The Finest Hours, yet another heroic tale about individuals who defy the limits of nature to pull off miracles. Disney certainly enjoys capitalizing on these tales in the early seasons don’t they? Chis Pine leads the cast in this story about a small band of coast guards ordered to brave a massive storm to rescue a crew onboard a capsizing tanker. Can this inspirational drama stand out from the sea of other similar tales, or has Disney just pumped out another feat of mediocrity in an effort to obtain money? Let’s analyze shall we?
When it comes to a drama like this an engaging tale is required as the backbone of the movie. Fortunately the Finest Hours manages to accomplish this by taking a straightforward plot and presenting it in fantastic way. The film follows the whole incident from three different perspectives that intertwine across the full two hours. This dynamic approach gave you the full picture and continued to spice things up as they illustrated the dangers faced on all fronts. As such, there is sure to be some part of the tale that audiences will enjoy that will bait your attention in this straightforward tale. Unfortunately, the tale is very predictable and lacked suspense for me, especially knowing the outcome thanks to the trailers with only the ambiguity of who would survive the ordeal. At least the love component is not to mushy to become cheesy and annoying so that’s an added benefit.
Let’s jump to the acting now. Chris Pine grabs the part by the horns and takes it full throttle. His portrayal of Bernie Webber was a nice balance between bravery and hesitation as he tackles the challenges before him. While his accent is funny to hear at first, it eventually grows on you and adds some endearment to the character. Holliday Grainger’s portrayal of Miriam was okay, a nice portrayal of a strong, brave woman whose verbal and non-verbal acting brought the courageous nature of this woman to life. However, the trailers made her out to be more involved with the process and I was disappointed with her limited interactions in the film. But best actor in this film goes to Casey Affleck, who played the deepest role of the bunch as the chief engineer. The emotions to which he had to balance were challenging, but I feel Affleck kept the character grounded and realistic on all fronts, thereby making his feats all the more impressive. All the other actors hit their mark well, but there are too many to cast in such a short amount of space.
Perhaps the strongest quality of the movie though is the cinematic magic and special effects that brought the true suspense. The Finest Hours’ computer animation is on point, with the deadly snow storm brought to life with high-definition details and incredible sound editing. I was brought into the storm, feeling the misery and despair the foreboding nor’easter brought to our sailors as the fury of the sea was unleashed. In the belly of the tanker, the chaos of sinking ship was brilliantly recreated that didn’t involve the over use of pyrotechnics and explosions (take a hint Michael Bay). Special effects aside the cinematography was a key aspect in bringing the emotions to the scenes. Our cast of characters do a nice job delivering their lines, but it’s the nonverbal acting that really delivers the punch. The camerawork is stable through and through (again pay attention Bay) and captures all the detail despite the aggressive winds and waves. And the symphony soundtrack only adds an extra kick to subtly make the scenes complete.
The Finest Hours is certainly not the most original, or unique movie from Disney’s collective vault. However, while it is not the most entertaining tale, it does highlight the important qualities of faith, duty, honor, and a slew of other morals that people harp on. The visual effects of this studio are certainly the highlight of this movie, which may be further enhanced by a 3-D showing. Overall, I’m satisfied with the work Disney studios did and feel this a movie most will enjoy.
My recommendations for audience members who will like it are: older generations from that time period, fans of inspirational tales, and those who appreciate good cinema magic. I also believe this movie is worth a trip to the theater, thanks to the cinematic qualities.
My scores overall:
Movie Overall: 7.0