In the Heart of the Sea (2015) Poster

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Lightweight whale
petra_ste12 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Ron Howard's Moby Dick would be a funny thing indeed - like Michael Bay's Crime and Punishment. Howard has landed a few solid genre films (Ransom, Apollo 13...), but he is essentially a vanilla director making vanilla movies - a bad match for Melville's metaphysical masterpiece.

Thankfully, the connection with Moby Dick is a lot feebler; In the Heart of the Sea is an adaptation of Nathaniel Philbrick's excellent novel, based on a true event - the sinking of the ship Essex by a whale - which inspired Melville's classic.

The movie commits three major narrative blunders.

First, the usual, overwrought framing device, with survivor Nickerson (Gleeson) recounting the disaster and the crew's following ordeal to Melville (Whishaw). Not only the meeting never happened (Nickerson wrote down his memoirs for a minor writer, who never used them); the movie keeps cutting to Nickerson and Melville, dissipating any tension and momentum the survivors' struggle may gather. Imagine a version of Cast Away where, every ten minutes on the island, we cut to a scene of Tom Hanks interviewed by a journalist after returning home.

Second problem: characters. The most interesting element of Philbrick's novel is how Captain Pollard (here played by Benjamin Walker), decent but irresolute, is the more sympathetic character, while first mate Chase (Chris Hemsworth), harsh but determined, is the more charismatic.

As is typical of blockbusters, the movie chooses a single protagonist (Chase/Hemsworth) and whitewashes him to an absurd extent. He was supposed to become Captain, but was robbed of his rank! (He wasn't - Pollard was the Essex' previous first mate). Chase was popular among the crew! (He wasn't, many feared and disliked him). And so on. Even Walker's supercilious Pollard eventually bows to Thor's superiority. A pity, because Chase would have been FAR more intriguing with his darker edges.

Third problem: Howard's penchant for melodrama rears its ugly head. Director and scriptwriters felt the need to spice up this compelling story with inventions (like the whale chasing the crew for weeks after the attack, or a one-harmed sailor warning them about the beast), while omitting details with the flavor of real life (a sailor setting an island on fire out of sheer idiocy, a hunting party aborted after a terrible roar in a jaguar-infested jungle) and crucial mistakes: Pollard wanted to sail to the Society Islands after the disaster, which would probably have saved many lives, but was irresolute enough to be persuaded by his officers to head to South America instead.

The result is watchable, but lightweight - the one adjective one would NEVER use for the literary classic the movie so portentously tries to evoke.

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Memory of waves and whales
quincytheodore7 December 2015
It is said that we understand more about space than our own sea, although one thing both realms have in common is the propensity to convey epic journeys to silver screen. There's an inherent romantic feel to maritime life, even as a tragic showing like Life of Pi or Titanic. This is the same attribute "In the Heart of the Sea" has, and even though there are minor blemishes, it still produces a good human drama shown by impeccable visual atmosphere.

This is a retelling of a particular ship's ordeal, also an inspiration for the novel Moby Dick. It is told from an account of then young crew member, he now tells the story of adventure and misery in his older days. While it's a good ground for characterization and set-up, it might overhype its own story and break the pacing slightly. Fortunately, Brendan Gleeson and Michelle Fairley are capable enough to maintain their own mini subplot.

The actual voyage consists of two leads, Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) and George Pollard (Benjamin Walker). Owen is a veteran sailor, who is promised a captain seat, but ultimately denied of the right because of nepotism favoring George. The two collides frequently, and more than once their dispute ends up bringing malady to the ship and its crew.

Chris Hemsworth is a great actor, however this is not the same level of rivalry he had in Rush. It is by no fault of Benjamin Walker who does try to fulfill the role, but he doesn't portray the personality clash of an epic saga. In fact, Hemsworth has more connection with Gillian Murphy, the third in command, even though they have lesser screen time together. The rest of the crew isn't compelling enough, in exception of young Nickerson who will eventually narrates it.

For most part the visual is splendid, mainly when it transcends the barrier between sea line and underwater. On some scenes it pans out so nicely it brings an alluringly harrowing view of ocean, its human drifters and beastly occupants. It has overall bluish tone that keeps the cold isolation vibe while the gigantic whale, though we know it's CG as whale is too much of a diva to work with, is still pretty convincing in close up.

Plot keeps a straightforward momentum, although it may be inconsistent sometimes. There are parts where it seems to dawdle for ten or fifteen minute more than needs be, while some scenes are cut short and ultimately feels disjointed. It's not a big issue, but it does make the story skips rather abruptly or plods at times.

In the Heart of the Sea is an interesting excursion with fine visual. Granted, it doesn't navigate well enough under some waves, yet this homage to a great classic has its enchanting and inspiring moments.
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A Very Angry Whale.
brendandevere7 December 2015
'Moby Dick' is the well known adventure of a whaling ship and its crew, relentlessly hunting the legendary white whale that had been a proverbial thorn in any whaling expedition. But before Herman Melville wrote his most famous piece of work in 1850, the American author had received the inspiration for his classic from a real life whaling expedition thirty years prior. The true story of the Essex and its crew reverberated around the world and had the potential to destroy the whale oil industry at a time when the precious commodity was the 'electricity' of the day. Its use in everyday life was common and was the main source of heat and lighting in the nineteenth century. The hunt for the rich oil saw large numbers of whaling ships spending years at a time out at sea so the bright lights of towns and cities could burn before the introduction of electricity. How far we have all come, even from the recent past.

Ron Howard has always been a bankable Director. He has been at the helm of some truly delightful films in recent memory and has rarely provided the audience with a bad experience. His solid wisdom has enabled him to deliver a film that is concrete without being spectacular. Charles Leavitt's screenplay shadows that of the direction; it provides the opportunity for deep dialogue without ever pushing the boundaries of its cast, leaving the best performance to a CGI generated whale. Howard has been able to create an authentic nineteenth century atmosphere, with rich scenes full of all the wonderment's of a by-gone era but the film on a whole seems to lack an emotional impact that Herman Melville's story was able to achieve. 'Moby Dick' seemed to have an excitable expectation about it where as 'In the Heart of the Sea' failed to deliver any really memorable moments. This is not to say that Ron Howard's film is not watchable, it just has been unable to conjure up anything new.

The narrative focuses on the booming whaling industry out of Nantucket and its heavy reliance on whale oil to provide the energy that society needs to live through their everyday lives. The whaling ship 'Essex' is the pride of the fleet and has been commissioned for a new expedition for the growing need of the priceless liquid. The story is told through the eyes of Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson), who is the last survivor of the fateful adventure that took place thirty years before. His narration is for the benefit of Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) who is compelled to write about the story. Nickerson centres his narration around Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth), the second in command of the Essex and a man that was born to be a whale-man. Chase is respected by his crew and is good enough to be the Captain in his own right but lacks the heritage to demand such a post. George Pollard (Benjamin Walker) is given the task of commanding the Essex and it isn't long before his personality clashes with that of Chase.

Through heavy storms, potential mutiny and misdirection, the Essex and its crew struggle to make the quota of three thousand barrels of oil needed for a successful voyage. With hope quickly turning to doubt, morale is boosted with a story of infinite whale sighting's a thousand miles from land and the chance for the crew to meet the demands of their employers. once the Essex reaches its location they are confronted by a monster that they have never encountered before; a sperm whale with white markings that is one hundred feet long and full of vengeance. It doesn't take a genius to know what happens next but the aftermath leaves both Pollard and Chase with memories that changes the course of their lives.

This is the whales film and the gigantic beast's on screen presence is what the audience wants to see. He makes an absolute mess of the Essex and hauntingly stalks the survivors as they float in small boats in the vastness of the Pacific knowing that they are all at the whale's mercy.

Brendan Gleeson is always good to watch and puts in a solid performance as the older Thomas Nickerson. Ben Whishaw is a star of the future and does credit to his role in a safe performance as the famous Melville. Chris Hemsworth is trying to spread his acting wings by expanding his appeal to the powers that be. The big Aussie hunk is doing his best to become a bankable leading man but the jury is still out as to whether he has the screen presence to successfully become the film star that we all want him to be. He can act but I feel at times that he is left behind by more accomplished craftsmen.

'In the Heart of the Sea' is a curious film. See it once and enjoy what it has to offer but 'Moby Dick' it ain't. The audience does get an insight into the extremities of an industry that was once the life blood of human civilisation. There is a scene that could be confronting to those viewers with a weak stomach as the Essex crew go about extracting the oil from the harmless beasts of the ocean but luckily this is only seen once although vital in the context of the narrative.
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Adventure , thrills , and sea chases , being wonderfully shot in the Canary Islands , Spain
ma-cortes15 January 2016
Agreeable retelling , vividly played , in which a Captain called Pollard (Benjamin Walker , though other actors that were considered included Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, and Henry Cavill) and a tough first officer , Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) command a surly ship of whale hunters through sheer ruthlessness and ego . Fine rendition freely based on Herman Neville novel : ¨Moby Dick¨ , with enjoyable interpretations from all-star-cast . Based on the true story of the ship Essex , a whaling ship that was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in the southern Pacific Ocean in 1820 . In this extremely loose adaptation of Melville's classic novel, George Pollard , Ahab-alike , is revealed initially not as a bitter and revengeful madman . This oceans saga features some survivors of a lost whaling ship and relates the tale of a white whale as well as the captain Pollard's obsession with desires for vendetta upon the greatest animal . It starts in New England , where an expert officer and harpooner signs aboard the whaling ship along with rookie captain George Pollard . Both of whom meet a motley crew formed by two-fisted sailors as Caleb Chappel (Paul Anderson) , Henry Coffin (Frank Dillane) , Richard Peterson (Osy Ikhile) , Benjamin Lawrence (Joseph Mawle) , Ramsdell (Sam Keeley ) and Matthew Joy (Cillian Murphy) , among others . They are attacked by a huge Cachalot that causes destruction and wreck havoc . Pollard , subsequently , consecrates his life to hunt it , full of hating and vengeance . He has a self-destructive obsession to hunt the white whale , carrying out obstinately his revenge and determination to seek avenge on the beast that destroyed his crew and ship .

Based on a true incident inspired Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" . Yet another take on of Melville's classic battle of wills story described on the book titled "In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex¨ by Nathaniel Philbrick , being well written by screenwriter Charles Leavitt . The picture is a fine as well as free adaptation of the famous novel well scripted/adapted and ably realized , though full of computer generator FX . ¨In the heart of the sea¨ is an attractive tale of life on the high seas , and in particular on board a whale schooner named 'Essex' , while in the classic novel is called ¨Pequod¨ . This impressive adaptation based on Herman Melville's 1851 classic novel is vividly brought to screen . The interactions between George Pollard , Owen Chase , Matthew Joy are reminiscent of ¨Moby Dick's personages¨ as Captain Ahab , Ishmael , Starbuck , Queequeg , Daggoo , as well as the main characters of ¨Billy Budd¨, another novel written by Herman Melville , and it results to be one of the most thrilling and moving see sagas ever written . Suspense and tension of the ocean is completely captured , including enduring frames as the braving storms , famine , panic and despair , the men will call into question their deepest beliefs , from the value of their existences to the morality of their works as whale-killers . Climatic battle between the giant whale and the harpooners , it is an overwhelming piece of cinema as you are likely to watch . Charles Leavitt , Rick Jaffa , Amanda Silver wrote the story and screenplay that was partially faith to the novel . And filmmaker Ron Howard stamping this movie with epic images and thought-provoking dialogs . Enjoyable recounting , including quite a few moments that click make this top-of-the-range movie more than watchable . The FX experts created a great whale made by means of ordinary computer generator . Top-notch main and secondary cast realize extraordinary performances . Chris Hemsworth is nice as well as Benjamin Walker and Tom Holland . This marks the second collaboration between director Ron Howard and actor Chris Hemsworth , their first collaboration was Rush (2013). Phenomenal support cast , plenty of familiar faces who give perfect interpretations , such as Brendan Gleeson , Cillian Murphy , Jordi Mollà , Michelle Fairley , Paul Anderson , Frank Dillane , Joseph Mawle , Donald Sumpter , Richard Bremmer and Ben Whishaw as Herman Melville

Cameraman Anthony Dod Mantle's appropriate color cinematography splendidly conveys the bleaker qualities of the chase . Exciting and thrilling musical score by Roque Baños , being filmed on location in the Canaries , where in 1956 John Huston directed the classic version starred by Gregory Peck , Richard Basehart , Harry Andrews and Orson Welles . The motion picture was compellingly directed by Ron Howard . This is the sixth film directed by Ron Howard based on a true story. The others were "Apolo 13 (1995)", "A beautiful mind (2001) ", "Cinderella Man (2005)", "Frost versus Nixon (2008)" and "Rush (2013)". Rating : Very good , better tan average . Well worth watching .
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Another Solid Ron Howard Film
somf2 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
If you don't count his Dan Brown films, it has been a very long time since Ron Howard has made anything less than a solid entertaining film and this is no exception. Based on a true story that inspired Herman Melville's Moby Dick ITHOTS begins with Melville meeting up with the only still surviving member of the Whale Ship Essex, played by the always excellent Brenden Gleeson. Melville pays him to finally describe the events of 30 years earlier when he was a 14 year old crew member on his maiden voyage.I won't go into how it bugged me that using the historical time line. Gleeson could not have yet turned 50, because I am one of only a few geeks who would dwell on that.

I think this is Hemsworth's best role if for no other reason he does the DeNiro Raging Bull thing to his body. The characters starve at sea and it is hard to believe that CGI is not heavily involved with his appearance at the end of the film, but from what I have read apparently not. If Howard had made this film a decade ago, Russell Crowe would have had the Hemsworth role as the first mate. But Hemsworth does as well as I could have imagined Crowe in the role, and that is a compliment to his maturing as an actor.

A lot of interesting stuff about Whaling and the film is beautifully shot. I have a feeling that fans of the book will be a bit disappointed because it seems that certain aspects of the book were probably glossed over. If you want to see it in IMAX (which was not offered at my screening and which I thought was surprising and disappointing) then you had better catch this opening week. Something tells me that another film opening the following week is apt to hog up all the IMAX screens for a few weeks. I hope that does not hurt the box office for this film too, because it is a big screen epic.

My wife would not go with me because she did not want to see the cruelty to the whales, and there are some terrifically filmed and exciting hunting scenes, but I am one of those that kind of rooted for the whales as well. Heck, at the end of the day, one might say the Whale won.
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Need More Heart Here
Richie-67-48585214 December 2015
If you like a decent story, the ocean, whales and man against the elements, here you go. If you want it to be memorable, you need to give it dimension, form, purpose and some intrigue. That is missing here and I am surprised that it is considering Ron Howard directed this. As to Chris Hemsworth, I am not sure he can carry a picture as a leading man. His verbal and emotional skills are not quite as fully developed as his body is. To be fair, this movie is not Moby Dick but instead the story that inspired it. When the words Moby Dick are conjured, one thinks of Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab and all the other colorful characters in the classic movie of its time. Here, we are given a story that needs our help to be entertaining when we should be since we paid to be so. If there are deleted scenes that will come out on a Blue Ray, this will help it along. I liked the movie but not $9.00 worth which is what it cost to get in. Wait until cable and you will enjoy it more one evening. Not a popcorn movie but a snack wouldn't hurt plus a tasty drink
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The Art of the Sea
leosmith-111663 December 2015
I went into the cinema expecting something fairly decent. Something that would at the very least, satisfy. I I was more wrong than I thought. It was better than satisfactory. It was brilliant. The Effects are the best of the year, and Chris Hemsworths Acting is top notch. Ron Howard has always been a great director, and I did enjoy a beautiful mind and Apollo 13, but this film has to be one of the greatest of the year. The film is very emotional at times, and the storyline is very well thought out. Definitely deserves an Oscar for best visual effects, and hopefully it will bag some more Oscars on the way.

The movie is best viewed on the big screen, as it possibly wouldn't have the same effect on a TV. Get into the cinemas before it's too late.
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Inspired Moby Dick, but is no Moby Dick, but it is visually effective.
subxerogravity12 December 2015
Based on the story that inspired Moby Dick, its novelist, Herman Melville seeks out the survivor of the Whaling ship Essex to have him tell the tale of the white whale they encountered.

I heard In the heart of the Sea was not action packed enough. It sounded like the best and only action sequences could be found in the trailer, but that was not the case at all. I found it pretty jammed packed with big adventure. From director Ron Howard showing us how to sail a ship, to the epic standoff between man and the world's largest mammal. They even get into how a whale is hunted and then gutted for oil, which won't make any PETA supporters happy.

I would say the real issue is that since they are advertising the movie as the story that inspired Moby Dick, you would expect more whale than we actually got. The survivor telling the tale, Thomas Nickerson (played by Brendan Gleeson as an old man and Tom Holland as a Young one) began his story by telling us it was about the Captain and his first officer (played by Chris Hemsworth), and for the most part the movie was about how these two different men, from different social classes operate a ship.

What I was most impressed with is that it was worth the IMAX 3D ticket. In the Heart of the Sea has so many fantastic visuals, and not just the eye candy that is Chris Hemsworth who was made to look quite heroic in the picture (or maybe I just could not get his image of Thor out of my head). A lot of the imagery was grim to give a realistic look at what it was like to be a sailor in the 1800s, it was brilliant cinematography.

And the story that was told was very complete. I think I learned far too much about the political process and corruption of the whaling industry, back in the day, which is interesting, but does have the story lingering longer than you would expect.

Overall, I'm impressed with the second effort Ron Howard and Chris Hemmisworth team up for after Rush.
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Technically Proficient But Super Flat
matthewssilverhammer18 December 2015
Heart of the Sea is a mass-produced still-life painting: technically proficient but as flat as the canvas it's on. Technically, it's fine; the cinematography is interesting, the actors hit their marks, the sound is on point. But other than a few moments of nice humor and mild sea-faring thrills, the film lacks any spark. It's like director Howard and co. weren't that interested in creating an emotional, cerebral or exciting film, but more focused on simply getting the job done. The story of 19th century whaler Owen Chase (played by an oddly-accented Hemsworth), the influence for the literary classic Moby Dick, is a story worth knowing. However, the giant scale and obsession inherent in this tale is never fully conveyed, as Howard opts for computers and green screens, in lieu of the actual sea, to tell his story. So instead of a propulsive thriller or even a thoughtful psychological study, we get a generic and forgettable action/adventure, couched in boring characters. And much like the crew of the Essex itself, we are stranded in a seemingly endless sea of lackluster storytelling It also features some of the worst cinematic framing ever. Instead of just filming Moby Dick itself or just the story of real-life Owen Chase, they opt for a messy mash-up, constantly cutting away from the Essex's voyage to a recounting of the story to Melville; like bad narration taken to the nth degree. Even some marginally compelling moments showing the survival instincts of desperate people can't save this sinking ship. Watch Jaws, All is Lost, or Master and Commander if you want to take a worthwhile trip to the heart of the sea.
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Brooding dark but beautiful
jayakumar_ajk7 December 2015
yes, some movies get released in India even before US/UK. this is one such movie which got released one week before US.

I went for the movie more for nature, graphics and 3D of Whale, but as a sweet surprise, the director took more time in depicting characters and their feelings rather than spending time on Whale or graphics, which is a welcome change, considering we having lots of movies with CG now a days.

as i said in the summary, it is a movie at the right pace, brooding, dark and desolate at times but nevertheless beautiful.

beautiful how the bickering relationship between captain and his first mate changes into a influencing r.ship in the end is lovely.

should i say ? must watch.

many viewers from IMDb yet to watch this movie, so no spoiler from my side ! enjoy the survival of the fittest and the people who have hope to survive any situation !!

swim in the lovely emotions director created
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A handsomely old-fashioned sea-faring yarn that could do with a lot more character work, Ron Howard's Man-versus-Nature saga finds its own heart somewhat lost at sea
moviexclusive2 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
'In the Heart of the Sea' is not 'Moby Dick'. Instead, it is based on Nathaniel Philbrick's non-fiction book of the same name, which was itself drawn from real events surrounding the Nantucket whaling ship Essex that was allegedly sunk by a giant sperm whale in the western Pacific on November 20, 1820. Out of the 21 men who made it out alive, only eight eventually survived the ordeal in the open sea, and there are accounts from two – one, the ship's first mate Owen Chase; and two, a 14-year-old cabin boy named Thomas Nickerson who waited 55 years to write his side of the story which ended up lost until 1980.

Even though young Melville's (Ben Whishaw) interview with the truculent Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) bookends the film, let it first be known that these scenes are in fact fiction, for there is no way that the real-life Melville could have access to Nickerson's memoir, since the book 'Moby Dick' was published in 1851. Notwithstanding that it is a classical framing device for a tall tale, there is no denying that these portions are redundant and quite the unnecessary distraction in between critical points of the Essex's doomed voyage, redeemed only somewhat by Gleeson's performance of such dignity and sadness at the dire circumstances that he had to confront in order to survive on few provisions for 90 days.

It is Gleeson's narration that brings us back to 1820 Nantucket, where we are first introduced to Chris Hemsworth's Chase, a proud whaler excited at the prospect of commanding his own ship. Alas, its business owners who had before promised Owen his boat decide to make him nursemaid Pollard (Benjamin Walker), whose only qualification is that his father is the company's patron. Despite his frustration and his wife's (Charlotte Riley) reservations about that particular expedition, Owen eventually sets sail with George and the rest of the crew, which includes his best friend Matthew Joy (Cillian Murphy), the young Nickerson (Tom Holland, or soon-to-be 'Spidey'), and George's cousin Owen Coffin (Frank Dillane).

As expected, tension soon builds between the experienced first mate and the inexperienced but eager-to-prove-himself captain. In the first of three major action sequences, George orders the Essex to sail head on into a squall against Owen's advice as a test of mettle for the crew, an ill decision that almost capsizes the ship and seemingly pits the two men squarely against each other. Thrilling as that setup may be, Charles Leavitt's screenplay gives the officer- versus-officer conflict short shrift in the later acts.

Losing no momentum, Owen soon chances upon the sound of whales exhaling air through their blowholes; how Owen and his men kill and capture a full-grown male is shown in exhilarating detail, as much as the later operation to harvest its fats for oil is displayed in full gory glory (especially a sequence where the young Nickerson is thrust down a hole in the whale's head to scoop out the prized sperm oil). Yet, bad luck immediately after forces George to bring the Essex into uncharted waters to hunt for pods, and the last of the big-bang sequences you'll get is the encounter with the big one, described by a Spanish captain the crew meet on a stopover at Atacames who lost his arm and six other men as measuring almost 100 metres in length and whose hide is alabaster white.

Howard and cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle do not disappoint; that single encounter is single-handedly the highlight of the entire film, edge-of-your-seat gripping, breathtakingly staged, and enough to silence the hubris of any man who thinks he is superior to Mother Nature's creations. It ends with the Essex in flames and the surviving crewmen in three whaleboats, and so begins a much more sombre and deliberately paced final act which chronicles the harrowing aftermath, with the men forced to brave storms, starvation, panic and despair. It is here that we find out just what has been disturbing Nickerson all these years – when staring starvation in the face, the men would be forced to eat their dead shipmates or draw lots for one of them to be sacrificed.

Hemsworth's dramatic weight loss to play a sunken Owen is clearly evident, as is the dedication by the other cast members to portray their characters' afflictions with utmost realism. Yet, coming after films such as 'Castaway' or even 'Life of Pi', we'd be lying if we said it was new or surprising. Both of those movies however managed a deeper emotional resonance because they gave us characters which we actually care about, the same of which cannot be said here. Owen's obsession with the giant whale that seems to be following them is never quite explained, nor for the matter why the animal shown to evoke some sort of mythical terror would do so. How the friction between Owen and George gives way to mutual respect is also glossed over, and the same goes for the discord between George and his cousin whom the former lectures earlier for abusing familial privilege.

In the absence of more compelling character drama, all we are left with is an old-fashioned seafaring adventure and an ageless tale of men forced to do the unthinkable in order to survive the odds of nature. Being the consummate storyteller he is, Howard excels in both regards, and there is never a dull moment in his film. Yet, as much as this story of ordinary men pitted against their own moral fiber fits squarely within Howard's oeuvre, it ultimately comes up much less because it fails to define the men themselves, or their raison d'etre for going at each other. Ironically, 'In the Heart of the Sea' could do with a lot more heart at its core, seeing as how it wants to be more, much more, than just the battle with the whale that was 'Moby Dick'.
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The Cruel Sea Meets Moby Dick
rbrb6 December 2015
This is a high quality sea faring adventure movie, apparently based on a true event. I am glad to highly recommend the film as the whole production is first class and to fully appreciate the picture better to view it at the movie house rather than the likes of DVD. As for example the spectacular ocean scenes are at their best on the big screen.

In around 1820 huge profits were available to shipping companies for catching whales mainly for their sperm. One such company had an important whale hunting expedition but for selfish motives employed an inexperienced ship's captain, whilst the second in command ought to have been in charge. That fatal error leads to disastrous consequences. Indeed it was this story which led to the subsequent fictional classic book Moby Dick.

The movie for me captures the time period perfectly as the production and design is meticulous even down to the accents and language spoken. I felt I was transported to the 1820's and beyond.

An excellent cinema experience!

7 and a half rounded up:

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A perfect blend of drama & adventure.
Anurag-Shetty14 December 2015
In the Heart of the Sea tells the true story of the Essex, a whaling ship. In 1820, while first mate Owen Chase(Chris Hemsworth), captain George Pollard(Benjamin Walker) & the rest of the crew were searching for whales in the middle of the ocean, they encounter a gigantic sperm whale. This gigantic whale causes the Essex to sink. Now, it is up to Owen Chase & the rest of his crew to somehow survive the harsh conditions at sea. They will also have to be alert for the return of the whale. The true story of this movie, inspired Herman Melville's(Ben Whishaw) famous novel, Moby Dick.

In the Heart of the Sea is a spectacular film. The CGI is perfect & the whales in the movie look extremely realistic & intimidating. The 3D works really well in all the scenes involving the whales & the chaos & destruction set pieces. However, it is unnecessary for the emotional scenes of the movie. Director Ron Howard perfectly captures the suffering of all the crew members of the Essex. He makes sure that the movie is not just about the special effects & adventure but, also adds dramatic set pieces. One flaw of the movie is the lack of character development. Despite everything they go through, you don't genuinely care about the fate of all the characters in the movie. You only care about, Chris Hemsworth's character, Tom Holland's character, Cillian Murphy's character & to a certain extent, Benjamin Walker's character. At the end of the day, this is not a major flaw because, you can't give each & every character a detailed back-story. This would have unnecessarily elongated the duration of the movie. Chris Hemsworth has given the best performance of his career, as Owen Chase. Hemsworth's dramatic weight loss for the film, shows the dedication & hard work he has put in for his role. Benjamin Walker is great as George Pollard. Cillian Murphy is brilliant as Matthew Joy. Brendan Gleeson is good as Tom Nickerson. Ben Whishaw is wonderful as Herman Melville. Tom Holland is outstanding as Thomas Nickerson. Frank Dillane is superb as Owen Coffin. The supporting characters are impressive too. In the Heart of the Sea is a must watch. Go for it!
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'This is not the whale you are looking for.......'
stephendaxter2 December 2015
In the Heart of the Sea is an Action/Adventure/Biopic based on the real disaster that inspired Herman Melville's 'Moby-Dick'. The film follows the voyage of the 'Essex', a whaling ship that was bought down in 1820 by a Sperm Whale in the South Pacific, and is a tale of Adventure, Drama, Survival and Boredom. Obviously the main reason I and most other people wanted to go and see this movie was to see this massive whale go toe to toe with the Essex and its crew. Actual confrontations with the whale in this film were few and far between but when they happen, man do they make an impact. This whale was ginormous, he was grand and it was such a spectacle seeing this huge beautiful whale on screen. The way they emphasise his size through juxtaposing him with the boats gives his presence much more weight. Confrontations with the whale were intense and serious edge-of-seat stuff. The CGI effects of this whale were beautiful and incredibly detailed. This would have taken up a huge chunk of the budget as making this whale look as realistic as possible was crucial to the enjoyment of the film. Some of the CGI in the wide shots were well done, but there were still quite a few scenes and wide shots throughout the film, especially in Nantucket that really just didn't look right and did take me out of the film.

The film's biggest problem over the entire film was the pacing and the negative effect that had on my overall enjoyment of the film. This was a lot of the time a very slow film, especially at the beginning where the first 20 minutes or so was very dreary and quite boring. Throughout the film there are quite a few uninteresting moments that constantly just make you lose interest. The biggest culprit of these boring sleep inducing moments were the scenes that are showing Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) recounting the events of the film to Herman Melville. Scenes like this are nothing new and have been done in countless films before this, but they were just completely uninteresting and didn't really add anything to the actual story of the film. I guess they were trying to get us to care about his character and his younger self for what he endured but for me at least i could have done without those scenes and it would have cut at least 15 minutes of its long 2 hour runtime and the film would have flowed better and quicker. There was one bit of dialogue early on that i thought spoiled how the film was going to end, but it was a very good piece of misdirection by the writers, if it was intentional.

Acting wise, the film was pretty good. Chris Hemsworth was the obvious standout, he was able to show off his acting talents quite a few times throughout the film, but still it was nothing amazing. The supporting cast was also mostly pretty strong, Benjamin Walker and our friendly neighbourhood Tom Holland were good, not great, just good strong performances. Ron Howard did a pretty good job directing the film, most of the time he nailed the tone of the film. The dramatic action scenes were filmed and directed in a very frantic and chaotic manner that upped the stakes during those intense moments. Especially in the latter portions of the film he does represent the sad tones and emotion pretty well and handles some very confronting scenes in a way that isn't too disturbing but also isn't sugar-coated. The latter half of the film although not free of some boring moments does pick up significantly from the first half when it introduces some survival elements. It doesn't really end on a high note, it should have been a short and sweet ending but it is dragged out a little longer and just ended up being alright.

In the end, this is an Action/Adventure that has its intense, dramatic moments, but is not without some boring moments that if excluded could have kept the film to like 1 hour and 40 minutes and would have made it more enjoyable and impactful. If you are fascinated of the story of Moby-Dick then you will probably get more out of the film than i did but it really wasn't as great as it was meant to be. - 6/10

Also this film believe it or not was supposed to release way back in March of 2015, but it was pushed back to December into Awards season to possibly get some Oscar recognition. Should have stayed in March because i'll be genuinely surprised if this even gets nominated for any awards when you consider all of the other great stuff from this year.
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Being an Excerpt of a letter to my Cousine; or, The Review
Taconites14 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
... I enjoyed the Experience and the Filme for the Comedye it was; for how, thought I, could it be that a Filme so large (and enacted by Beings among whom we might account the mighty Thor, Abraham Lincoln, the grand-father of Alle Behemothes, and one Scare-crow) be yet writ so Small across such a vast Screene.

And the experience for What itself Was: being at the Omni-Theatre of the Minnesota Zoological Gardens, before a Screene some Ninety feet across and Seventy high, with a Sounde-system that might rival the bellowing of Zeus or Vesuvius, shared on a drizzly December night betwixt Myselfe and sixteen gentle Strangers, the youngest of whom appeared to be a Childe of some Ten Years, the eldest a Gentleman of perhaps Sixty-five.

A bucket of Popped-corn and a sugary Soda provided my repast.

The Failings of the Filme did unfortunately outnumber its Strengths, for while one Weasel-Lad, who was Cousine to the shippe's Captain, did provide a fine Scene of noble yet bloody Sacrifice toward the Conclusion, beforehande we Film-goers were made to bear Witnesse to the Unholy Slaughter of a blameless Behemothe, various stormes at Sea that seemed the Products of a Television Filme, and the Unspeakable Mangling of Accents by Mssrs. Thor and Scare-crow, which said mangling, whilst the Source of much-needed Laughter, yet leaves the Bones of my Eares in Knots some dayes later.

In closing, deare Cousin, let me saye that the greatest Flaw of this Filme lies in its Unfathomable Mediocrity: for, given the Strength of its Pedigree, of its Tale and Themes, we might finde ourselves asked to forgive the mighty Man-o'-War placing Fifthe in a Tortoise-race.

I remaine, with all kind Regarde,

Your faithful Taco-nites
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Very well filmed, the true story is more interesting than fiction
phd_travel3 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This stunningly filmed movie is about the true story that was the inspiration for Moby Dick. The movie is worth watching because it's so well filmed, the ocean cinematography is just breathtaking - it's almost enough to make you slightly sea sick. It's actually a better, more interesting and more horrific story than Moby Dick. The characters were imperfect heroes who made mistakes that led to the events.

The actors are well cast and their faces fit well into the time period. Chris Hemsworth looks very much like a 19th Century sea man if a bit larger than life as the first mate. Benjamin Walker has a face that looks very much like a 19th Century portrait of a New England man.

Last year Angelina Jolie's stranded at sea survival story "Unbreakable" gave us a taste of the thirst and horror of being without water. But this movie shows us more than thirst with cannibalism.

If like me you thought Moby Dick was boring, this movie is actually much more interesting. Worth watching on the big screen.
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James_De_Bello5 December 2015
Whilst it isn't a worthy follow up to "Rush", which I deem one of the best pictures in recent years, "In the Heart of the Sea" had many elements that remind us why we love Ron Howard's direction in his best movies so much, yet it also reminds us of his faults in his lesser films.

First off and most notably: can we please, please stop having useless narration of people remembering events of their youth in true story pictures? There is so much wrong with this technique. Firstly, it is a cheap writing idea, secondly you simply aren't invested in the emotional core of the characters telling and listening to the story, they just don't have much to do for you to get attached, thirdly it breaks the pace a little to many times, and finally it shoves down your throat the emotional beats by the narrator telling you them instead of the story having breathing space to convey the emotions and it is absolutely annoying. This is one of those things that Ron Howard unfortunately trips a lot into, yet thanks to his charming direction he frequently manages to make it light and heartfelt, unfortunately not here.

To continue on negatives: weirdly, for only the first hour or so of the film, there are constant shots that feel out of place because of poor CGI. Firstly because CGI smoke already being a terrible idea in any place, is used to overkill, yet still, I lost count of moments where the movie was cutting fast in action or not and it was absorbing, then a shot was out, another three were great and then again another CGI mess. It was stunningly strange and even more so since it lasted for the first two acts only. Which also brings me to another negative point: the last part of the second act and the first part of the third were emotionless. I really don't know what it was because performances and visuals were across the board great, but that whole part just felt off, I got bored and almost fell asleep and then as soon as the part ends I was radiant again. I really don't know what it was, it was just sterile and unengaging for a chuck.

The rest was actually quite fascinating. The first hour is totally absorbing. Talking about what Ron Howard does so good, he is a director that really understands giving you a feeling of being there with the characters and this is no different, I felt aboard on the ship with them and through the storms. He knows perfectly well what to show us to get fascinated. Moreover there are some fabulous visuals in the film and really intense action sequences that grab you by the throat and don't let go until you're exhausted. Hemsworth as always shines as the leading man and he is supported by a well chosen cast.

Coming from a true Ron Howard fanatic I must admit I was disappointed with the film, there was a lot of buzz surrounding it and I expected to get another "Rush", that is probably why I focused so much on the negatives, yet still "In the Heart of the Sea" is a good movie and definitely something positive to add to Howard's already amazing resume. Lets just say that I would like to see him tackle again this type of film with big visuals and budget because I would really like to see him excel in this type of movie.
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A movie to a fault
lanierhunt17 February 2016
"In the Heart of the Sea" is a movie to a fault. The strings are so visible--and knotted and tangled--that the inherently compelling, tried-and-true theme of man vs. nature--played in its most heightened fashion--fails to make any impression whatsoever.

The events of the film center around the oil business of yore and the poor--in both the monetary and sympathetic uses of the word-- crew commissioned to fetch the said oil. The mission goes awry when the ship comes across a "demon" of a whale whose idea of an afterlife doesn't include lighting a schoolboy's homework.

Chris Hemsworth, the lead of the movie--who seems to have been patched together from the remains of past movie stars--plays a dull character dully; he loves his wife, he's good at his job and his always tries to do the right thing. The always reliable Brendan Gleeson is the catalyst for the story, and he stands there in his imposing, respectable way, and delivers his lines believably enough. The rest of the performances are all relatively on point, but nobody really stands out as being anything but working cogs in a second- rate machine.

The big set-piece of the movie--the whale attack--is home to a handful of harrowing shots, and is effectively frightening, particularly the first moment in which the animal's size becomes apparent. However, when it is over, the film fails to build on its foundation, and drifts off into the nether regions of apathy. There is one fun scene where Tom Holland has to enter a whale through its blowhole, but that's as far as it goes.

The movie has high, literary ambitions, and yet, other than a brief conversation between two characters, doesn't seem to be reaching for them at all. Its achievements in cinematography are short and sporadic. It can only be described as boring, and best enjoyed in short glances up from washing dishes.
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This whale of tale movie was alright, but somewhat disappointing. It could had been better.
ironhorse_iv16 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Whale! Whale! Whale! You would think the inspiration for author Herman Melville's 1851's novel, "Moby Dick" would be amazing to watch. Sadly, this 2015 biographical survivor film directed by Ron Howard, wasn't a big splash with the audiences when it came out. For me, personally, this movie was entertaining to a point; but the story about an angry sperm whale sinking a whaling boat really needed to be told, better. I really didn't like the framing device in which, this movie is told. Yes, it was mostly alright, that the movie had the whale return, multiplies times after the sinking to show, how malevolently, the creature can be, but this isn't 1975's Jaws or even 1956's Moby Dick, which were fictional movie based on true stories. This movie was market as the true-encounter that inspired the myth of Moby Dick. You can't do really do that, if you're trying to be truthful, because it totally undermined and contradict the whole marketing message. For a film saying, it's the realistic account of that story, it has to portray the whale, more to what it truly is. A normal creature that only attack once, not a symbol of God's wrath. This film wasn't even close to being accuracy to the real-life events of the sinking of the whaling ship, Essex in 1820 at all. I'm surprise, by this, because it's based on Nathaniel Philbrick's 2000 non-fiction book of the same name; which in my opinion was very accuracy. Several aspects of the story was indeed missing like the burning of Charles Island & the resupply in Galapagos in this film. Plus, it didn't help that the film depart significantly, just to add a sub-plot where author Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) goes to an old mariner, Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) to get his account of the events, despite being aware of the story from whaler, Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth). It really seem, pretty odd that Thomas Nickerson would know, a lot about Owen's relationship with his wife, and his boss, George Pollard (Benjamin Walker). It was a bit jarring. The film's biggest problem over the entire film was the pacing. It really took forever to get anywhere. A lot of the scenes were really drawn out & quite boring. Whenever, something interesting comes into play, the film sucks it out, by eventually abandoning the conflict; such was the case between how the ship should be run between Chase and Pollard, or the will to survive between Chase and the White Whale. It feels very anti-climax. The dialogue was also a problem. It was mostly dull exposition, with little to no character development in it. I really, didn't get to relate to anybody in the crew, as much, as I should had. I really thought, there would be great scenes that would give us, some insight on who these men, are. The movie could also work better, with some inherent adventurous epic maritime life music to it, even if it's a tragic showing. It would really lighten this movie, up. It would make the film, a lot more fun to watch. I love the use of CGI in this film. The whole whale attack really did stand out for the brief scenes, they had. It look really real to me. I also like how the film goes all bloody and grizzly in its portrayal of how ugly, the whaling business can be. Scenes like a young man being forced into a dead whale's head was pretty interesting in its gory worst. However, it was a bit weird for the PG-13 film to show that, but unable to show any scene of cannibalism during the surviving in the ocean parts. It seem like it was a bit sugar-coated. What the hell, movie! However, I do like the make-up work in this film. Some of the actors really did, looking like they were starving to death. That 500-600 calories diet that the actors had to do, was crazy. Acting wise, the film was also pretty good. Chris Hemsworth was the obvious standout, he was able to show off his acting talents quite a few times throughout the film, but still it was nothing truly astounding. It's sad that he can't show, much of his acting chops, beside those Marvel films. The supporting cast was also mostly pretty strong, with Benjamin Walker, Tom Holland, and Cillian Murphy standing out. Overall: How does In the Heart of the Sea compare to other tales of sea-voyage catastrophes? It was somewhat below average. While, braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, will call into question the man's deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, I never really got to interested in the story to care if they live or not. While, this adaptation clearly had the big budget, it fails to connect emotionally with me, like similar films like 2000's Perfect Storm or 2012's Life of Pi. It's worth watching, but not much, replay value. See it, if you want to.
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Cliché'd Go-Pro CGI-Whale Fest 2015
Aylmer6 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
An otherwise quite interesting true story is unfortunately quite muddled by sloppy and cliché-riddled writing. The best scene in the film is of course the central whale attack on the Essex which we all paid to see, but even this scene is ruined by a need to make everything more by-the- numbers and "cinematic". Just like how some Tarantino can't resist filming feet or Jess Franco can't resist wasting time with filler footage, an apparently tired filmmaker Ron Howard can't seem to help constantly straying from exploring an amazing story by piling on heaps artificial drama. Let's look at some examples:

  • Chris Hemsworth's character feels overly saintly - he never reveals any flaws at all throughout the movie other than being distant from his family (though by necessity as he's a sailor). He lives a cliché'd life on a bucolic farm with a pregnant wife and full CGI-enhanced view of the bay. Boring.

  • The whales are accomplished 100% using CGI, which look good as still- shots but the movement fluidity gives it away that you're essentially watching a cartoon character. A tremendous opportunity is missed in showing that although only viewed as big fish at the time, cetaceans could reveal themselves to be as vindictive and vengeful as humans can be. The exploitation film ORCA: THE KILLER WHALE handled the concept much better by exploring the inherent disbelief in the human characters impacting their gradually coming to respect their aquatic opponents.

  • For some reason, they introduce a class-based conflict between the captain and First Mate Hemsworth. While they needed some kind of drama prior to the whale attack, this attempt just feels contrived and lifeless, with the incompetent and entitled captain never making any good calls and never ceasing to alienate himself from his crew. He makes William Bligh look like a beloved saint in comparison and makes one wonder why there's never any serious talk of mutiny or murder right from the get-go.

  • The writers also tacked on numerous other whale attacks throughout the crew's adventures, which of course didn't happen. The whale that sank the Essex did not come back and attack the small whale boats weeks after the sinking.

  • Cillian Murphy is wonderful as crewman Joy, but for some reason quite criminally underused. They even opt to leave his character on Henderson rather than stick to the facts and have his character die at sea.

  • The barren island they are stranded on looks nothing like Henderson Island, which today is actually one of the most pristine ecosystems left in the world and quite lush, periodically used as a source of timber by neighboring Pitcairn Island.

  • The cannibalism aspect is very barely touched on and in a very PG-13 way. There's a gritty suicide (in a great dramatic scene that actually sticks to history) but it's undermined by a lot of earlier telegraphing to show that the character is violent and unstable from the start.

  • There's a distracting reliance on go-pro footage all throughout the film, I assume to give us a "you are there" sort of experience but instead just distances by turning an aesthetically prestigious survival story into a "Man vs. Wild"-style reality show.

  • The scenes with Gleeson and Melville make no sense. In 1850 many of the original crew (including the first mate) were still alive but Melville makes it sound like Gleeson is the last one left. The drama with him withholding facts, arguing with his wife, being an alcoholic, and then talking fictitiously about the discovery of oil in the ground at that time just feel like a full-blown celebration of convenient clichés piled on top of a trite foundation.

  • An added on conspiracy theory about covering up the incident just destroys the ending of the film. The captain finally has his change of heart and redemption, but once again at the expense of representing a true story. I would have been much more interested in seeing how the whaling community would have been shook up by the knowledge that whales could sink ships, but instead we missed another opportunity in favor of another boring cliché.

This would have been a lot stronger of a film had they just stuck to the facts and not taken every cheap shot imaginable to increase the drama at the expense of realism. In the end, this film's inability to transcend or even match its historic material stems from the filmmakers' sheer cowardice, laziness, and lack of imagination in finding interesting ways of presenting accurate history.
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Nicely highlighting the evil inside mankind
Cem_Topuz29 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Humans are failed species and this movie reminds me that nauseate information again.

From beginning of the movie, all humans on the screen aimed only destruction. Kill or mock everything they interact and got troubled all because of their own actions.

After the worst thing could happened to them happened they ask for mercy... which we do not deserve.

And add idiotic back stories like, trying not to give away "secrets" like cannibalism, etc...

This movie makes me sick because it reminds me how shallow human being can be.

At the end, main characters refused to tell a lie, not to obey the rules of "companies that keeps the wheel running" and reveal the bs they caused is just plain awful. That didn't even important because all the whole oil industry goes on to this day? that integrity does means nothing.

It tells us about the importance of honour, virtue, integrity etc. but let me tell you something. All virtues and merits created by man, serves the man to justify all mankind's moronic and absurd decisions and actions.
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That sinking feeling
rooee16 December 2015
For his follow-up to the decent racing drama Rush, Ron Howard has plumped for something part Master & Commander, part Jaws, and part Valhalla Rising. Thanks to the auteur visions of their respective directors, those movies were about more than men stuck on boats together. Sadly, In the Heart of the Sea is closer to The Perfect Storm in terms of its sheer corn-fed hokiness.

This is a 2015 film based on a 2000 non-fiction novel, about the sinking of the Nantucket whaling ship the Essex in 1820, which inspired Herman Melville's Moby Dick, published in 1851. The movie frames the story with one of the Essex survivors telling the story to Melville in 1850. It's meta-madness! First Mate Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) is headhunted to join Captain George Pollard (Benjamin Walker) on the fateful whaler. They're not to return without a hold full o' whale oil. But where are all the pesky whales? The Essex must voyage deeper into uncharted oceans in search of a pod of whales led by a white monster with a penchant for headbutting boats and swatting humans with its tail. Their first encounter is almost ruinous, and then they must find their way home with minimal supplies while the creature stalks them.

The script is by Charles "Seventh Son" Leavitt and it contains no surprises and precious little rhythm or poetry. Character arcs progress in exactly the way you'd predict from point A to death or redemption.

Was Ron Howard the right guy to direct this? He's a high-class hack who has elicited average performances from a mediocre script. The film's title points to something mythic but there's no sense of myth in the actual story on screen – rather, a clunky and corny action-adventure which awkwardly gives way to a tiresomely drifting final act. A key moment of savage desperation is crudely elided, and I wonder if a bolder director may have brought home the horror by showing rather than simply telling.

The look of the film has that eerie toy-town greenscreen fuzz last seen extensively in The Hobbit. At times – on land – it can appear painterly. But much of the on-sea action looks like it was shot in a leisure centre swimming pool.

Hemsworth is a fine presence with a serious glare, but is he an actor? As drinking water dwindles and desperation sets in, makeup does most of the heavy lifting. He's not helped by the stolid nature of his character. It's the kind of dull role Kevin Costner was often asked to play in his heyday before he went nasty and interesting.

The crew is mostly made up of oh-it's-that-guy British character actors. Amongst them is Tom Holland, last seen battered by the sea in 2012's The Impossible, and soon to be Spider-man. But, for all the film's spectacle and bombast, the most affecting scenes are those between Brendan Gleeson, as the survivor, and Ben Wishaw, as Melville. These scenes are subtle and movingly played by actors of consummate skill.

To be honest, I wouldn't have minded watching the whole story play out this way, in this little room. Or perhaps just have Brendan Gleeson read Nathaniel Philbrick's book to me and let me picture a better movie in my mind.
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A film as cold and unsubtle as the ocean itself
StevePulaski12 December 2015
Watching a two hour film showing a static shot Herman Melville slaving over a typewriter, mumbling under his breath, and sweating profusely while writing "Moby Dick" would be more interesting and insightful than Ron Howard's "In the Heart of the Sea," a film about the story that inspired the classic novel. The film revolves around Herman Melville (played by Ben Whishaw) obtaining the story from Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson in his later years), who survived a shipwreck in 1820 that left him and his crew stranded on a life-boat in the middle of the ocean for three months, more than a thousand miles from land. The story recounts the ship known as "Essex," captained by George Pollard, Jr. (Benjamin Walker) and Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth). Also on board is the boat's second officer, Matthew Joy (Cillian Murphy), and a young Nickerson, who serves as the ship's cabin boy.

Upon the ship wrecking and subsequently ripping in half by an enormous bull sperm whale, the four men take refuge on a small life boat with dwindling food supply. They realize that if they can somehow attack and kill the whale with the equipment they have, they can put themselves out of harm's way and perhaps have a sustainable food source. The idea is so outlandish that it just might work.

When I first heard about "In the Heart of the Sea," I immediately grew excited. Knowing that most of the film would take place on the seas, I automatically assume human interest and character development would take prominence over everything else, and even hoped for Charles Leavitt's script to hit some survivalist notes. The problem with "In the Heart of the Sea" is its emphasis on cinematic polish, resorting to dialog that feels and sounds heavily scripted and situations that feel directly stripped out of a screen writing book about concocting a problematic, but more elegant and story-based, disaster film. Rather than focusing on a minimalist premise and making a film in the vein of "All is Lost," "Life of Pi," or "Open Water," "In the Heart of the Sea" resorts to lingering on cold, robotic characters, an unsubtle score that emphasizes how you should feel and when you should feel that way, and a narrative that lacks any compelling human interest.

While recognizable faces like Chris Hemsworth, Brendan Gleeson, and Benjamin Walker may prolifically grace the screen, they may as well be up-and-coming actors with how little personality Howard and Leavitt have given them. Everybody here doesn't feel invested in the screenplay, nor too motivated or entranced by the story and legacy of "Moby Dick." This isn't necessarily the actors' fault because there's nothing to really grab on to in terms of their character nor their motivations. Everybody speaks with that stunning coldness that dehumanizes people in films and leaves them as nothing more than empty vessels that spew dialog when required. Not a single line of dialog in this film resonates, and when you have four characters stranded at sea and made even more helpless by the presence of a dangerous behemoth of a whale, nearly every word should have some sort of resonation or, at the very least, carry some weight.

But "In the Heart of the Sea" never really finds itself focusing on the story's vast setting of the ocean, due to the fact we have to keep cutting back to Melville talking to Nickerson in his old age. The constant desire and impulse to change settings in order to break free from one core setting is the biggest screen writing flaw with films that should be confined to a sole setting. We have the potential to feel as trapped and as wayward as the characters, but by constantly backpedaling or flashing-forward, there is no locational connection. Throw in a score that needs to capitalize on every emotional occurrence in the film to make the audience realize that what we're witnessing should effect us in some manner, and you have a film with desperately little confidence in its audience.

"In the Heart of the Sea" was originally going to be released in March of 2015, but was pushed back until December, yet had release date conflicts with "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens" and was pushed up a week in advance (because, you know, that one week advantage over "Star Wars" will guarantee that everyone who wants to see this film will see it and then not totally forget about it the next week in favor of the biggest film of the decade). A lot of effort to try and obtain Oscar nominations that this film likely won't get and doesn't deserve.
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Soulless and Flat - No Heart
ken5584 December 2015
The movie sets out to imbue one with a sense of ol' seaman adventure and intrigue, but very soon falls into mediocrity with at best borderline competency.

The premise holds neither interest nor meaning - you think a scene would lead somewhere, but scene after scene it just leads to "so what?, who cares?" territory. Scripting is a huge problem - dialogues are mundane, pretentious and stilted. None of the characters capture any attention as characters. Chris Hemsworth got to count on his good looks and appealing voice to generate interest, and little from the character. Brendan Gleeson's character (his acting is fine) turns out to be just downright pathetic and plain silly, and not the ol' seaman with a woe-so-great gravitas the character was supposed to be. The talents of the likes of Cillian Murphy wasted on another pointless character. Ben Whishaw's character is just childishly idealistic and annoying to boot. Other cookie-cutter characters whisk in and out with no depth nor believable motivation.

The premise of many scenes make little sense. Supposed experienced seamen simply lounging in an empty boat with no capabilities of open seas survival is laughable - even our boy from Life of Pi did better. Simply drawing lots as to who will get cannibalized next - huh? And scattering human bones of comrades you ate inside a tiny boat - huh?

The whales, especially 'the' whale, should be an important 'character' requiring development - however, it is just made to be a lumbering vengeance seeking bully, a visual tail flipping thingy. Nothing else.

The only reason to see this is for Chris Hemsworth good looks and the fact that currently there is no other ol' seaman movie around - so this soulless 'Heart of the Sea" is both the best and worst there is at Dec 2015.
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A Movie that Should Not Have Been
speedy-droid10 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The film is well-made, the actors do a good job, and it's a powerful story. The problem is that the story just doesn't make a good movie. The filmmakers had to stretch hard to get the limited amount of action that the movie contains, and although the story is powerful, there is no high drama and there are no heroes.

The bit of drama that hits the hardest is entirely fiction...

Chase had no "Moment of Truth" with the whale. In fact, he continued with a long and prosperous career in the whaling industry, eventually even having his very own whaling ship built. This is documented history -- his ship's name was Charles Carroll.
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