Enjoy GRAND Magazine

for grandparents & those who love them


Posted on September 2, 2016 by Christine Crosby in Humpback whales, KidsFirst!, Ranny Levy


Macgillivray Freeman Films Deliver A Completely Spellbinding Film, Now On Blu-Ray

By Ranny Levy – Founder/President KidsFirst!

Humpback Whales incorporates the best that IMAX films have to offer – impossible photography, entertaining music and an instructional narrative that, when combined, creates a positive visceral experience. The musical score is brilliantly constructed to create an emotional connection between viewers and the whales. The song “Best Day of My Life” paired with pristine video footage of effortless swimming, lunging and breaching invokes a jubilant mood.

The haunting, yet mesmerizing songs of the hunchback whales are also highlighted. Narrated by Ewan McGregor, this documentary is educating, motivating and inspiring.  The Special Features are as compelling as the main feature! “The Search” showed the difficulties in finding the humpback whales, leading the production crew to Tonga, Alaska and Hawaii. The photographers, researchers and director’s enthusiasm for an accurate and complete portrayal of the whales is contagious. The only thing missing is the spray of fresh ocean water! KIDS FIRST!

Humpback Whales

HUMPBACKBy Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11


You are sitting on a quiet beach watching the waves roll into shore. Suddenly in the middle of the ocean a giant leaps in the air, does a complete 180 degree twirl and splashes back down into the depths of the ocean. As quickly as the ocean frenzy started, it all stops and goes back to calmness. You have just witnessed a humpback whale.

The narrator for this movie is two-time Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor who I love and adore. His pace and soothing voice set a calm tone for this film. Stephen Judson’s’ writing is easy to understand and memorable.

Of course, this is an awesome movie. It is made by the award-winning documentary filmmakers MacGillivray Freemen Films, the same people (Shaun and Greg Mac Gillivray) who made Everest and National Parks Adventure which are beautifully executed. I love the amazing places they take us because they always make you want to get more involved in the world around you and spend more time outdoors.

You may not have one as a pet because the mothers carry them around for one year and when they are born, they are 14 feet long. When full grown, they are 55 feet long and, at 50 tons, they will not fit into your swimming pool. If you have trouble walking a dog, well the 10,000 mile migration they take every year might be a bit much for you. This film takes us all the way from the tropics to Alaska and Antarctica. We get to see the world through the eyes of humpback whales and marine biologists. The equivalent of 8,000 hamburgers they eat every day might also be a deal breaker. A gold fish makes a better pet for your home.

Humpback Whales is a beautiful film with stunning photography and educational facts about these majestic creatures that I found fascinating. The birds-eye-views are dynamic, the views are something I have never seen before. You watch the humpbacks as they glide through the water. Jumping in the water and playing with them might be an option your brain can consider but it’s not going to happen but, I enjoyed watching the beautiful tropical places that this movie takes us to.

The best scene in this film when a group of whales form a group bubble net. One whale blows bubbles in a spiral motion surrounding the creel then, several whales swim deep into the bottom of the ocean and sing haunting noises while swimming upward. These intelligent creatures of the ocean have learned an easy way to herd fish. They capture them in the bubble net and the whales have a wonderful meal for their whole group.

Listening to all their different songs and how they change them reinforces our grasp of their communication skills and genius. Only the males sing. The movie also has other music with a tropical vibe by Steve Woods and Calum Graham which puts you in the mood to hang out in the ocean with the humpbacks.

Tonga, which is east of Australia, is where whaling was once a prevalent way to make money. They have since stopped and found that tourism brings in more money and saves the whales. In the 1970s, there were only 50 breeding female humpbacks left. Today, the number has grown to the 2,000s. This once-almost-extinct mammal is still only 40% of the population it once was. We are making great progress.

There are three countries where whaling is still allowed today – Japan, Norway and Iceland. Additionally, boating accidents and pollution such as trash, fishing nets and other items lead to their demise.

The earth is 71% waters and oceans. We should all look after the ocean creatures and our planet. This movie reinforces and reminds us that the humpback whales exist and need our help to survive. Along with kidsfirst.org you should add OneWorldOneOcean.com to your must see viewing list.

I recommend this film to kids ages 7 thru 18 who will find it entertaining, educational and beautiful. All 40 minutes will hold your full attention. Adult will love the epic underwater and aerial photography. I give this film 5 out of 5 Humpback Whale Star fish.

HUMPBACKHumpback Whales

By Abigail Zoe L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, 9 years old


The Humpback Whales DVD is amazing, stunningly beautiful and a spectacular educational ocean adventure. For the first time in IMAX, it offers an up-close look into the incredible lives of humpback whales by a team of researchers.

What I particularly like about this show is how much fun information you learn about humpback whales. For instance, did you know that humpback whales can weigh 50 tons, be longer than a 50 foot school bus and have a wing span greater than most Lear jets? Or, that they can dive to the depths of 1,000 feet in the ocean and migrate up to 10,000 miles round-trip every year? And, did you know that male humpback whales sing?

Sadly, we also learn that for hundreds of years and up until the 1970s, humpback whales were killed for their oil. Fortunately, because of the generous support of the Pacific Life Foundation we are learning the importance of the humpback whales and the importance of protecting them.

My favorite thing in this show is learning that the male humpback whales communicate through song. Their songs are known as the “Music of the Deep.” It is also what motivated countries across the world to form a ban to stop the killing of humpback whales in 1978. Up until this time, these marine mammals were becoming extinct.

This film is wonderfully narrated by two-time Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor and produced by Academy Award nominated filmmakers at MacGillivray Freeman Films. The accompanying music is moving and sets the mood perfectly. I also loved seeing the beautiful scenery as we follow a team of researchers journeying into the waters of Alaska, Hawaii and the distant stunning islands of Tonga.

The message of this film is that humpback whales should be protected, respected and asks what can we do to help them survive. So what can we do to help? Glad you asked. The film tells us that this is possible by encouraging ships to slow down or be re-routed and to keep trash out of the ocean. However, there is also a life moral message about how it is our turn to be the guardians of these magnificent creatures.

The Humpback Whales DVD is a wonderful, educational, ocean adventure for both children and adults. Young viewers will enjoy the beautiful scenery and more mature viewers will appreciate the many amazing things there are to learn about humpback whales. The DVD includes a special feature by the film’s director who discusses the making of the movie which you won’t want to miss. I recommend this for ages 5 to 18 and give it five out five stars. I hope you watch this DVD so you too can experience the magnificence of humpback whales.

Humpback Whales

By Miles T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

bout humpback whales. This movie is especially interesting because how it’s told in 40 minutes and tells you everything you need to know about these magnificent creatures. It allows you to look up or ask some friends about humpback whales. Throughout this story, you learn how they move around, all about their calves, the dangers they face and especially, how humans work against and with them at the same time. It talks about how people are the main enemy of the whales because of ocean trash. But it also tells us how we can help them and what you can do. It brings hope and information to everyone who watches this film.

The DVD has an extra scenes feature and boy is it interesting. It talks about how the movie was made, where they went and a lot of other interesting things. I love the way everyone said they had a good time making the film and that they are so happy. It’s also very similar to the actual movie, but they talk to the camera and tell you about themselves.

Ewen McGregor, the narrator, is quite enthusiastic throughout this film. He tells us interesting things about the whales and how they do all these incredible things. You may not think it, but there is amazing animation in this film. They show how the whales eat, and sometimes show the whales moving. It’s really detailed and for a moment made me think it was really the live whales.

My favorite part of this film is when they talk about the migratory paths of the whales. I especially liked learning whales’ fingerprints. This film moral is quite a sad one I would say about not doing things that kill the whales. For example, drive slower and don’t throw trash into the ocean.

If I was a whale lover, which I’m not, I would rate this 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this for ages 5 to 18 and adults may enjoy it too. I think that younger kids may be scared by the death scenes which we unfortunately have to endure. You can find this movie on Blu Ray/DVD.

Humpback Whales – Humpback Songs (HD)

Humpback Whales – The Mouth Of A Humpback Whale (HD)


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Only $ 6.95

A Special eBook for New and Expecting GRANDparents

My Grand Baby ebook cover