IN THE HEART OF THE SEA [2015]

inTheHeartOfTheSea_headerImage

Directed by Ron Howard, Written by Charles Leavitt (screenplay), Nathaniel Philbrick (book)   

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Benjamin Walker, Ben Whishaw


I’m not quite sure what to make of Ron Howard’s latest effort. It tried so hard to be a big emotional tear-jerker but for me, it failed almost completely. It also has an uneven flow, and while I am sure this is a problem for most book adaptations, this lack of flow or rhythm is due to the fact that the whole movie feels pieced together, skipping over anything like character or interesting banter, among other things. It simply jumps from one part to the next with little to connect them. It is very episodic and doesn’t make for the most chronologically cohesive film.

First though let us talk about what the whales looked like. Or more specifically, how well the CGI was used to build them. They looked incredible. In fact, they looked so good that I think the filmmakers spent their entire budget on them, as there are some green screen scenes that look pretty… rushed. This movie’s biggest problem though is the lack of anything interesting happening other than whale attacks.

Apart from these devastating clashes, there just isn’t enough happening to accompany the action. There is no conflict between characters save for one or two very brief moments, and it is hard to feel for characters if they suffer as we simply don’t get to know them at all. Even Hemworth’s main character isn’t a man we get to know well; all we learn is that he has a family and his heritage isn’t upper-class. That about covers it.

in the heart of the sea

Sure, it looks great seeing this giant whale loom over the ship, its tail the same length of the boat. And it is great fun watching the whale essentially becoming a villain, following the boat wherever she goes. This is something that should have drawn dread a la Jaws but it somehow didn’t at all; these moments are actually damned exciting, and for the most part tense and very well shot (apart from the occasional Hollywood technique of stuffing as many different angles into one scene as possible). Again, the reason it doesn’t cause dread is because we don’t know these people at all. Even though it is total carnage these scenes are a ton of fun and the only real reason to see the movie. Is that the reaction they were going for?

The story is told by a survivor, to a man who has heard rumours of the story and is desperate to hear if any of it is true, and if so, to write a great novel. This device of storytelling is done right for the most part, as despite the story being told by a survivor, we are never sure of what will happen next. These scenes also give the character telling the story a personality.

I shouldn’t be disappointed, but I am. There is so much missing; the characters’ personalities might as well have been AI-controlled allies while playing Call of Duty, the script isn’t much more than shouting naval commands over the sound of splashing water, and Chris Hemsworth is so hilariously miscast it threw me off for the first thirty minutes of three beerthe movie. Blackhat was one thing, but this? I found it amusing that the photographers deliberately avoided showing his body, as he’d have looked miraculously healthy compared to his friends. We can’t have Thor going on a diet, now can we? In The Heart of The Sea wants to be a heavy drama, but it is closer to a fun filled action flick. Bring the popcorn.

Half a six-pack.

3/6

28 Comments on “IN THE HEART OF THE SEA [2015]

    • yeah it was pretty flat. The whale carnage was cool though, at least there was that. And it didn’t feel overlong either. In fact it coulda benefited from a bit of extra time devoted to character development so we gave a shit about the sailors

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  1. Goddamn it. Well, I am looking forward to seeing this regardless. I typically trust you buddy so I perhaps should reign in my expectations a little bit. That has occasionally worked for me in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We disagree sometimes mate (which would be a weird thing if we never did don’t ya reckon!) so you never know. Hopefully you absolutely love the movie and mercilessly tear my post to pieces 😛 hehe

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  2. I’ve been a bit wary of this for some reason. I like Ron Howard (I’m one of those guys who enjoyed The Da Vinci Code), but I’m not too excited about this one. Sounds like you’ve vindicated my attitude! 😉 Great work mate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Jordan, I haven’t heard/read a positive review about this one. But yeah, it seems that the main issue w/ the film is the script and pacing. That said, I’m still not sold on Hemsworth’s acting ability, esp in the lead role. He’s so unconvincing in Black Hat and he’s just ok in RUSH but he’s outshined by Daniel Bruhl. It seems that he can’t open a movie when he’s not playing Thor, but the supporting cast is excellent here (esp Cillian Murphy) so I definitely will rent this.

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    • I’m with you on Hemsworth. I’m convinced its just his looks that gets him parts, like Jai Courtney. Funnily enough I think both of those guys were originally born in Ausland haha!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I think Hemsworth is still a bit better than Courtney. Ahah yeah both are from Aussie, but I won’t hold it against them, he..he.. there are still a ton more great actors from Down Under 😀

        P.S. I’m off on holiday Jordan, have a great Christmas!

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  4. I cant say I was all that excited about this movie in the first place and your review certainly doesnt make make want to see it anymore.
    Great post, as always buddy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You and I may be the only two people who have seen this movie. When I watched this back in theaters in December on opening weekend, the auditorium was nearly completely empty.

    Nice review man. I found this to be extremely messy and didn’t quite understand what emotional message Ron Howard was trying to display, whether it be man vs. nature, the rivalry between the captain and the first mate, and the humanity of the whale. The visuals looked good but they don’t dave this dud.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed and agreed! And I also saw this close to release date and was also alone, I think there was one old couple up the back but that was it. And yeah, it is hard to get across any sort of emotional message when we barely get to know the characters. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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