Whale Rider

( 39 )

Overview

Based on the novel of the same name by Maori writer Witi Ihimaera, Whale Rider is a unique family drama directed Niki Caro. On the eastern coast of New Zealand, the Whangara people believe their ancestor Paikea was saved from drowning by riding home on the back of a whale. The tribal group has since granted leadership positions to the first-born males, believing them to be descendants of Paikea. This tradition is challenged when a young mother dies in childbirth along with her newborn male son. His twin sister ...
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Overview

Based on the novel of the same name by Maori writer Witi Ihimaera, Whale Rider is a unique family drama directed Niki Caro. On the eastern coast of New Zealand, the Whangara people believe their ancestor Paikea was saved from drowning by riding home on the back of a whale. The tribal group has since granted leadership positions to the first-born males, believing them to be descendants of Paikea. This tradition is challenged when a young mother dies in childbirth along with her newborn male son. His twin sister manages to survive and the father Cliff Curtis runs off, overwhelmed with grief. The little girl, Pai Keisha Castle-Hughes, is brought up by stubborn grandfather Koro Rawiri Paratene and gentle grandmother Nanny Vicky Haughton. Koro, the chief of their tribe, is disappointed because Pai's twin brother was supposed to be the next leader. Trying to find the proper successor, he attempts to organize a leadership group amongst the local boys while Pai enlists the help of her has-been uncle Rawiri Grant Roa to teach herself the art of chiefdom. She appears to possess a natural leadership ability and adventurous spirit that draws her to the proliferation of her faltering tribe. Whale Rider premiered at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival and won the World Cinema Audience Award.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Director commentary ; "Te Waka: Building the Canoe" featurette; Behind the scenes of Whale Rider; Deleted scenes; Whale Rider: The Soundtrack Showcase; Art Gallery ; Storyboard gallery; Theatrical trailer and tv spots
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
Add this uplifting triumph to the shortlist of films that arrive from overseas -- in this case, New Zealand -- take audiences by surprise, and upend conventional Hollywood wisdom in the process. The recipient of standing ovations and audience awards on the film festival circuit, Whale Rider met with rapturous critical acclaim, generated glowing word-of-mouth buzz, and became the serious filmgoer’s alternative to the summer blockbusters of 2003. Based on the novel by Witi Ihimaera and inspired by an ancient Maori tribal legend, this empowering and unsentimental story stars Keisha Castle Hughes as Pai, a 12-year-old girl who will discover in the course of the story "who she is and who she is meant to be." Legend has it that her tribe's founder arrived in her fishing village on the back of a whale. Since then, the firstborn male of every generation has taken on the role of leader. Pai's twin brother would have been designated as the next chief, but he died shortly after his birth, as did the twins' mother. Pai's father, an artist, then abandoned her, after which she was raised by a distant, tradition-bound grandfather who refused to allow her to be "taught in the old ways." Suddenly, a school of beached whales offers Pai the opportunity to fulfill her destiny. Though the characters' accents and the wrenching opening scenes may be initially off-putting, this is a whale of a tale that refreshingly finds girl power in the qualities of courage, intelligence, leadership, and respect for one's culture.
All Movie Guide - Andrea LeVasseur
Beautiful underwater photography and an excellent lead performance from Keisha Castle-Hughes make Whale Rider a heartfelt drama with a spiritual core. The ancient tale of Paikea is felt throughout this well-worn story line, refreshing with images of cool blue water and nuanced with intricate tribal carvings and tattoos. Though set in present day, Hughes exudes a timeless quality with both the powers of a mystic and the devotion of a little girl. As her beloved and stern grandfather, Rawiri Paratene is effectively blinded by pride so that he can't see the answer is right in front of him. Their bond is a strong and subtle one as they each possess a strong-willed independence that yearns to be tested. Vicky Haughton holds things together emotionally as the nurturing grandmother, and Grant Roa provides the modern alternative to chiefdom as the lazy Uncle Rawiri, although he too gets a chance at redemption. The colorful costumes, makeup, and skin markings are well rendered, especially when placed in the context of the poignant scene at Pai's cultural program at school. The ethereal soundtrack by Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance sets the otherworldly mood while also making the slow pace more tolerable. It's worth noting that the New Zealand dialect of English is difficult to understand at times, but the images are so powerful that some lost dialogue doesn't detract much from the story.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/1/2011
  • UPC: 031398145769
  • Original Release: 2002
  • Rating:

  • Source: Lions Gate
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Subtitled / Pan & Scan
  • Sound: Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound
  • Time: 1:41:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 9,456

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Keisha Castle-Hughes Pai
Rawiri Paratene Koro
Vicky Haughton Nanny Flowers
Cliff Curtis Porourangi
Grant Roa Uncle Rawiri
Rawinia Clarke Miro
Taungaroa Emile Dog
Tammy Davis Willie
Tahei Simpson Miss Parata
Elizabeth Skeen Rehua
Roi Taimana Rewi
Mana Taumaunu Hemi
Tyronne White Jake
Technical Credits
Niki Caro Director, Screenwriter
John Barnett Producer
Reinhard Brundig Co-producer
Kirsty Cameron Costumes/Costume Designer
David Coulson Editor
Bill Gavin Executive Producer
Lisa Gerrard Score Composer
Frank Hübner Producer
Witi Ihimaera Associate Producer
Linda Goldstein Knowlton Executive Producer
Dave Madigan Sound/Sound Designer
Grant Major Production Designer
Grace Mock Art Director
Leon Narbey Cinematographer
Diana Rowan Casting
Tim Sanders Producer
Liz Tan Asst. Director
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Whale Rider
1. Main Title / Paikea [3:32]
2. Rehua's Death [3:48]
3. Biking Home [3:09]
4. The Concert / Porourangi Returns [4:37]
5. Te Waka [1:16]
6. Our Ancestors [3:12]
7. Privileges and Obligations [4:43]
8. A Leader, a Prophet [3:38]
9. The Journey Away [6:12]
10. Scred School of Learning [7:01]
11. Koro's Rules [3:28]
12. Rawiri and the Taiaha [4:51]
13. Fathers and Sons [2:32]
14. Apologies [3:12]
15. One Final Test [4:26]
16. It's Not for Long [1:51]
17. Pai Calls the Whales [2:19]
18. Paka's Reiputa [2:50]
19. Guest of Honor [3:01]
20. Speech of Love and Respect [6:05]
21. Empty Water [3:28]
22. Paikea's Whale [2:28]
23. Reason to Live [2:56]
24. Whale Rider [7:28]
25. The Wise Leader [2:20]
26. Going Forward... All Together [3:33]
27. End Credits [3:25]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Whale Rider
   Play Movie
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      Theatrical Trailer
      TV Spots
         Art House
         Review
         Mystical
         Empower
         E & R
      Deleted Scenes
         Porourangi's Return - Commentary: On
         Porourangi's Return - Commentary: Off
         Pai Wakes Her Father - Commentary: On
         Pai Wakes Her Father - Commentary: Off
         Septic Tank - Commentary: On
         Septic Tank - Commentary: Off
         Let Them Wait - Commentary: On
         Let Them Wait - Commentary: Off
         Pai Sings - Commentary: On
         Pai Sings - Commentary: Off
         Koro and Flower Argue - Commentary: On
         Koro and Flower Argue - Commentary: Off
         Card Game - Commentary: On
         Card Game - Commentary: On
         Hemi in Trouble - Commentary: On
         Hemi in Trouble - Commentary: Off
      Behind the Scenes of Whale Rider
      Te Waka: Building the Canoe
      Whale Rider: Soundtrack
         Rejection (1:43)
         Biking Home (3:25)
         Suitcase (1:04)
         Disappointed (2:55)
         Empty Water (1:40)
      Art and Photo Gallery
   Set up
      Audio: English 5.1 (Dolby Digital)
      Audio: English 2.0 (Dolby Surround)
      Audio: Audio Commentary With Writer / Director Niki Caro
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Spanish
      Subtitles: None
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 39 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(36)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Unquestionably, the absolute best movie I've ever seen!

    If you love movies about real people in real life, stories that make you laugh and cry, feel the pains, disappointments, and trials of life, and celebrate the power and resilience of the human spirit, this movie is for you! Pai and her oh-so-familiar and disfunctional family made me do all of this many times over in the course of this beautifully raw film. More so than I've ever done before, outside my own personal life experience. What else can I say, but GO SEE IT!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great movie

    This was one of the best movies I have ever seen. My husband and I were excited to see the movie anyways as we were going to New Zealand for our honeymoon. It is a beautiful country and we can understand the importance of the Maori culture. A must see!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great movie! Must see this!

    This is an excellent movie with a wonderful plot and great musical score. Pai, played by Keisha Castle Hughes, is perfectly cast as the main character. She draws you into this film and sometimes breaks your heart. 'Whale Rider' has a real story to tell, without resorting to typical Hollywood staples like violence and sex. This is not a 'kid' movie as the title and plot might suggest-it's a must see for everyone!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Mesmerizing. A Star Turn for the little girl. Loved it and s

    Mesmerizing. A Star Turn for the little girl. Loved it and showed it to several other people who also said they loved it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 15, 2013

    This is a beautiful movie with a message of love, acceptance and

    This is a beautiful movie with a message of love, acceptance and triumphing when the odds are against you. Never underestimate the power you hold within, for everyone has an untapped source deep within their soul.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    middle school viewer!

    i absolutly loved this movie. it was shown to me in social studies class, and i fell in love with it. i reccomend it for anyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Wonderful touching film

    I had heard so much about this movie. And when I finally sat down and watched it I was floored as to how good it was. Surprising as a man and a father of 2 girls I thought it was fantastic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    WOW!

    This movie was more than I expected. 'Pai' is an excellent actress with great potentials.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A beautiful, soul-touching coming-of-age story

    From the beginning, this film resonated on many levels-- from the mysterious whale mythology to familial intergeneration relationships to the role of women in society. The daily struggles that Pai had to endure alternately brought tears to my eyes or had me sobbing. But the joy for living that she exhibited and the tremendous strength of her character made me cheer. I hold this story close to my heart as a tribute to all women who succeed in teaching others how to love.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great movie!!!

    When I first watched this movie I did not want to take my eyes off the screen. I would recommend it for anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Absolutly Fantastic!

    This movie was absolutly wonderful! As a 16 year old I dont always like movies my parents like, but it was actually me who showed it to them, and they fell in love with it too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Touching, intelligent and perfect for everyone

    At a time when family entertainment generally means bland, undemanding comedy, Whale Rider is genuinely for everyone. At its heart is the story of a young girl (a stunning debut performance by Keisha Castle-Hughes) and her troubled times trying to be accepted in her own Maori culture. However, its universal themes of acceptance, compassion and belonging make this accessible and a joy for everyone. A truly spellbinding movie that will bring an innocent happiness to adults and important life-lessons to children, without insulting the intelligence of either.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Wow!

    I absolutely loved this film, i am 16 years old and i was on the verge of tears and laughing histerically throughout the movie. this is an excellent movie which has made it to my top ten movie favorites, this move was genious, pure genious.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Speaks to Your Spirit

    A GREAT (!!!) movie about a young person's struggle for recognition that most anyone can appreciate--but I believe most powerful for girls of 12-16. If Pia's speach near the end of the movie doesn't move you, you are likely unmovable. I recommend this movie to everyone I know. Just plain superb!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Amazing Movie!!!

    This is one of the most amazing films I have ever seen. It grabs hold of your emotions and never lets go! I can see this movie topping my list of favorites for decades. You must see this film, and once you see it you will want to own it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Don't wait to see this film...you will not be disappointed!

    WOW is all I can say about this amazing story. The film highly exceeded my expectations and has not gotten the recognition that it deserves. The journey of Pai will break your heart, make you laugh, and completely move you all at the same time. I recommend this for anyone, it is a must-see!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Empowering and uplifting!

    This movie involved awe inspiring cinematography, and unwavering performances from the cast members, both young and old. It was a truly touching story, based on very old traditions. A production that is a must see for both men and women.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Best International Film Ever

    Whale Rider is empowering, moving and all-around wonderful. Enjoyable for all adult audiences. One of the best movies I've ever seen. I HIGHLY recommend this movie. If you don't see it you'll be missing out BIG TIME.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2003

    For future warrior saints

    A really sweet and wonderful story. For all the young girls who like to run with the boys and for the women they grew up to be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    One of the best films of 2003

    I have recommended this film to all of my friends and family. Unfortunately, it was not in wide release in most cities, and here in Hawaii. Unless you seeked it out, you would have missed it. How sad that in our society films of this nature are not seen more than some of the rubbish that is produced in Hollywood today! I hope that more people will buy the DVD or video upon its release this month. It would make a great gift for any age group.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews