Review: 'In the Heart of the Sea' beautifully filmed but falls flat


IN THE HEART OF THE SEA: 3 STARS

"In the Heart of the Sea" stars the man who plays Thor, another guy who was Batman villain Scarecrow and 'Mad-Eye' Moody from the "Harry Potter" series but it’s not aimed at the fantasy crowd.

See Full Article

Based on the best-selling Nathaniel Philbrick novel of the same name, it’s a retelling of the true events that inspired one of the literature’s greatest novels, Moby Dick.

The story begins with Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) offering inn owner Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) three months room and board for one night of conversation about a terrible whaling disaster.

As a young man Nickerson’s first seafaring job saw him sail out of Nantucket aboard the Essex. Crewed by Captain George Pollard, Jr. (Benjamin Walker), first officer Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) and second officer Matthew Joy (Cillian Murphy), their mission is to reach the Pacific Ocean and harvest 2000 barrels of whale oil.

Their journey leads them to 1000 leagues along the equator, a place where, they are warned, "whales go to hide from men."

Heart of the Sea film review

There are whales aplenty, but soon the tables are turned and the hunters become the hunted as a "demon whale, 100 feet long, white as alabaster," attacks the Essex, destroying the ship leaving the crew adrift in small whaleboats.

In the Heart of the Sea film review

The ship gone, the remaining crew attempt to sail to South America battling not only repeated assaults from the whale, but also starvation and dehydration. At sea for three months the men were pushed to the edge of sanity as they took drastic steps to survive.

"In the Heart of the Sea" feels like an old-fashioned whale-of-a-tale. Big strapping men battle nature, drip testosterone, reinvent sushi (I guess you’ll eat almost anything when you’re adrift) and drink grog. The only thing missing is Errol Flynn.

Director Ron Howard does a good job of respecting the power of the sea, effectively showcasing the brutal payback from Mother Nature when the Essex sail too close to a storm. It’s too bad then, later, when the whale is using the Essex as a ping-pong ball, the movie isn’t nearly as intense or exciting.

In the Heart of the Sea review

By that point it’s a horror movie with the whale as Freddie Kruger and the crew as scared-but-determined teens trying to stay alive. The whale is menacing due to its size but it’s barely a character, more a malevolent force but Jason Voorhees had more personality than this leviathan.

At the same time it’s hard to view the sailors as victims when they have been spearing the whales and scooping oil from inside the beast’s heads. So it feels like a lose-lose situation where you don’t care much about the creature or the sailors.

"In the Heart of the Sea" is a handsomely mounted film, just not an exciting one.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Latin Grammy nominations postponed over natural disasters

    Entertainment CTV News
    MIAMI -- Nominations for the Latin Grammy Awards have been postponed because of Tuesday's earthquake in Mexico and the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Latin Recording Academy President Gabriel Abaroa Jr. said in a statement Tuesday that the delay comes "as an outgrowth of the terrible and tragic recent natural disasters. Source
  • Ottawa punk band in Beyoncé Lemonade mix-up dropped by label amid sex assault allegations

    Entertainment CBC News
    An Ottawa punk band that rose briefly to fame this week after a German vinyl pressing plant mistakenly put its songs on copies of Beyoncé's Lemonade album has been dropped from its own label over allegations of sexual assault. Source
  • ‘This is my bucket list’: Gene Simmons planning to hand-deliver The Vault to fans [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Gene Simmons is unlocking The Vault. The KISS singer-bassist, 68, says he’s just trying to say thanks to his fans – albeit in a rather extravagant way – with Gene Simmons: The Vault Experience, a limited edition, 10-CD, 167-song set of previously unreleased songs that he’s written and recorded over the last 50 years. Source
  • Punk singer in Beyonce album mix-up has been 'laughing for three days straight'

    Entertainment CTV News
    Gretchen Steel and Beyonce Knowles don’t have much in common. For one, Beyonce sings chart-topping pop and sultry R&B, while Steel is the lead singer of ZEX, an Ottawa-based punk band that’s never written a love song. Source
  • B.C. filmmakers face backlash over gender, race-based ticket prices

    Entertainment CTV News
    VICTORIA - The filmmakers behind a comedic web series in British Columbia are facing fierce backlash after they tried to tackle economic disparity with ticket prices. Organizers for the Victoria premier of "Building the Room" used "justice pricing" when tickets went on sale last week, with white males being charged $20, while others paid $10. Source
  • 'No one is perfect'; Ariel Winter rants on wardrobe criticism [Photos] [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Actress Ariel Winter has implored critics to stop attacking her for her everyday wardrobe choices, insisting “no one is perfect”. The teenage Modern Family star is frequently targetted online for her provocative dress sense, and Ariel has made it clear time and time again she will not bow to pressure to cover up her curvy figure just because others don’t think her outfits are age-appropriate. Source
  • ‘This is my bucket list’: Gene Simmons planning to hand-deliver The Vault to fans

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Gene Simmons is unlocking The Vault. The KISS singer-bassist, 68, says he’s just trying to say thanks to his fans – albeit in a rather extravagant way – with Gene Simmons: The Vault Experience, a limited edition, 10-CD, 167-song set of previously unreleased songs that he’s written and recorded over the last 50 years. Source
  • Yellowknifer finds her cool in Brrrlesque, takes to stage in Australia

    Entertainment CBC News
    Dana Bowen never imagined herself on stage, adorned in a white corset, stockings, and a 1920s-style headband, strip-teasing for an audience. A self-described "shy person," Bowen said she has "always shied away from the spotlight." Source
  • Aaron Paul and wife expecting first child

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Actor Aaron Paul and his wife Lauren Parsekian are expecting their first child together. The Breaking Bad star made the exciting announcement on his Instagram account on Tuesday by sharing a photo of his spouse showing off her baby belly. Source
  • Ryan Phillippe denies he threw girlfriend down a flight of stairs

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Ryan Phillippe’s spokesperson is denying accusations he physically abused his ex-girlfriend. Elsie Hewitt filed a lawsuit against the actor on Monday, claiming he assaulted her over the summer. According to TMZ, Hewitt claims she went to Ryan’s house in July to retrieve her items following their breakup and found the actor extremely intoxicated. Source