In The Heart of the Sea (2015)

1:25 PM

Experience the true encounter that inspired the myth 'Moby Dick'
In the Heart of the Sea is directed by Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Rush) and stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Rush), Tom Holland (The Impossible, Locke) and Cillian Murphy (Inception, The Dark Knight). "A recounting of a New England whaling ship's sinking by a giant whale in 1820, an experience that later inspired the great novel Moby-Dick". In the Heart of the Sea portrays an epic tale but can it be an epic movie? Is it $100 million well spent?

In The Heart of the Sea was never a film that looked particularly good in my opinion - the title 'Moby Dick' can never be used in a high action trailer and taken seriously - I laughed every time the trailer said the tale behind Moby Dick. However, the film does appear to have some things going for it - the cast sounds pretty good on paper and everyone loves a good monster movie - it has actually been a while since we got one based in the water. In The Heart of the Sea should be epic, however, I have to say, that $100 million is wasted on this forgettable, boring movie even if it has splashes of greatness. 

The film began on quite a low note - the narrator tried to make whale oil sound like a magnificent thing - a lot like We Are Your Friends made DJing sound like a magic trick, this film made whale oil sound like it was the most important resource in history. The film also took a while to get to the point - it tried to follow a Life of Pi kind of style but I think the whole author thing could have been left out and we could have just watched the story rather than watching a grown up character re-tell the story to an author. This put the film at quite a slow pace and didn't give me much hope. The flashbacks also did become quite confusing later on the film as it would literally just switch back and forth. 

The performances in the film were pretty 'by the book' - no one was particularly good or bad. Chris Hemsworth however proved that he really doesn't have much diversity as an actor - he literally plays the Thor type character in every movie - The Huntsman, Thor etc. His performance just generally seemed a little bit overacted. Also, the accents for pretty much all of the cast were bad - Hemsworth sounded Australian at times, American at others and also English - he had the same problem in Snow White & The Huntsman so this is clearly something he needs to work on as an actor. Also, I have to say, Tom Holland didn't really give us much hope for him playing SpiderMan - he was great in The Impossible but here he didn't really stand out and didn't really impress at all.

I have to say, the film never really lives up to being epic or even a fun popcorn movie. I think there is a point where a film uses too much CGI and In The Heart of the Sea is an example of this. The whole thing just didn't really feel real - the actors were all clearly on a sound stage in a constructed boat and that is about it. Moby Dick himself wasn't even that fascinating - and he didn't really have an iconic shot that could have made the film visually amazing - The scene in the poster with the whale's tale and the men swimming in front of it wasn't even that effective. I did think that In the Heart of the Sea did have some similarities to Jaws - the moments where Moby Dick is swimming around the boat is quite tense and you do wonder when he is going to make his move. The whale does come across as quite threatening and fearsome which is important - if it didn't, the movie really would have been in serious trouble. I have to also say, after the humans first encounter with whales in general, the whole film you are routing for the whale - I don't know whether this is deliberate but after seeing the human characters rip a whale to shreds (literally), you don't see the humans as the heroes. I also have to say that the film sometimes goes a little too far - it is a PG-13/12A and you see a human forced inside a dead whale to get some oil and cannibalism is strongly hinted at. For a fun monster movie during the festive period, I don't think audiences would want to watch this - certainly after it was marketed as a survival/monster story. The story is pretty interesting but it didn't really wow or amaze me - I couldn't care anymore than before I saw the film for whether the story is real or whether it is just a myth.

The film does have some strong connections to films like Victor Frankenstein with the fact that it just made me feel 'meh' and I honestly didn't really have any motivation to write about the film as it is forgettable and not one that I am going to care about in the future. Don't get me wrong, the film is watchable and does have some good moments but it has to be the biggest failure I have seen for Oscar bait this year - the director, the talent, the plot - it all adds up to awards glory but this has no unique direction, is mediocrely acted and the plot isn't all that interesting.

In The Heart of the Sea is a little less than mediocre - badly accented and the acting isn't much to write home about. The visuals are ok but could have been much more impressive. Moby Dick does have a few similarities to Jaws in terms of tension and suspense but it obviously doesn't have a patch on that classic in general. In The Heart of the Sea is a big misfire but is watchable - watch it with caution.

2.5 STARS
C


What did you think of IN THE HEART OF THE SEA? Do you think Chris Hemsworth needs to become a little more diverse? - COMMENT BELOW

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