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(2012), PG [PG*] (100.5min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
July 17, 2012
July 18, 2012

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2012), PG [PG*] ... inspired by a true story

Production (US): Universal Studios presents an Anonymous Content / Working Title production
Distribution (US): Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Director(s): Ken Kwapis
Producer(s): Steve Golin, Michael Sugar, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Liza Chasin, Debra Hayward, Stuart Besser, Paul Green
Screenplay by: Jack Amiel, Michael Begler
Based on: the book Freeing the Whales by Thomas Rose
Cinematography/Camera: John Bailey
Music: Cliff Eidelman
Film Editing: Cara Silverman
Casting: Mary Gail Artz, Shani Ginsberg
Production Design: Nelson Coates
Viewed on Universal Studios Home Entertainment DVD

A curiosity that started out as three California Gray Whales, an adult male and female and a young male, poking their noses in the air through a hole in the ice covering the costal waters of the Beaufort Sea brought the small village of Point Barrow, Alaska, 300 miles North of the Arctic Circle, into world-wide attention beginning October, 1988. It isn't really that hard to explain.

Though Point Barrow is thoroughly "modern" complete with cars, restaurants and news cameras, it is deeply steeped in the tradition of the native Inupiat Eskimos. Malik (John Pingayak) in particular.

One day as Adam Carlson (John Krasinski) of Channel 2 News keeps a promise to Nathan (Ahmaogak Sweeney), a young Inupiat Eskimo boy, to film his cousin doing some rather bland snow mobile tricks, Adam notices something which will soon capture the world. If it were not for the tireless and insufferable efforts of Greenpeace pest Rachel Kramer (Drew Barrymore), ex-girlfriend of Adam, October 12, 1988 would have been just another day. But because of Adam and Rachel the world soon becomes focused on Point Barrow, Alaska.

Through the hole in the six inch thick ice the three California Gray Whales nicknamed "Fred, Wilma and Bamm-Bamm™" surface for their lives. As air-breathers California Grays must surface regularly to get a breath of air to survive. The small hole in the ice is five ice-covered miles away from the open sea. The whales could never make it that far without air and would drown if they tried. The temperature is plummeting and the hole in the ice keeps getting smaller. Estimates are two or three days and the hole will ice over. The whale bodies are too soft to punch through six inches of ice. The mother whale, Wilma, the father whale, Fred and the baby whale Bamm-Bamm are doomed unless the locals can keep the hole in the ice open. But for how long? Not likely long enough. Also, a large underwater wall of ice from the surface ice to the bottom of the sea known as a pressure ridge has formed so the whales simply cannot get to open sea beyond the ice shelf.

Since this film is inspired by a true story let us assume the accountings are accurate: accountings such as the locals cutting holes in the ice every 60 feet for the five mile stretch to the ice wall; such as the Russian Navy coming with an ice breaker ship to punch a hole in the ice wall; such as the entrepreneurs coming along with Hootkin 450 de-icers to keep the hole in the ice from freezing over. But for how long can they keep it up these rescue efforts? How long can the whales survive at the one hole? For two months? Ain't gonna happen.

This film earned a final score of 74 which places it squarely within the scoring range earned by PG-rated films in the comparative baseline database (86 to 68 out of 100). Indeed the final score of 74 placed it close to dead-center of that scoring range.

According to the MPAA this film is rated PG solely because of language. The CAP Analysis Model agrees ... with a few reservations as explained in the individual content investigation area discussions below.


Following are brief discussions of the content per individual content investigation area. As always the Findings section of this report, the heart of the CAP Analysis Model, is the best source for discovering the full accounting of the content of this film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 97 out of 100
The only matter of content applicable to this content investigation area is the instance of peril aboard a helicopter.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 17 out of 100
One of the most useful features of the CAP Analysis Model is its ability to identify concentrations of assaults on morality and wholesome ethics. Viewing the CAP thermometers clearly reveals a sharp drop in content scoring in this investigation area when compared to the five other thermometers. The film earned a R-equivalent score of 17 out of 100 in this content investigation area, mostly due to the use of profanity. [Col. 3:8, Eph. 4:29] Other matters of cinematic demonstration applicable to this investigation area include behaviors such as name-calling, conceit, an hateful expression, an adult tantrum and extortion to force a favorable decision.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 97 out of 100
The only matter of content applicable to this investigation area is the innuendo regarding male anatomy in a feeble attempt at humor. [Eph. 5:4]

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 67 out of 100
However, some serious content is noted by this investigation area. Alcohol. Drinking. Drunkenness. All are there. Such behavior demonstrations are presented to a weaker extent than the same content in other more severely rated films but are there nonetheless. The American College of Physicians ... and God ... advise against exposing the impressionable, especially youth, to such chosen behaviors, even in and as entertainment because of the influence of portraying such negative behavioral dimensions.

In 2002 the American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The report entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted in their entertainment diets. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions.

    Though not present in this film, there is nothing to say that viewing smoking or possession/consumption of illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs in and as entertainment do not carry the same danger of influence as viewing drinking and drunkenness. Actually, the same matter of behavior implantation / modification applies to any behavior demonstrated in and as entertainment, including good behavior.

    The ACP researchers selected R-rated movies because they assumed R-rated movies typically present more drinking than movies of other classifications. This assumption is no longer true. The researchers were not aware of the matter of R-13 proven by this ministry in 2000 with which Harvard University researchers agreed four years later. The bottom line? Regardless of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating the focus is that the emboldening influence of adolescent exposure to drinking and drunkenness in and as entertainment is undeniable. [Eph. 5:18]

    Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And emboldening children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2.

    Our studies provide an additional parameter for the ACP study. While booze, drinking and smoking, indeed any aberrant behavior or choice demonstrated in and as entertainment indeed embolden defiance of rule and law and take their toll on wholesome decision-making skills of youth, our studies indicate the stronger influence is rather the attitude portrayed by and in association with the drinking (and smoking and any other behavioral dimension). PG-13 and R-rated films and sometimes less severe rated films are typically heavy with attitude. Our report on this, ATTITUDE: In Perspective -- Investigation Area Scoring and Trend in CAP Entertainment Industry Investigations, Special Report-001 may provide more understanding of the point by revealing that the strongest proselytizing element in modern entertainment is not sex, drugs, alcohol, or violence, etc. but is the attitude; the attitude of freedom from authority, freedom from accountability and freedom from consequences; the "it ain't good enough, no matter what 'it' is" attitude. It is indeed such attitude that emboldens youth to defy rule and law. Note also that attitude (impudence, arrogance, a proud look, "haughty eyes") is the first in the list of seven behaviors our Lord hates. [Prov. 6:16 - 19]

    Offense to God (O) - 67 out of 100
    God's name is abused nine times but each time is without the four letter expletive. I wonder whom it was who decided it is not okay to place in and as entertainment abuse of His name with the four letter expletive but is okay to do so without it? It wasn't God. With or without the four letter word, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion and in praise and prayer is sinful. God will not hold guiltless anyone who uses His name in any other way. [Deut. 5:11]

    While abuse of His name is serious enough, there are no examples of witchcraft, occultism, sorcery, Satanism or any of the like. Malik of the Inupiat Eskimos utters a couple prayers but there is no content available to specify that he was or was not praying to God. I suspect his prayers were to a false god or gods but there is no cinematic evidence to prove so. By Internet search the Inupiats attend an Assembly of God church, making them Christians.

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
    There are no portrayals of murder or suicide in the entire 100.5 minutes of the program.



    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off [rid yourself of] all these; anger, wrath, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], blasphemy [blasphemia: impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty], filthy communication [aischrologia:foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth.
  • Eph. 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.]
  • 1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
  • Prov. 6:16 - 19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look [the NIV says "haughty eyes."], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. ["Proud look" Proud: ruwm {room} - to rise, rise up, be set on high, be lofty, be exalted. Look: ahyin {ah-yin} - eye, sight, conceit, pleased (with self).]
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as in slang or profanity. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion and in praise and prayer is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title even if as a euphemism. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" or "It's just words" or "I was acting" will not work with Him. Nor will "Everybody says that" excuse the sin of using His name in vain. If everyone on the planet who has ever drawn a breath used His name in vain, it would still be a sin to do so. If no one ever did, it would still be a sin to do so. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not.]

    Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry

  • Jer. 37:9 - 10 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not! Even if you were to defeat the entire Babylonian army that is attacking you and only wounded men were left in their tents, they would come out and burn this city down. [The "destroyers form within" do not have to be army warriors. They can be the ones who destroy through corruption of moral standards as well, such as filmmakers who perpetuate desensitization against wholesome standards. They aren't going anywhere, folks. Not until Jesus comes again.]
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend what is vile, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it.]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize, to entice to sin. And remember, mom/dad, "little ones" is mikros, meaning less by birth; younger. All of your children are younger than you and less by birth than you. So, "little ones" includes at-home teens.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Big Miracle (2012) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 97 out of 100
  • mid-air peril

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 17 out of 100
  • 16 uses of profanity plus one abbreviated plus one used before a child
  • risking human lives to save whales
  • name-calling
  • conceit
  • "I hate her so much"
  • scalping (e.g., charging $20 - $40 for a sheet of cardboard)
  • lie
  • adult tantrum
  • extortion

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 97 out of 100
  • innuendo re: male anatomy

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 67 out of 100
  • dinner wine
  • drinking, twice
  • drunkenness, once
  • toast with alcohol

    Offense to God (O) - 67 out of 100
  • 9 abuses of God's name

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    Interested parties, send us your proposal. Your link will appear on each new analysis report prepared during the desired period and, once placed on a page, will not be removed.

    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

    For G rated Films with
    G equivalence: G
    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
    For PG rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-PG
    PG equivalence: PG
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
    R equivalence: R-PG
    For PG-13 rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-13
    PG equivalence: PG(13)
    PG-13 equivalence: PG-13
    R equivalence: R-13
    For R rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-R
    PG equivalence: PG-R
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-R
    R equivalence: R
    For NR rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-NR
    PG equivalence: PG-NR
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-NR
    R equivalence: R-NR
    ** G, PG, PG-13 and R are registered trademarks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

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