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MOVIE REVIEW:  BIG MIRACLE

Big Miracle

Director: Ken Kwapis
Screenplay: Jack Amiel & Michael Begler
Cast:

Drew Barrymore as Rachel Kramer
John Krasinski as Adam Carlson
Dermot Mulroney as Colonel Scott Boyer
Kristen Bell as Jill Jerard
Tim Blake Nelson as Pat Lafayette
Vinessa Shaw as Kelly Meyers


TRT: 107 minutes, (PG) for language.

Peacock Feathers: 2 1/2 out of 5

By: Marcus Thorpe

Initial Thought:

Depending on your age you most certainly remember when America decided to all care about whales at the exact same time.  Nightly news ran the updates everyday, school classes were talking about it, and eventually there had to be a movie right?  Well maybe not everything needs to be a movie!  This story is certainly interesting, it tugs at your heart-strings, and if the entire movie was about the whales you could swallow me up and call it a winner.  It’s not all about the whales and I didn’t really care much for the characters or the story lines that happened outside of the water.

Plot:

Three huge grey whales are stuck; they have no chance at survival, trapped by ice in Alaska, unable to swim to warmer waters.  No one seems to know it until a small town television reporter on his way out of the coldest assignment of his career finds them by chance.  What he sees inspires him to shoot a story that will be played on the local news in Alaska for no one to see but a limited audience, boy was he wrong.  Adam’s piece gets picked up by the national news, and it catches the attention of everyone from schools, to activists, to even the President of The United States himself.  There are only a few days to get something started to save these whales and it takes a mountain to move these 3 mountains.  There are more than a few obstacles in the way, first the temperatures; they are brutal, reaching at times 70 below zero.  There are natives who eat whales, and these 3 certainly doomed whales could be dinner in a few days.  But there is hope, and a plan.  A rich oil man will be trying to step in and bring his huge ice crusher of a ship to break a path for the whales to swim to freedom.  Even that won’t be easy; it has to be pulled in by twin choppers of the National Guard.  Activist Rachel Kramer has taken it upon herself to get up close and personal with the whale family named after Flintstone characters, fighting anyone that will stand in her way to get these creatures to freedom.  There is another battle on the way too, covering this now huge story.  Reporters are trying to make their mark, Adam, who broke the story, is trying to get out of Alaska, and this story might be his ticket to bigger and better things.

Acting:

This is a pretty strong cast from a names perspective.  Drew Barrymore is the big name and as an activist she hits all the right notes.  She is feisty, she has a big voice, and she has passion for what she believes in.  John Krasinski is fun, charming, does a nice job playing the part of reporter, and really helps move the story along.  Ted Dansen is a nice addition as the oil man with the bad reputation who is turned by the size and strength of these creatures he knew nothing about.  Kristen Bell is the cute, female reporter in what appears to me a male dominated newsroom in Los Angeles, battling for respect and does a nice job winning you over in her quest to better her career.  So you might be thinking, okay, you said you didn’t like the storylines of any of these actors!  Exactly, the acting is all fine, it is certainly believable, there is nothing wrong with the quality of what you get, but there characters are just not interesting.  The story is the whales, and honestly that is all I really cared about.  I didn’t find the old flame storyline between Krasinski and Barrymore interesting, didn’t like the new relationship brewing between Bell and Kraskinski, didn’t care about the fight of the Eskimos for respect and food, and wasn’t interested in the budding romance between the White House aide and the head of the National Guard.

Direction & Writing:

Nearly 2 hours, and just not enough for me when it comes to the whales.  They, meaning the whales, ARE the story, and instead of just focusing on them, the attention was split.  Did the writer’s and director not think a story about whales was good enough?  And this story?  It is gold and should be able to carry it.  I am telling you, there was enough drama, enough intrigue there to make a solid movie and do it in less time.  There were some victories along the way though, it wasn’t all a mess.  The news clips from the networks that really aired made you flashback, the shots of school children being glued to the television with their families and talk about it in schools was cool and real, the whales were massive and amazing to look at and listen to.  But the script is just a hodgepodge of messy relationships that make you lose interesting.

Overall:

This movie is being sold as a family film, something you can take kids of all ages and really get something out of it.  I think many kids will find it slow and boring.  The cold war issue between letting the Soviets push in to save the day with their huge ship will not hit the mark with them, the Minnesota team that used a small invention to make a big difference in the rescue will get lost in the shuffle.  What will it do?  It will make you laugh some; it might make you cry some too, but even with whales stirring your emotions enough, the minutia of pointless, and countless relationships weighs down what could have been a whale of a tale.

MT

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So what did you think?  Comment on my blog, or give the movie your grade below!

image Posted by  on 02/03 at 02:15 PM

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