Director Ron Howard’s (Apollo 13 and Rush) film is old-fashioned class, but lacks the narrative sea depth and gets boggled down with bloated visuals.
In the Heart of the Sea shares thoughtful storytelling throughout; unfortunately it can’t match its dull visual panache. This supposed to-be epic sweep only makes a little ripple in the sea. Actor Chris Hemsworth and his crew take on a great beast of the ocean. It’s the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was destroyed by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and with the will for vengeance.
This real-life maritime disaster would inspire Novelist Herman Melville's (Ben Whishaw) Moby-Dick. You’ve heard this old tale many times before, now director Ron Howard brings that fascinating tale to the 21st century. Saddly, this epic tale to the big screen suffers from a shaky direction and bloated CGI even with Howard's heart put into it.
It’s not Howard’s strongest direction in his career and that’s disappointing. So if I had to recommend this man vs. whale tale to someone else, I would recommend reading the grand novel or watching the original film from 1956 (Moby Dick). In the Heart of the Sea aims high and tires so damn hard, but comes up short in the end.
In the Heart of the Sea is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned). For intense sequences of action and peril, brief startling violence, and thematic material.
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