Thursday, 26 January 2012

"Free Willy" part 2: Rocket-powered Willy

Ok, so thanks to a remark made by Miss Pam Raynor I realize that I completely forgot about another extremely unlikely event. At the very end of the movie, in probably the most memorable scene of the movie, Willy is about to be free when the owners of the park he escaped from lay out nets to block his path out to open sea. So, determined to escape, and with the encouragement (and aboriginal magical chanting) of Jesse, Willy is able to jump the wall and escapes the harbor into the open ocean. Thus, he is free. Check out the video below if you forgot (and also enjoy the classic MJ song too!).

Willy jumping the wall!!
(Sorry, I couldn't get the video to link right into this entry)

What Doesn't Make Sense
Ok, so my dad builds boats for a living. I spent many of my summer days with my dad at marinas very similar to the one that Willy escapes from. The wall that Willy jumps over is a marine retaining wall, also called a breakwater. I played on these all the time when I was younger.

The wall itself isn't like a straight up-and-down, vertical barrier, but essentially a hill submerged in the water. The point of it is to act like a beach and break the surf outside of the marina in order to protect the boats inside. The wall pictured below is pretty close to the one in the movie.

Like an iceberg, most of this wall is underwater. In order for the retaining wall to withstand the force of ocean waves, it needs to be firmly planted in the sea floor. You can find breakwaters in virtually every marina that is on a large body of water, especially if it is susceptible to extreme weather (hurricanes, swells, wind storms, etc).

Notice how wide the structure is? And how tall it is? You can see it in the video I posted above, around the :15 mark.

Now, I'm not a zoologist.  But I think it's safe to say that a wall that size would be hard for a whale to jump over, especially because there is neither the space nor depth for Willy to get a good run at it. I'm sure if he had lots of space to do it, he probably could. But this is a harbor. The water isn't that deep, as it's close to shore. 

So, it is not just a lack of logic, but it goes against the law of physics. There is no way that Willy could jump over that wall to escape. Unless he had rockets under his flippers, it's just not possible. Sorry kids, in real life, Willy would totally be re-captured and returned to his shoebox tank.

Once again, my childhood memories are being crushed with every passing minute....

1 comment:

  1. I am sorry for the part I played in crushing your memories. I thank you for acknowledging this incredibly inaccurate moment in the movie.