Movie Review: In the Heart of the Sea

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In the Heart of the Sea directed by Ron Howard

I want to lead off by saying I respect Ron Howard for making this film. It had to be tough getting $100 million in financing for what equates to a 19th century picture that isn’t an action adventure or based on a sequel or reboot or remake. It probably helped that he got Thor Chris Hemsworth to star, but still, period pieces are hard to sell.

This is what I think happened. Life of Pi was a huge hit both commercially and critically, so much so, that the financiers probably saw similarities in the plot and figured Ron Howard could pull it off.

I watched it last night. I turned the lights down real low and the volume up.

And almost fell asleep.

I get it. The movie is based on the tale that inspired the greatest American Novel of all time, Moby Dick, a novel that the public of the time rejected and was critically panned and not taken seriously for 60 years. It wasn’t until 30 years after Melville died that his story was held in literary acclaim. Maybe I’ll be wrong, but I don’t think critics will come back and revisit this tale in 70 years and say it was a masterpiece of American film.

The movie is directed well. It was just incredibly slow. The whale itself was a bit unbelievable and frankly didn’t look too great on TV. It was very CGI. Could they have made a giant ass whale robot to jump out of the water and crash into the ship? I think so. Would it have been expensive as shit and threaten stuntmen from Hollywood to Long Beach? Yes, but this is why there is workman’s comp.

Would I have wanted to watched a giant robot whale perform that stunt? Hell yes. My eyes would have believed the danger. I could have seen the scale. The damage on the ship would have been real. How much would it have cost? Ten million bucks? Who cares. Slam that shit and then blow it up! In the movie, the great set piece doesn’t even look convincing. It seems pretty fake.

What else was fake? Chris Hemsworth “starving.” Yes, I know, Thor can’t lose too much weight because Thor needs to wield a hammer every year. Well you know what? It looked pretty lame that everyone else seemed to lose a bunch of weight and Hemsworth looked like he was eating lobster every night. Putting some makeup on his face didn’t do shit.

There are plenty of “whale” money shots that the marketing department hoped to sell tickets. I have no clue who they were trying to market to. Maybe the same people who take Alaskan cruises. They pay to watch whales swim. Fourteen year olds want to see shit blow up and each year, it is harder to fool them.

I don’t know about you, I pay to see real effects happen when I see disaster movies. What else they spent their money on, I have no idea, because the rest of it looked like it could be shot for $10M for TBS. I remember in The Dark Knight when they flipped the semi-truck with the trailer. That shit looked real because it was. Christopher Nolan would have built a whale the size of a semi and had it crash the ship. If he was smart, he would have opened with it. Just 90 minutes of a whale attack. Boom. Entertainment.


I’m going to kick this guy’s ass. What the hell is he talking about? Hemsworth evoked raw masculinity in every frame of the film. Did he not see him hammer in shingles at the very beginning? It was so epic. When he walked down from the ladder, it almost was like a God coming down to earth. He was meant to lead. Then, something Matt didn’t touch on, was the very first scene on the ship when Hemsworth took matters in his own hands and climbed the sails to cut the rope and show the Captain how real sailing was done. He was a majestic hero. Fourteen year old teenagers surely would have been impressed if they only knew about the great stunts he did. Instead, yes, we got a bunch of CGI whales swimming in CGI water, and this wasn’t even Finding Nemo.

OVERALL MOVIE REVIEW: 4/10 Albino Whales


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