Sunday 6 April 2014

"Orca - The Killer Whale" UK DVD review

The movie that put the word Killer into Killer Whale, “Orca”, is being re-released to DVD this month from StudioCanal, who were kind enough to send over a check disc for me to take a look at.
One of  many films from the late 70s about nature-on-the-rampage, that came out in the wake of “Jaws”, “Orca - The Killer Whale” stars a pre-Dumbledore Richard Harris ("The Wild Geese", "A Man Called Horse" and of course “Harry Potter”) as Nolan, a boat captain, whos crew earn their living by trapping sharks and selling them to aquariums.
When they discover that they could earn a small fortune from selling a killer whale, and despite the warnings from the local marine expert, Rachael Bedford (Charlotte Rampling – "Henry VIII"), they devise a plan to capture one of the two whales that have been spotted swimming in the bay they fish in.
Unfortunately, their plans go predictably awry and they accidentally end up harpooning the female Whale, which subsequently dies. The crews boat is then attacked and damaged by the Whale's vengeful partner and they are forced to put into port for repairs.
But when Nolan decides to stay in the town for a few weeks and not leave, the Whale goes on to attack the other boats in the harbour and his crew find themselves being run out of town by the superstitious locals (one of which being the Red Indian guy from “Poltergeist 2”) where they are forced back out to sea and into a final confrontation with the deadly beast.
Directed by Michael Anderson, whos other notable credits include “Logan’s Run” and “The Martian Chronicles” (and interestingly, classic war film “The Dam Busters”) and featuring a notable international cast, including Richard Harris, Charlote Rampling, Bo Derek (10) and Robert Caradine ("The Big Red One", "Django Unchained"). "Orca" is a rather silly film, which kind of plays out like an inverse “Moby Dick”, in which the whale is seeking vengeance on the boat captain, rather than the other way round.
Of course that doesn’t mean it isn’t any less enjoyable, which also features an effective soundtrack from veteran composer Ennio Morricone and I would defy anyone not to be disturbed by the scenes of the female whale being harpooned. So if you rather like these post “Jaws” animal disaster films, or maybe you’re just curious to see the sort of movies Richard Harris appeared in before doing Harry Potter, you might want to pick this one up.
Sadly this release from Studio Canal is a vanilla disc, without any special features. A trailer or two at the very least would have been a nice addition (indeed, the previous release from Momentum contained a trailer). But alas, Studio Canal have decided to release it bare bones. So until a special edition comes along, this release will have to suffice.
Buy the UK DVD from

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