Movie Review – The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm

Directed by Wolfgang Peterson

Starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane, Karen Allen, William Fichtner, Bob Gunton, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.

I will confess, I had zero expectations towards The Perfect Storm. The TV spots weren’t grabbing me, and most descriptions I read online made it sound like some kind of lame Titanic wannabe. I was going to skip over it completely this summer, but I’ve seen a few other blockbusters now, and the trailer for The Perfect Storm seemed to be in front of each one. The trailers made it look better than the TV spots, and so I took a “what the hey? I’ll see it” attitude towards it.

Capt. Billy Tyne (Clooney) is the captain of the Andrea Gail, a swordfish boat, and he’s hit the biggest slump of his career. The fish just aren’t biting for him, and the season is coming to a close. His crew, led by a rookie (Wahlberg) is starting to lose faith in their captain. Things just aren’t good for this crew. Out of desperation, Tyne takes his boat out one last time, knowing that the fish are out there, and that this time they’ll bite for him. He takes the boat further out than ever before, and he hits paydirt. They get a hold full of fish, but their ice machine is broke. They’ve got to get home, and quick. It’ll mean plowing through a hurricane, but they’ll do it. But, unbeknownst to them, the hurricane has escalated into a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon known as a “perfect storm.” Can the crew survive this perfect storm? Will the rookie get back home to his girl, who’s weathering the storm at home? Will the coast guard rescue the crew in time?

This is just one damn good movie. I don’t know what life on a real fishing boat is like, but if it’s anything like this, sign me up. The crew are just a bunch of average folks, and reminded me of my time on a gravel crusher all those summers ago. All the advertising seems to be leaving out the sub-plot about the Coast Guard’s search, which is just as good as the main plot. Mastrantonio adds just the right touch as the captain of a rival boat, and a love interest for Clooney. The special effects are just amazing. We get to see cargo ships and supertankers trying to weather the storm. And the ending! It actually made me cry. A few minor quibbles (the score was done by the same guy who did the music for Titanic, and at times it sounds like Titanic leftovers), but don’t let that stop you. SEE THIS MOVIE!

3.5 Nibs

Movie Review – The Patriot

The Patriot

Directed by Roland Emmerich

Starring Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, Tchéky Karyo, and Rene Auberjonois.

“From the creators of Independence Day…. No words in a coming attraction seem to stir my blood more. ID4 still ranks up there as one of my all-time favorite movies. I think I’m the only person on the planet who’ll defend Godzilla. So, when I read that “the creators of Independence Day were teaming-up with the guy who wrote Saving Private Ryan to do an epic about the American Revolution, I could hardly wait. When I was in the theater to see The Patriot, and the lights dimmed, I said to myself, “OK, Roland. Justify my love!”

Mel Gibson is Benjamin Martin, a former soldier who has done terrible things in his past. But, he’s retired now, and focusing on raising his seven children, and tending to his farm. He’s trying to put his past behind him, and move on with his life. But, things are never as easy as they seem. The year is 1776, and the American colonies have just declared their independence. A revolution is brewing, and Martin wants no part of it. But his eldest son Gabriel (Ledger) believes it’s a cause worth fighting for, and joins the militia against his father’s wishes. A few months pass, and soon the war is literally taking place in Martin’s backyard. His second-eldest son is murdered by the cruel Col. Tavington (Issacs) of the Green Dragoons, and Martin is just royaly pissed off. Martin then joins the militia for two reasons: vengeance for his second-eldest son, and to watch over Gabriel. Oh, and along the way, he falls for the sister of his deceesed wife (Richardson), who’s watching over the rest of his kids. Will Martin learn that there is more to this war than vengeance? Will he come home alive?

I know a lot of people who hated ID4 for its blatent Americanism. Well, that team has managed to create a movie that’s even more rah-rah for the red, white and blue. But then, it’s their revolution, so what did you expect? Emmerich proves once again that his forte is with the big explosions and action scenes. The sweeping vistas of battleships in harbours and the battle scenes are breath-taking, but the human stories in between just seem to be lacking something. Mel, as always, is Mel, and manages even to get in some good comic scenes, but there’s nothing specatcular about his performance. But, I do like Rene Auberjonois (Odo on Deep Space Nine), and he pops up in a small role as a preacher. Who knows? Maybe I’ve grown up, but the creators of Independence Day haven’t. Ultimatley, I have the same complaint about this film that I had about Titan A.E.: it’s good, but I so wanted it to be great.

2.5 Nibs