Friday, December 4, 2015

In the Heart of the Sea - Movie Review: Don't Let the Trailers Fool You

Can a movie made today about whaling make an audience root
for whalers and not the whales?
In the Heart of the Sea directed by Ron Howard and staring
Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, and Tom Holland.  It is the story of the whaling ship Essex and
how it was attacked by a whale and sunk.
This true life tale is what Herman Melville based Moby Dick off of.
Let’s start with this. The trailers for this movie are
misleading. From what they have shown the movie looks like a jaws remake, but
with a whale. Maybe an adaptation of Moby Dick instead of an event based on
true life.  This is not that story. This
is a survival story, and I hope the marketing for the movie doesn’t turn people
off after they go and see it.
The movie starts out with Herman Melville going to visit the
last surviving member of the Essex, the cabin boy Thomas Nickerson. The older
version of Nickerson is played by Brendan Gleeson who does a great job playing
the troubled soul. Melville has come for the true account of the Essex to
inspire his work of fiction.
After some coaxing Nickerson agrees to recount the events.
We flashback and are introduced to Chris Hemsworth character Owen Chase, first
mate of the Essex.  Make no mistake, this
is Chris Hemsworth’s movie. You are drawn to him in every scene and his
charisma leaps off the screen. It’s not hard to imagine wanting to work for and
to be led by Hemsworth’s character Owen Chase.
This is the second time Hemsworth and Howard have worked together, both
on movies based on true life events. Rush was a good movie as well, and proved
Hemsworth is not just a pretty face who can put on a cape. Hopefully we are
seeing the beginnings of a phenomenal director and actor team.
Howard’s directing seems to be at his best when telling a
true life event. He captures a mid-19th century whaling city
magically. The screen transports you back to that time. The exposition to
inform the audience of how important whale oil is to the culture was expertly
and seamlessly integrated into the movie.
Then we get to the majesty of the sailing and putting to sea. I’m by no
means a nautical expert, but the sea, like outer space, fascinates me. To
explore the unknown and the dangers it entails has always captivated my imagination. 
Shortly after they put to sea we get the obligatory storm
scene. It’s an ok scene, but a few times during the film the action seems a bit
jumbled on the screen and you lose a feel for what’s going on. It’s during this
storm scene and when they encounter the massive whale that didn’t flow together
very well.
There is an action scene expertly done though, and it is the
first time they go on a whale hunt. The excitement leaps off the screen and it
has you on the edge of your seat during the first “Nantucket sleigh ride.”
Howard however did this in a way that you still feel for the
whales. They still are majestic creatures and at no point did I truly want the
whalers to win the day. The scene is shot in such a way that is exciting, but
sad and reverential at the same time. Then we get the disgusting harvest scene,
and not to spoil anything, but it’s not for people with weak stomachs.
Almost the entire second half of the movie is about survival
and man’s own hubris.  They did a good
job of exploring this aspect, but one scene was to on the nose. An exchange
between Chase and Captain Pollard spoon-feeds us the main theme of the movie. I
could have done without this exchange, but it didn’t take too much away from
the rest of the movie.
For a history nut like me I really enjoyed the movie and
being transported back to the 19th century. Some might say this
movie is slow, but I thought the pacing was spot on. Every time the story
needed a shot in the arm we flash back to Melville and Nickerson to break up the
some of the monotony of being stranded at sea.
Like I said before this is a survival story, the trailers
have made it out to look like man vs whale, but it’s a very short aspect of the
movie. This is about the human will to survive, and our overall place in the
world. If this type of historical drama interests you then this movie is well
Worth Seeing. See it in the theaters to get the full effect of everything going
on, but don’t expect a movie full of action.
I enjoyed the movie, but I can see that it probably isn’t for everyone.
I would watch it again, but it not a movie I have to own.  The main themes of the movie do get drilled
into the audience a bit, and I can see that being a complaint of the movie as
well.  One of the very last lines of the
movie made me roll my eyes.
So go see this movie if you like historical movies, and
don’t expect to root for the men to actually kill the whales. You never truly
do.  One last note for all the superhero nerds
and geeks, Tom Holland, who will be playing the new Spiderman does a fine job
in this movie, and I can see him being a good Peter Parker and Spiderman.
That’s it. If you like the video give me a thumbs up. Share
if you think it’s worth sharing. Comment and let me know if you are still
interested in seeing the movie knowing the trailers are somewhat misleading.  Subscribe and or click the links at the end
to hear me babble on some more. Thanks for watching, bye.
My Rating: Worth Seeing (In the theaters if you do or
largest screen available afterword’s) 

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