1st 2012
Big Miracle, Starring Grey Whales – and a Giveaway!

Posted under misc

Big Miracle - a film about grey whalesOn February 3 here in the United States, the film Big Miracle is opening in screens across the nation. The TV ads will tell you that the stars of the film, which is based on a true story, are Drew Barrymore and Jon Krasinksi (as well as Kristen Bell, Dermot Mulroney, Tim Blake Nelson, and Ted Danson). And I am sure they will be quite enjoyable to watch, but I’ll be watching for the whales.

We all know how charismatic and popular some whales are – especially humpbacks, orcas and just about all dolphins – but grey whales are sort of the second cousin. People know they are there, especially along the west coast of the US where there is a seasonal whale watch industry that’s just as interested in greys as other cetaceans, but how much do people really know in general? A couple of quick facts… There used to be grey whales in the Atlantic but they were hunted to extinction. One of the most critically endangered populations of whales in the world, the Western Pacific greys, are a group numbering around 130. They summer off the the Russian island of Sakhalin, near the northern end of Japan, where oil and gas exploration is strongly impacting their main feeding ground. One whale from that population has proven to be quite a traveler, having been tracked across the Bering Sea and down towards the coast of Oregon. Then there’s the grey whale that mysteriously turned up in the Mediterranean a couple of years ago.

For myself, doing a grey whale excursion off Baja is high on my bucket list. How many places can you go where it is ok, even encouraged, to give whales a great big kiss (just be careful of the cyamids on their skin. What’s a cyamid, you ask? Read further down…) I know people who have had this experience and every one of them loved it. The irony of this encounter is that it takes place in the same lagoons which used to be the scene of great slaughter of grey whales. I think it’s quite remarkable, both the turn around of our treatment of whales in that area, and their response to us given how many died in those lagoons, possibly within the memory of whales still encountered there.

So, I’m kind of excited to see another great whale species get some big screen treatment. Yes, it’s a dramatization. You know going in that it will have a happy ending even if you don’t know the story behind the film, because that’s the vibe that the commercials give. The website for the film has some cool facts about whales, including an interactive graphic which gives you a sense for the size of an average adult.

I am delighted to also be offering a give-away in honor of this film alongside this post. Remember above when I mentioned cyamids? Leave me a comment with their common name, and you’ll be entered into the drawing. Comments left up until Friday, February 3 at 9 PM Eastern are eligible, and you must live in the US. I’ll pick a winner from those comments. Your prize will be a $25 gift card to Fandango, a whale plush, and a Big Miracle t-shirt (total package value: $55.). Good luck and have fun! I’ll see you at the movies!

Important to note: no actual grey whales were used in the creation of the movie. The whales seen are animatronic, or archival footage from the actual rescue were used. More details and a trailer for the movie below. Giveaways and film details are courtesy Big Honcho Media and Universal Pictures – thanks, folks!



Rating:                                    PG

Cast:                                       Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Kristen Bell, Dermot Mulroney, Tim Blake Nelson, Ted Danson

Directed by:                            Ken Kwapis

Screenplay by:                       Jack Amiel & Michael Begler

Produced by:                          Steve Golin, Michael Sugar, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner

Inspired by the true story that captured the hearts of people across the world, the rescue adventure Big Miracle tells the amazing tale of a small town news reporter (John Krasinski) and an animal-loving volunteer (Drew Barrymore) who are joined by rival world superpowers to save a family of majestic gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle.

Local newsman Adam Carlson (Krasinski) can’t wait to escape the northern tip of Alaska for a bigger market. But just when the story of his career breaks, the world comes chasing it, too. With an oil tycoon, heads of state and hungry journalists descending upon the frigid outpost, the one who worries Adam the most is Rachel Kramer (Barrymore). Not only is she an outspoken environmentalist, she’s also his ex-girlfriend.

With time running out, Rachel and Adam must rally an unlikely coalition of Inuit natives, oil companies and Russian and American military to set aside their differences and free the whales. As the world’s attention turns to the top of the globe, saving these endangered animals becomes a shared cause for nations entrenched against one another and leads to a momentary thaw in the Cold War.


16 Responses to “Big Miracle, Starring Grey Whales – and a Giveaway!”

  1. Kim Kelly on 01 Feb 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    Commonly known as whale lice

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  2. Mami2jcn on 01 Feb 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    It is a whale louse.

  3. Wendy R on 01 Feb 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    the common name is whale lice

  4. Mo Brock on 03 Feb 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Thanks for leaving the comment/correction on the grey whale. My next question is whether “grey” or “gray” is the correct spelling, since I saw both out there.

    And please don’t see the movie in a venue that supports dolphin and whale captivity!!

    I’ll jump onto your give-away: A whale Louse is the common name for cyamids.

  5. Jill on 03 Feb 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    Kids are excited to see the movie tonight and possibly catch sight of “whale lice”. We look forward to reporting that it was awesome.

  6. Darcy Fifield on 03 Feb 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    Whale lice. I want to see this movie…I remember when the actual event was taking place.

  7. Becky Krill on 03 Feb 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    Not that it hasn’t already been said, but er… whale lice.

    I am excited to see this movie in large part because whales are fascinating and I love a happy ending, but I’d be lying if I said it had nothing to do with Drew Barrymore ;-).

    Love your blog, Amy!!

    Is it August yet?

  8. Priscilla Ballou on 03 Feb 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    A cyamid is a whale louse, and whale are lousy with ’em! :-)

  9. Lucy Fowler on 03 Feb 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    Whale louse/lice

  10. Deana on 04 Feb 2012 at 2:09 am #

    Whale lice–egads! (Am I too late?)

  11. Deana on 04 Feb 2012 at 2:11 am #

    Hey it’s just after 6 pm here, which would be just after 9pm there. My post is dated 2am tomorrow. HEY!

  12. whalegeek on 04 Feb 2012 at 2:26 am #

    Entries are now closed! Thanks to everyone for commenting with a guess. Winner will be announced in a new post, and contacted by me directly.

  13. whalegeek on 04 Feb 2012 at 2:35 am #

    Happy to help. I don’t think either spelling is right or wrong. Like the color spelling itself, I think they are acceptably interchangeable. There are no venues near me with captive cetaceans so no worries there.

  14. whalegeek on 04 Feb 2012 at 2:35 am #

    Thanks, Becky! And I totally ready for August, myself!

  15. Nerissa on 08 Feb 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    Wonderful post, Amy! I want to take the kids to see this. Can’t wait!
    Love, Nerissa

  16. Caren on 25 Mar 2012 at 5:58 am #

    Whale lice, was interesting to see visual. This movie gave me the love of whales even more and respect. I also want more then anything to see them migrating across the Oregon coast where I live.

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