We are in the heart of Oscar season, and the newest movie pulling for a statue is Ron Howard’s new movie In the Heart of the Sea starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland (or the new Spider-Man of the Marvel Cinematic Universe), Ben Whishaw, and Benjamin Walker. It is the story of historic novel writer Herman Melville writing Moby Dick or the Whale. Chris Hemsworth stars as Owen Chase, a ship crewman who is trying to work his way into captainship. He is an incredible shipman and whale hunter, but was not born into a family allowing him to become a captain. Benjamin Walker’s character, however, has been born into captainship. The crewman will go on a long trip to hunt whales for oil, and everybody on the ship must prove themselves. During this trip, they come across a whale larger and more powerful than any whale the crewman had ever seen, and after their first encounter with the whale, they must hunt it down and battle it to the death.
Like I said in my previous review for Rush, I like Ron Howard as both a director and an actor. I am a big fan of Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man and Rush, so needless to say, I was very excited for this movie. In the Heart of the Sea was originally scheduled to be released earlier in 2015 during the month of March. It was moved back for a December release to see more Oscar buzz. Just with that move from the studio, I was even more excited for this movie. The studio executives obviously thought highly of it, and after Rush, I was ready for round two of the Ron Howard- Chris Hemsworth duo. Did I get it? To put it simply, no.
Unfortunately, I was very underwhelmed by In the Heart of the Sea. It is not going to be a masterpiece as Ron Howard’s other films have been, and I certainly don’t believe it will catch the Oscar buzz it was going for. As we have come to expect from a Ron Howard movie, this movie has some very good visuals. There are some times where it is a little bit obvious that the setting is green screen or computer generated as compared to a practical set, and I was really let down by that. Other than those few instances however, I thought that the visuals were well done. In the scenes with the whales, I really did feel like the whales were there, and the attention to detail was impressive. I also like the concept of the movie. I have read Moby Dick or the Whale, and the concept of Herman Melville learning about this story to be able to adapt it into a novel was fascinating to me, and those characters were able to keep my attention as well as guide me through the film.
Other than Herman Melville, played by Ben Whishaw, and the older version of the young boy, Tom Nickerson, played by Brendan Gleeson, I really had a difficult time connecting with the characters. It was almost as if the film was begging you to connect with Chris Hemsworth’s Owen Chase, but I just couldn’t. He had a daughter and a wife, and he was the underdog of the story. He was also a good person and excelled at his job. These things are so stereotypical of a hero, but something about the way he was portrayed, the way he was written, and the way the plot was carried out made me unable to connect with him. It wasn’t just Chase I couldn’t connect with. It was just about the entire cast. Each of the crewmen on the ship were so arrogant and thought so highly of themselves that they were difficult to like. Chase is really the only character who we get to see development from in that aspect, and that is something about In the Heart of the Sea that I can appreciate. I thought that Chris Hemsworth gave a solid performance as our main character. His accent faded in and out, but other than that, I thought he did a good job. Tom Holland also gave a serviceable performance. After this movie, I honestly cannot say whether I am more or less excited to see him as Spider-Man. I just can’t tell. Cillian Murphy gave a phenomenal performance in In the Heart of the Sea. He was very good in Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy, and once again he does a very good job in this movie.
I don’t want to take anything away from Ron Howard because he is an inspiration to a young fan of film such as myself, but I don’t think this movie was “milked for everything it had.” I feel like In the Heart of the Sea had so much potential that is really just squandered. There are so many quick cuts in the earlier part of this movie that make for multiple meaningless shots. It’s really unfortunate because this movie had a chance to be powerful and innovative, and it just wasn’t. Halfway through the movie, there is a scene where they first encounter the historic whale, and in that scene, I was hooked. Before that scene, the anticipation of the encounter dragged me to that point due to the excitement I had from the trailer, and after that scene, the plot stopped and held up for a long time. It turned into a survival movie, and I didn’t care if the characters survived or not. Really, I didn’t even want the characters to survive. I didn’t want them to die, but at that point, I really could not have cared less. That isn’t what I wanted from this movie.
Overall, I was severely disappointed with In the Heart of the Sea. I really hope that this review didn’t make it sound horrendous or offensive because it really wasn’t. There is merit in this movie, but, for me, my disappointment really overshadows my positives in the movie. This one isn’t a must-see movie, but if you get a chance to check it out on Redbox maybe, it’s worth a look there. I’m going to give In the Heart of the Sea a 5.8/10.
So did you get a chance to check out In the Heart of the Sea this weekend? What did you think about it? What is your favorite Ron Howard movie directed by Ron Howard? I would probably have to say that my favorite is Apollo 13. Me next review is another Throwback Thursday review, and in honor of a certain new movie coming out this coming weekend, I will be reviewing the very first installment of the franchise, 2007’s Alvin and the Chipmunks. I am insanely excited for Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, so stay tuned for my reviews on those! But really, I’m totally kidding. This week’s Throwback Thursday review will be for the original sci-fi classic masterpiece, one of my favorite movies of all time, 1977’s Star Wars, or now better known as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. I have my ticket to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Thursday night, and I can’t wait for my long wait to finally end. I am psyched for those two movie reviews, so stay tuned for that, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!