There’s nothing like a great, epic sea-faring yarn. And, that’s right, this is nothing like a great, epic sea-faring yarn.
Based upon a true story; one that is still heralded to this day as the greatest sea-faring rescue mission by the U.S coastal guard to ever have happened, The Finest Hours chronicles the daring exploits of ‘unlikely’ hero, Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), and his rag-tag assortment of inexperienced seamen on their mission to save a number of stricken crew members aboard half of an oil tanker – that’s right, half of an oil tanker – the other half having been shorn away by 70 foot waves in uncommonly rough seas during one of the worst storms ever to have hit the U.S east coast.
You certainly can’t argue that The Finest Hours has all of the ingredients to make an engaging, albeit straight forward piece of cinema, so quite how director Craig Gillespie and Disney have come up which such a damp squib of a film, is a bit of a head scratcher.
Right from the off, a limp set of sequences introduces us to a set of characters so beige, poorly drawn and uninspired, that you’d swear you were watching a made-for-TV matiné movie on the Hallmark channel. Add to this a ‘by-the-numbers’ script of massively contrived dialogue and a lead character, Bernie, whose soft voice, bowed head and bashful mannerisms, make him perhaps the least convincing ‘heroic’ boat captain since Laurel and Hardy stepped aboard in Saps at Sea.
Unlike the impressive, rolling waves of this 1952 storm, The Finest Hours, with maybe a handful of notable CGi-infused exceptions, is, in stark contrast, largely flat and lifeless, failing to hit the mark spectacularly on occasions. Indeed, even the effects are at times suspect. Not quite, ‘the studio’s summer temp, on set, flinging buckets of water at the boat’s crew from stage left’ suspect, but suspect none the less.
Rarely has such a relatively stella cast, (including the likes of Casey Affleck, John Ortiz and Eric Bana), ever been rendered quite so uninspiring and disengaging, barely lifting this drab, salty saga into the realms of even the mundane.
I’d imagine I’m not the target audience for this two hours of sanitised marine driftwood, and it’s only fair to admit that it’s not bad in that Roland Emmerich, 2012 – angry at the mere thought of it – sense of the word, but let’s just say this; in marine terms, The Finest Hours is a piece of seaweed, bobbing limply on a still ocean; and not even one of those vaguely interesting pieces with the poppable air pockets in it.