A delayed release date right in the middle of Oscar season. Chris Hemsworth battling a gigantic, angry whale. The story behind Moby Dick. This movie has to be great right? Uhh…
In the Heart of the Sea is about a whaling ship called the Essex, whose first mate is Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth). While out at sea whaling, they come across a gigantic sperm whale who is not very happy that they are there. He (or she I guess?) attacks and destroys the ship stranding Chase and the rest of the crew. It is the story of how they survive. It is also what inspired the great American epic, Moby Dick.
Man did this movie let me down. It looked so good from the trailers and I was really looking forward to it. But in reality it ends up being just flat out boring. Let me start with some things I liked. I really enjoyed the first third of this movie. When they first go out to sea, they show a lot of sailing stuff, which I liked because I love to sail. So it was cool to see the way these big ships worked. Then they show them doing some whaling, which is interesting. All of the acting is good, particularly Hemsworth and Cillian Murphy, who plays another crew member. The CGI was really good for the most part and the battle against whale looks great and is very entertaining.
The problems start with the fact that the battle only lasts about 5 minutes. That’s the entire screen time of the whale. The things you see in the trailer are pretty much the whole fight. So that was kind of disappointing. After the attack, the movie slows way down and the part where they are shipwrecked and stranded was just boring. It’s extremely hard to make something like that entertaining. Cast Away is obviously an anomaly in that regard. With the exception of Hemsworth’s character, there is no development for any of the others at all. This lessens the impact of the deaths when they occur (not really a spoiler. Obviously people die in a movie like this). You don’t even know who is dying or why you should care. The movie also has an awkward pace. It is basically a story being told as a flashback during a conversation between one of the surviving crew members and Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick. But the movie keeps reverting back to the conversation which interrupts the flow of the story. It was necessary at times but just screwed with the pace a lot. I would rather have had them just bookend the movie with those scenes, rather than throwing them in the middle of the movie.
Overall, In the Heart of the Sea is disappointing. The first 40 minutes or so are really good and the whaling scenes and the fight are cool. But the rest of the movie just isn’t interesting and drags on a ton at times. I don’t think its something you need to rush out and see. Go see the excellent Creed instead, or save the money to see Star Wars six times next weekend. I don’t think I can get In the Heart of the Sea to a 3; I’ll give it a 2.75/5.
Have you seen this movie yet? Were you looking forward to it? Let me know in the comments.