the ability to form lasting emotional bonds with the members of their pod. Male orcas, like Tilikum often spend their entire lives with their mother never leaving.
When Tilikum was two years old he was stripped from his mother and sold to a Canadian marine park. Sea Land of the Pacific became his home until the death of a trainer. Tilikum and the other whales he was living with killed a Sea Land worker when she slipped and fell into their enclosure.
Sea World acquired Tilikum after this incident but the film suggests trainers did not get the full report about the Canada incident.
"Blackfish" is filled with emotional, gut-wrenching and heartbreaking scenes. The film shows what captivity for an animal meant to swim hundreds of miles a day in the ocean can do to their psyche. The general thesis of "Blackfish" is that whales in captivity suffer from psychosis and are time bombs when it comes to violence against their human counter parts.
"Blackfish" makes it clear that the trainers working with these animals love the whales and want what is best for them. Unfortunately corporate Sea World makes all of the final decisions and the film suggests those decisions do more harm than good to the animals.
Sea World made a statement following the nation wide release of "Blackfish." The company said the reports and accusations in the film were unfounded and they have called testimony in "Blackfish" lies. CNN will air "Blackfish" on October 24, of this year.