Plot Summary: An account of the fatal voyage of a New England whaling ship named The Essex that inspired the great American novel Moby Dick.
What I thought…
In the Heart of the Sea is the latest effort to bring to screen one of the most famous novels ever written, but unlike the book the film I’m certain will be forgotten. It’s not a horrible film, just an average one, and considering the material being used should this film only have been par?
Upon the film’s credits coming up I was a bit surprised to see Ron Howard’s name under Director; sure, he has made some questionable films in the past, but usually he delivers the goods as a director, for example the last film of his that I saw was Rush and I thought it was excellent. In the Heart of the Sea came no where near to Rush. It’s not Mr Howard’s weakest film, but by no means one of his best efforts.
Some of the issues I found with this film was firstly the CGI. The CGI is unconvincing, and I found it took me out of the film. Where the set production and costume design attempted to capture the authenticity of early 19th century New England the over-use of CGI to create most of the background and whale scenes came off looking generic. I get that there was a need for CGI in this film, but it should of had its place and been more subtly utilized. I could see there was an attempt to try create something that looked epic, but unfortunately it didn’t feel epic.
Secondly, the editing was poor in many of the action sequences. At times it was just a barrage of short, fast cut scenes that left no room for building any captivating intensity, and so often today film’s do this. Something I saw awhile back on film editing, it was said that the eye is capable of picking up these fast paced edits in action sequences, but the brain doesn’t have time to process what is transpiring, and I find this leaves me uninvested in terms of the severity or consequences of what is transpiring in these scenes.
The performances were decent, but nothing to write home about. Brendan Gleeson probably gave the most heartfelt moment in the entire film towards the end, in which it is revealed as to why his character has been so reluctant to recount the events surrounding The Essex, and it made sense, thankfully it wasn’t an eye-rolling moment; however for the most part I didn’t really feel much for many of these characters, due to under development.
Overall it’s an ok watch with some degree of entertainment, but in terms of quality it doesn’t stand up to it’s source material.
Genre: Adventure, Action, Biography
Starring: Chris Hemsworth (Rush), Benjamin Walker (Flags of Our Fathers), Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later), Brendan Gleeson (The Butcher Boy), Ben Whishaw (I’m Not There), Michelle Fairley (Philomena), Tom Holland (The Impossible), Paul Anderson (The Revenant), Frank Dillane (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), Joseph Mawle (The Hallow).
Director: Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind).