Review by Steve Duffy –
The appeal for any literary buff to see In the Heart of the Sea is that it’s based on Herman Melville true-life adventure of his 1851 masterpiece Moby Dick.
In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship, Essex, was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The film reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic, and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea, and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.
Told in flashbacks, director Ron Howard does a good job balancing the story as it ebbs and flows back and forth. The main characters of the tale are Benjamin Walker (the Captain) and Chris Hemsworth (first mate), and they both create a lot of tension and rivalry for each other. Ben Whishaw portrays Herman Melville. Unfortunately, for this monstrous tale the characters are too one-dimensional.
The digital whale is one giant monster who won’t stop until everyone on the boat is dead and the best part of the movie.
The visual effects and CGI (a lot) are stunning and worthy to see this film on the big screen, but it is the only reason to see In The Heart Of The Sea. This is Ron Howard’s first adventure into making a 3D film.
This is definitely a nautical tale that you will want to see on the big screen before it swims away.
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action and peril, brief startling violence, and thematic material
Runtime: 2 hr. 1 min.