This is one of those terrible Hollywood fuck ups that’s strangely enjoyable but to be frank it’s dank in so many ways. It’s not all that hard to love a terrible movie, but usually that movie has no budget but while I have a love/hate relationship with this film it has much bigger problems which are more personal to the families involved in the real events.
Based on a true story, that is bound to be unknown to a majority of it’s audience, and using the real characters names without permission from the families and getting sued only added to the original hype. This film is loosely based on real events which sees a group of experienced fishermen head to rough seas in the search for a profit and encounter a super storm. it’s as simple as that. Obviously being Hollywood there are all the classic elements, a rivalry, a grudge match and a blossoming romance.
After coming back with a measly catch and after a few sly remarks from Bob Brown (Michael Ironside) Captain Billy Tyne (George Clooney) takes the Andrea Gail and it’s beaten down and crabby crew back out again to bring back a real fortune. With promises of the biggest catch ever recorded they set out totally fearless and with a glint in their eyes.
The acting is good, I won’t knock most of the cast but the accents are so dismal and most are dropped after a the first few words and nearly all abandoned by the end of the film, which is a godsend as none of them were all that accurate and just come across as a painstakingly annoying. While no one looked like an actual competent fisherman they do all look busy, so that’s distracting enough. Every character is another stereotype, the crying kid (omg those big doe eyes, it was like watching Bambi) the old craggy guy who can remember the last big storm who just hangs around the bar, the doting girlfriend who just has a “bad feeling” about this trip the list is endless, and this film does stink of Disney, but it’s watchable.
The guys get along well for some time, there is a spectacular hatred between Sully (William Fichtner) and Murph (John C Reilly), along with some snide remarks things do get physical and if that wasn’t enough drama there is a random shark attack and lots of bouncing around by waves fit for the apocalypse.
There is a fair share of action and each scene is equipped with a variation of “the theme tune” which does really start to grate on the nerves (I find making up words for it helps). But the big attraction is the now slightly dated special effects, it did the film some justice back in the day and still looks ok, possibly better than the hacked up mess of 300 – Rise of an Empire (2014) that came later but just didn’t’ put in the effort.
It’s a like-able film, despite the somber side to it like the family issues and fights between friends, poor Clooney having to swallow his pride and admit defeat that he’s just as shit as captain as he is as an actor.
Minimal attention is paid to the sea and scenery until the shit hits the fan, then the effects take over, and suddenly everyone is thrashing around in a giant swimming pool as epic waves crash about. Overall the film is inaccurate, is weak in acting, characters, script and drama, tries to apologize with a lot of dramatic and enhanced storm sequences, they are incredibly well done but I was left feeling cheated as there is just some eye candy and nothing else.
It’s still a guilty pleasure for me, I haven’t decided if it’s just the campness of the movie that makes me laugh at it, rather than we with it. but i do enjoy watching it from time to time. It does raise awareness of the stakes involved in our fishing industry and there is a great tribute page kept in honour of the original crew.
L Sea flicks, based on real events.
R: Twister (1996),
5B George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, William Fitchner,
A How far can Holywood go before it’s just totally unreal?