Four coast guards have been sent out on a perilous journey in the middle of a Winter storm with 100km/h winds whipping about them. All the while, 33 men aboard the SS Pendleton (one of the shattered oil tankers) are doing all they can to stay afloat. One question has flooded their minds: Is anyone coming to help them? The main coast guard fleet has already been deployed to save the souls of the SS Fort Mercer (the other shattered tanker). But what is the fate of those men aboard the Pendleton? Craig Gillespie, the director of the film portrays to us what really made these The Finest Hours.
The floating feature of this film is that the events are based on a true story. Two ships really were split apart by the ocean and people did die. But it wasn’t a complete disaster because 32 of the 33 surviving souls were saved. The Finest Hours becomes a different film with this understanding. I emphasise this because once you realise that these men really did risk their lives, the events and emotions begin to resist the surreal stereotyping our brain applies. The typical “that’s just movie logic for you”. Instead, you will be captivated by the way Disney displayed the heroic acts those men performed on the 18th of February 1952.
This film had many significant aspects that drew me in. One in particular was the special effects. The special and visual effects department have recreated the raging storm, the swirling sea and the broken tanker. The detail they poured into each aspect of setting was breath-taking; the artificial waves seeming so realistic when crashing into the side of the ship. At some points I tried reaching out to touch the waves, they just seemed so real to me that I forgot where I was! Let me also commend the amazing 3-D experience; I highly recommend it. The action scenes within the film are definitely worth the higher ticket price. That said, those who aren’t fans of 3D as a general rule will not lose too much by instead watching The Finest Hours in 2D, either. This film would surely have lost the ability to lure me in if the effects department had been lacking; luckily, they are not. This film’s delicious visual palette can be indulge on from the opening sequence to the closing credits. Carlos Acevedo (director of visual effects) take a bow.
The acting also played a crucial part in the success of this film. The remarkable acting of Chris Pine, as protagonist Bernie Webber, has reeled me in, making me feel as if I were on that boat risking my life to save others. And I have strong feelings that I was not the only one who felt that way. He looks like a 50’s American, he walks like like a 50’s American and he sure does talk like a 50’s American. And his fiance, Miriam Webber, played by Holliday Grainger, has transformed into what you call a doll. Her pulsating red lipstick and curly brown hair reinforce the persistent and loving attitude of American women back in those days. It’s authentic, completely authentic. Their accent reminds me of the Americans I spoke to when I used to live in America.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this film to anyone who appreciates a story being told well, and who better to tell it then Disney? It has something for any viewer, romance, action, courage, the realisation that love can conquer all. I suggest grabbing onto all the emotional hooks, that way, when you surface to the climax, it’ll make your experience all the more worth it.