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

  • Reaction to criminal charges filed against Harvey Weinsten

    Entertainment CTV News
    "I hope this gives hope to victims and survivors everywhere, that we are one step closer to justice. Because one win is a win for all of us." -- Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan, to The Associated Press. Source
  • Weinstein turns himself in holding 2 entertainment biographies

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Harvey Weinstein's choice of reading material for his surrender to New York authorities on Friday drew attention to a pair of entertainment biographies. Weinstein arrived at a New York police precinct holding Richard Schickel's biography of the stage and film director Elia Kazan and Todd Purdum's "Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution. Source
  • Prize-winning children's author Richard Peck dies at 84

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK - Prize-winning children's author Richard Peck, who drew upon his Illinois roots for such favourites as "A Long Way from Chicago" and "A Year Down Yonder," has died. Peck died on Wednesday at his home in New York City at age 84. Source
  • At 79, Ian McKellen says he has no plans to give up acting

    Entertainment CTV News
    LONDON -- Sir Ian McKellen says his upcoming role as King Lear in an upcoming London production may be his last major Shakespeare role but he has no plans on retiring, as long as his knees and memory hold out. Source
  • Seth Rogen in talks to replace Morgan Freeman as voice of Vancouver transit

    Entertainment CTV News
    Vancouver's transit system has announced plans to pull a public announcement campaign that used Morgan Freeman's voice following allegations of sexual assault which surfaced Thursday. But Vancouverites won't be left in the lurch: looks like homegrown Hollywood star Seth Rogen could fill the silence. Source
  • Rose McGowan on Weinstein: 'One win is a win for all of us'

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- She was one of the earliest Harvey Weinstein accusers, and she thought the mogul might never face justice in a court of law. Now, actress Rose McGowan, who has accused Weinstein of raping her 20 years ago, is gratified but "still in shock" at the news that he is expected to surrender on Friday and finally face charges of sexual assault, in one of the scores of cases in which he's accused. Source
  • Harvey Weinstein arrives at police station to surrender in assault probe

    Entertainment CTV News
    Harvey Weinstein has arrived at a police station in New York where he is expected to surrender himself to face criminal charges in a sexual assault probe. Weinstein stepped from a black SUV and walked slowly into a Manhattan police station before a crowd of news cameras. Source
  • Harvey Weinstein arrested on rape and other charges

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Police say Harvey Weinstein has been arrested on rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct charges for encounters with two women. The New York Police Department disclosed the charges Friday after the movie mogul turned himself in. Source
  • Weinstein arraigned on rape, criminal sex act charges

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Flinching when he heard himself described as a man who used power to prey on women, Harvey Weinstein was arraigned Friday on charges of rape and a criminal sex act in the first criminal prosecution to result from the wave of allegations against him that sparked a national reckoning over sexual misconduct. Source
  • Weinstein faces charges in prosecution amid #MeToo

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Flinching when he heard himself described as a man who used power to prey on women, Harvey Weinstein was arraigned Friday on charges of rape and a criminal sex act in the first criminal prosecution to result from the wave of allegations against him that sparked a national reckoning over sexual misconduct. Source