Review: Whale Rider

Cam and I have been putting some long hours at work over the past couple of nights. On the plus side, work paid for dinner tonight, so that was nice.
Now, some people *cough*Amy*cough* accuse me of staying at work late to play this (via übersecret), but do you honestly think that something so simplistic could keep me occupied for hours on end?
By the way, I bet you can’t beat 593.
Last night I watched Whale Rider. I recall some folks had some opinions about this movie, and I remember the folks, and I remember the opinions, but not which correlated to which. One such opinion was that the movie was tediously slow, and that they’d never be able to get that part of their life back.

To that, I say “pffffffffft!”. It was an excellent film. True, it wasn’t action-packed. But the themes of honour, love, rejection, and triumph are universal. The way the film juxtaposes traditional native eastern-New Zealand customs against a contemporary setting is also quite well done.
The only part I took issue with is when our protagonist Paikea (played superbly by kiwi Keisha Castle-Hughes) didn’t actually disappear for good while riding the back of the whale. All signs were pointing in that direction.
Given the film was attempting to celebrate a culture rather than paint an uncertain future, it probably couldn’t have gone any other way. But I still felt as though the film took a right-angle turn there. All-in-all, though, a good, uplifting film with an ethereal, perfectly-fit soundtrack.
Off to bed now — here’s to a good Friday everyone!!

5 thoughts on “Review: Whale Rider”

    i’m glad you liked the film! i loved it. keisha’s performance on stage near the end is remarkable and very moving (i.e. makes me cry every time i see it!). i’m so pleased to see her nominated for an oscar, as i thought her acting was pretty stellar. anyways, i disagree with you on the part you “took issue with.” it would have been awful if she had disappeared! the tribe needed a new leader, and there would have been no one to be chief had she left or died. the fact that she rode the whale (and helped to unbeach them) proved to her grandfather that she was indeed the one chosen for the role of chief. there would be no other way to change his stubborn mind except to hear or see it straight from their “ancestors.” “paint an uncertain future”? the maori have struggled against colonization and assimilation for many many years. in short, they have had an “uncertain future” since colonial settlers first started taking away their land and eradicating their culture. and yet the maori are still here. if there were ever a film to celebrate their culture–past, present and future–it would be one that painted a very certain future in an effort to give hope to their people.
    well that’s my take anyways!

  2. SPOILERS con’t
    julie, i totally agree with your comment about needing to paint a certain future. i guess i was thinking paikea might be gone longer after she rode the whale, to allow her grandfather (who had just accepted her significance) to reflect on his stubborn ways. but in the film, she was back pretty much right after she left!
    i think my favorite scene was koro was explaining maori culture to paikea in terms of the boat-engine starter rope. we learn so much right there, great foreshadowing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I like how you put ‘SPOILER’ and then ‘END SPOiLER’. it allows me to defocus my eyes enough to make the small text illegible until I’ve reached the ‘end’ part – at which point I refocus and continue reading.

  4. heh — that was the intention.. i guess I could have said this without the spoiler tags: the movie is good — go watch! ๐Ÿ™‚

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