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the Movie Club Annals ...



Reviewed by Carl R.




Right off the bat, Orca gives us something not offered by any other movie - the chance to see a then unknown 21 year old Bo Derek get her leg chewed off by an angry, cerebral killer whale.

The viewing of Orca was already a highly appealing prospect for the Movie Club, but such an unprecedented opportunity as described above turned it into a mandatory undertaking.  

 Eye of the Orca

If you've ever seen Jurassic Park III, then you already know how stupid mankind is in comparison to giant, extinct reptiles. But if you've ever seen Orca, then you also know what total morons the dinosaurs are in comparison to killer whales.  
And never mind that insignificant race of homo sapiens who survived and thrived through the millenniums and went on to rule the earth. That was blind luck and pure chance.  The human race continues to exist only due to the benevolence of the consummate sages, the ultimate academicians, the deific, the immaculate, the omnipotent Orcas.

Richard and Bo, When She Was Still a Bi-Pod

Richard Harris, being only a working stiff Shakespearean actor, doesn't have a sufficient amount respect for the Orca's intellect before he sets out to catch one and sell it to Marineland. He thinks that Orcas are just overgrown guppies, idling around at the local mackerel bar waiting for a handout. 
In fact, Richard Harris appears to be on a stupid-fest for the duration of this film. Not only does he severely underestimate the powers of the almighty Orca, but he haphazardly and doggedly torments the only entity in the movie more dangerous, unpredictable and foul-tempered than the Orca - Charlotte Rampling. And, she's armed with a knife (damn, Richard - you got big ones.)



For anyone who doesn't know Charlotte Rampling:
1) You're lucky.
2) She's the ever-miserable fault-finding female curmudgeon who deliberately chooses to spend all her time with ne'er-do-wells not worthy of her company, during which time she endlessly berates her chosen companions for being the miscreants that they are.

Anyway, Richard Harris naively sets up his little fishing expedition, and in no time at all he lands his prize - a live Orca. Problem is, this Orca is in the family way, and her suitor is nearby. But Richard, not being hip to the danger at hand, starts prepping Mrs. Orca for the trip to Marine Land.  

Richard employs some rather unorthodox methods of ensuring his prized Orca gets safely to its destination. He ties a rope around its tail, hauls it onto the deck of his boat, and hangs it upside down fully-exposed in the 99 degree sun from dawn 'til dusk. But, in spite of his great pains to make the Orca comfortable during its journey, it expires after only a single day.   
Now he's really done it.  He's managed to get a male Orca and Charlotte Rampling pissed off at him in the same day. His life isn't worth a plug nickel now. You'd think that would be enough of a day's damage for Richard to cause. But oh no, not by legions. He is yet to enrage the townsfolk, the crew on his boat, Bo Derek, and the wise old Indian from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's nest. And, he hasn't quite got the male Orca and Charlotte Rampling pissed off enough. Miles to go before he sleeps ...

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 The Former Oil Refinery

What comes next is the alpha-male Orca exacting a series of strategic, vindictive acts of revenge toward Richard Harris. The Orca knocks down Richard's apartment, blows up an oil refinery, eats a couple of Richard's friends, destroys a bunch of boats, and burns down half the town in an effort to peer-pressure Richard into fighting him man-to-Orca on the open sea.    
If Richard was smart, he would simply pack his belongings, move a minimum of 30 yards inland, stay away from the water, and be done with the whole affair.  But this is a man without a lot of brains. This is a man without a sense of fear. This is a man who has no qualms about tormenting Charlotte Rampling. So no, he doesn't move 30 yards inland.  Instead, he packs up his boat and heads to the open ocean for a climactic mano-y-la-Orca la battalla. 
And, being a man with who doesn't know the meaning of 'half-measures', Richard decides to take Charlotte Rampling along for the ride. 

Richard, Taking Aim

The Orca makes full use of home field advantage, and proceeds to effortlessly manipulate Richard's boat up to the North Pole. The rationale behind the Orca wanting to fight Richard Harris in an ice field is beyond the limited reasoning powers of human beings, and will not be explained here.
But, the Orca has Richard where he wants him now. He is trapped between the Orca and Charlotte Rampling. While Richard exhibits no signs of fear, given his scant options, he decides to rush the Orca. The Orca is ready for him, though.  He traps Richard on a small ice flow, puts his weight on one edge of it, and slides Richard Harris down his throat like an Irish oyster on the half shell.  End of story.   
At first, the ending was a bit difficult to assimilate on an emotional level. But then we are given the satisfaction of knowing that Charlotte Rampling is left trapped on the North Pole. No boat, no winter clothes, no food, no survival gear - certain death. 
But the truly perceptive viewer is in for a final mind-bender. For one must consider the fact that Charlotte Rampling's body temperature is most assuredly much lower than that of the ice berg that she's trapped on. With this in mind, there is no doubt that the ice berg will melt long before Charlotte ever does, and that she will live to berate the ne'er-do-wells of the world another day.

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