Friday, December 18, 2015
IN THE HEART OF THE SEA
The opening to this film is as inscrutably garbled and badly directed and produced (the CGI on the landscapes are almost like paintings, an intentional nod to the period perhaps, but nonetheless unrealistic for a film that intends its impact to be a result of the realism of its "true" story) as you might expect from the title and the poster, the initial impact of which is wait, what, oh, huh?
The film does pick up after the first few scenes, and has many scenes worth watching, as well as actors (it's a delight to see Cillian Murphy again). Though for me, Chris Hemsworth in the lead may look right for the part and certainly seems committed to the role, it could have been better cast (if you see it, you can come up with your own casting that would have made for a much more engaging movie).
The reason I put "true" in quotes for the story is because though IN THE HEART OF THE SEA is indeed based on some actual facts about the voyage and loss of the Essex, a whaling ship destroyed by a giant whale, that probably inspired or influenced Herman Melville's MOBY DICK, the filmmakers take a lot of liberties with the framing of the plot and its actual details.
All in all, some of the scenes are worth seeing on the big screen for their mastery of lifelike underwater whale activity, and some for the acting (especially Tom Holland, from WOLF HALL), but in the end, it's the first real disappointment I've experienced with a Ron Howard movie, which until now no matter how contrived or even cheesy have always managed to be entertaining and at least in that way, if not many more, satisfying to that movie escape impulse. Not this time.