In the Heart of the Sea attempts to be an epic adaptation of Nathaniel Philbrick’s true recounting of the events surrounding the sinking of the whaleship Essex (In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex). Philbrick’s novel is a masterpiece which is a riveting and heart-wrenching tale of a white whale which attacked and sunk the Essex. These events inspired Melville’s, Moby Dick. While the events of Philbrick’s novel are true, they are so astounding the tale defies one’s imagination. Ron Howard has attempted to bring the stories of the Essex to the big screen in magnificent fashion. Howard spins an interesting twist by introducing Herman Melville as an important character investigating the stories of the Essex as research for his future book, Moby Dick.
Unfortunately, this film was an utter failure. I was so looking forward to this film and unfortunately was very disappointed. Ron Howard’s attempt to combine Moby Dick and the true accounts of the whaleship Essex resulted in a loss of focus which left me confused as to what this film was even trying to attempt. Understanding who the hero of the film was proves to be was difficult as well. Was I to be rooting for the white whale or for Chris Hemsworth (First Office Owen Chase)? Was this a story about Moby Dick, Herman Melville, or the tragedy of the Essex? I felt confused and conflicted throughout the film, never knowing what direction we were headed
More specifically there were several moments in the film where I was dragged out of being lost in the story. One example was when Ron Howard introduced several sequences when the whale destroyed the ship. The destruction mirrored nearly scene by scene moments when the Orca was destroyed in the movie Jaws. There were musical elements that mimicked the scenes as well which left me annoyed and gave me the sense that this film was not to be taken seriously.
Casting was also exceptionally poor. This film was way above Chris Hemsworth’s acting ability. The contrived tension between Capt. Pollard (Benjamin Walker) and Hemsworth’s character was annoying and unbelievable. The only decent acting role was that of Cillian Murphy who played Matthew Joy, Hemsworth’s childhood friend who joined him on the journey.
The overall plot line of In the Heart of the Sea was predictable and boring. Hero who begins a journey. Hero is blocked. Hero finds his antagonist. Insert three or four dilemmas of stressful moments. Add scenes of endurance and conclude with a happy ending. I am truly disappointed in this film as I have been looking forward to it for a long time. While I was able to see the film for free, I still would like to have my babysitting money back. I would not even consider this a Netflix film.
Thank you Ron Howard for all of your other great films. I guess you are entitled to one disaster.