Directed by Ron Howard
2 hours, 1 minute
From Warner Bros
It wasn't bad. It just wasn't anything special. And it certainly wasn't up to par with films one may associate with Ron Howard. Maybe his best days are behind him. I hope not.
It is based on a true story of an 1820 encounter of the crew aboard the Essex with the biggest damned whale you have ever seen. And after it turns the Essex into sticks, the crew is stranded 90 days at sea. The framing of this tale has writer Herman Melville interviewing one of the survivors and the film goes back and forth between that interview and the action at sea. Melville, of course, used it for the basis of his great novel, Moby Dick.
It serves little purpose in outlining more of the unexceptional story but there are a couple of points worth making. Thanks to CGI the whale scenes are terrific. There probably should have been more of them. I confess that when I saw the previews and being a big fan of adventure films, I thought... I gotta get to this one. Opening day, first showing, seemed soon enough to me. The other point is the sluggish pace. It had a clunky feel to me and I sure didn't expect that from a Ron Howard film and certainly not for any film that regards itself as an adventure piece.
Exciting previews notwithstanding, I half expected it would be somewhat unremarkable. I first saw previews for it a year ago. They tried to get us geared up for an early 2015 release and then I read that it was going to be delayed until now. Never a good sign. If anything it should have been a summer release to capitalize on the crowd that really doesn't expect much from films except CGI, fights, car chases, comic books and space. Putting this film out now, among all those awards contenders, was just plain foolish. Wait til Netflix... it shouldn't be too long.
If you see it differently than I do, feel free to tell me. And if you're Ron Howard, I'd like to know what attracted you to this one that seems too ordinary to interest you after years of such wonderful films.