In the Heart of the Sea, review: ‘Awash with second rate CGI’

09:23 18 December 2015

In the Heart of the Sea. Picture: Warner Bros. Pictures

In the Heart of the Sea. Picture: Warner Bros. Pictures


This true story of the whaling disaster that inspired Moby Dick is too clearly a star vehicle for Chris Hemsworth, says Michael Joyce.

In the Heart of the Sea is a telling of the true story – the sinking of the whaling ship The Essex in 1820 – that inspired Moby Dick. The film opens with Melville (Ben Whishaw) arriving at the home of the last remaining survivor (Brendan Gleeson) and bribing him to reveal the full truth of the story.

We know that a great white whale is likely to pop up in this narrative but as the film opens it looks more like a rerun of Mutiny On The Bounty. Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) is an experienced but lowly-born seaman who had been promised the captaincy on his next voyage but finds himself forced to be first mate to the inexperienced Captain Pollard (Walker), a member of the family that runs the company.

Just as Chase and the crew quickly come to mistrust and resent his poor leadership, the viewer will quickly realise that this film isn’t up to the task of conveying the story properly. It is awash with second rate CGI and poorly executed action sequences. Your heart sinks early on when Hemsworth is having his off-to-sea talk with his pregnant wife against a clearly artificial backdrop. After that, there is barely a convincing moment in the film. Even the big action sequences are muddled through in a blur of quick edits and incoherent dialogue. How much of this is down to budgetary limitation is unclear but it is all very disappointing.

It is also too bluntly a star vehicle for Hemsworth. He makes a great Thor or James Hunt, but only seems to be effective playing overblown, parody heroes.

Rating: 2/5 stars

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