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Review: Bad times at the El Royale

Written and directed by Drew Goddard, “Bad times at the El Royale” is a thriller set at the El Royale, a hotel that straddles the state lines between California and Nevada, while housing a number of guests with pasts as mysterious as the hotel itself. It’s a shame this film didn’t find its audience at the box office, it grossed only a pittance over seven million during its opening weekend, because I loved this film. The cast is the single greatest asset of the film, but the writing, cinematography, and twisty turns that the plot takes are also incredibly well executed. Much like Quentin Tarantino in the compartmentalization of the story beats with reveals and flashbacks, not to mention some classy stylistic choices, Goddard perfectly poises the seven strangers that collide into each other’s lives that day at the past-its-prime establishment. Each character has a past that clearly identifies their motivations and intent- but the film strings along it’s secrets at the perfect pace to keep the audience on edge and curious as to what the hell is happening at any interval.

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Set in the late 1960’s, the film opens with motown R&B singer Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo) and Father Daniel Flynn (Jeff Bridges) making small talk on their way into the hotel. Upon crossing the threshold they find an empty lobby, with the exception of fast-talking vacuum salesman Laramie Seymour Sullivan (Jon Hamm) searching the cupboards for coffee. Eventually the young and anxious concierge Miles Miller (Lewis Pullman) is successfully summoned and begins to dole out room keys before the last guest, Emily Summerspring (Dakota Johnson), arrives abruptly- with a hearty nonchalant attitude.

Once everyone is introduced and acquainted the film is split into vignettes concerning each room and its tenants. Every character has their own goals throughout the film and as each is unveiled the timeline of overlapping events becomes clearer. The standout performances of the cast were Jeff Bridges as Father Flynn and Cynthia Erivo’s Darlene Sweet. Erivo was a breakout talent here with heart and a crystalline wit about her- she won’t suffer any fools, not anymore. Bridges’ tragic Flynn has more to his tale then he lets on, but then again every character involved does. Chris Hemsworth’s Billy Lee steals the show once he enters the frame, though he isn’t present until the third act is underway. A self absorbed cult leader channeling the likes of Jim Jones and Charles Manson, Billy Lee’s appearance is due to the actions of Ruth (Cailee Spaeny), a younger woman in her late teens seemingly obsessed with the cultist, who also appears to be kidnapped by the ever cynical Emily.

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I don’t want to dive too deep into the plot details, mainly because I believe that this is one of those films that’s better with less information going into the movie, but also because there’s a lot to unpack with each new character’s introduction and all of the secrecy that accompanies them. If you enjoy a good mystery based in the world of a crime thriller, you’ll probably enjoy your time with this film. This is the kind of movie that I tend to gravitate towards, but not everyone will appreciate the slow burn approach to this tale either. At roughly two and a half hours, this film is a bit beefier than most concerning runtime- but I personally thought the pacing and intrigue was executed well enough to never lose interest. I can only speak to my own experience though, as I’ve heard the runtime negatively effected some viewers opinions.

Final Score: Seven strangers meet under serendipitous circumstances

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Review: Avengers 3 Infinity War

*WARNING* This review will be full of spoilers, you have been warned!

Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, “Avengers: Infinity War” is the third superhero event film under the Marvel banner and the culmination of ten years of interconnected storytelling across all eighteen previous films. If you’ve been following these Marvel movies and are up to date then you will gleam the most out of the two and a half hour epic that is Infinity War. However if, by some chance, you’re just now considering a Marvel movie marathon and are curious as to which movies are most necessary for this latest Avengers movie, I believe about half of them are required viewing (Iron Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: Civil War, The Avengers, Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1, Dr. Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther). The rest help to build upon the structure, and character development, of the cinematic universe, but that list will get you mostly acquainted with what’s going on.

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So, we’re finally here. After hearing about and seeing several of the infinity stones throughout these films, and with a couple cameos from the mad titan himself, does the film live up to the monumental expectations that Marvel Studios has built? Yes. I can answer that wholeheartedly with a resounding yes. Infinity War is a monumental feat of crossover film-making and it makes the once grandiose events of the first Avengers seem minuscule in comparison. The film follows the wake of destruction left by Thanos and his black order as they seek out the six infinity stones and crisscross the cosmos to implement the will of the mad titan. The opening scene perfectly showcases who Thanos is and why we should be afraid for the fate of our superheroes. After laying waste to Thor and the Asgardian refugees’ ship Thanos quickly bests the Hulk in a fistfight, takes the Tesseract from Loki before killing him, and completely destroys their ship leaving Thor to drift unconsciously through space. Heimdall was able to send the Hulk off to Earth before being murdered by the Black Order and as the incredible hero smashes through Dr. Strange’s staircase in New York City, Bruce Banner comes with a dire warning, “Thanos is coming..”

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Dr. Strange quickly grasps the magnitude of the problem at hand as he grabs Tony Stark from a morning run with Pepper Potts, but it isn’t long before Thanos Black Order arrive to make a power grab for the Time stone in the doctor’s possesion. Spider-Man also gets in the mix and we’re off to the races! The movie moves at break neck speeds jumping across space and back to service all of the various storylines in play but the Russo brothers have outdone themselves with this installment as everything flows naturally with the needs of the story. Now I won’t go beat by beat and describe the whole movie, but instead give a general sense of the scale and the threat that comes with Thanos seeking to wield his infinity gauntlet. Not to mention how the movie cleverly utilized it’s massive cast by breaking the characters off into various factions in different locations to best suit the needs of the story. For example, the Guardians of the Galaxy bump into Thor when responding to their distress signal and then separate into two teams, one consisting of Thor, Rocket, and Groot in order to seek out a “Thanos killing weapon” while the rest head to ‘Knowhere’ from their first movie as it’s the last known location of the reality stone. Iron Man and Spider-Man hitch a ride on the ship that the Black Order arrived in to save Dr. Strange from Ebony Maw on his way to Titan, while Captain America, Falcon, and Black Widow stave off an attack on Vision and the Scarlet Witch thanks to a heads up by Banner and eventually head to Wakanda as a last stand to keep Vision’s Mind stone in his head and not on the gauntlet of Thanos.

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The central theme of the movie is that, when pressed by Thanos and his cosmic conquering, will you trade one life for another? Several characters have this grueling predicament pushed on them, some make choices out of love, others for the fate of the universe, but ultimately they fail when crossing that line. The moral center of the MCU, Steve Rogers (aka Captain America), never falters in his moral code. Several times throughout the movie he reiterates to others that, “We don’t trade lives”. He discards the math of the scenario in giving a life to save millions, nay billions. He saves lives, he doesn’t play that game. That right there, might be the absolute best aspect of this film. All of the characters are true to their nature as established in the previous films. There is a palpable consistency to their actions and reasoning. The Guardians all feel like themselves, still making jokes and acting on impulse. Black Panther and Captain America leap into battle first and have unwavering foundations. Thor feels the most evolved since the ramifications of ‘Ragnarok’ changed the game for his films and overall nature, a kingly warrior burdened with grief, yet still able to convey humor as a fish-out-of-water situation with the Guardians. Consistency paired with well thought out plot-points and a very clever villain, possibly the best the MCU has seen yet, add up to one hell of a Marvel movie.

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With an ending as shocking as it is, I- and many other millions, cannot wait to see how these characters rebound and ultimately save the day. This is most definitely a part one, and with only two other films between now and (the still untitled) Avengers 4 that take place before the events of this movie, we’ll have to wait a year and see how this all unfolds. I cannot praise this movie enough, it was far more emotionally mature and full of dread than I expected. There were significant deaths, high stakes and excellent action, and on top of that the film still managed to be really funny at times. They did it. They really did it. The next challenge is to outdo themselves next year, which I have to say, is a tall order. I have faith in the Russo brothers though, their movies in the MCU have been some of the best entries in the superhero genre as a whole. Now all we have to do… is wait.

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Final Score: Infinite Avengers

THE CAST:
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man

Chris Hemsworth as Thor

Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow

Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange

Tom Holland (II) as Peter Parker/Spider-Man

Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther

Zoe Saldana as Gamora

Karen Gillan as Nebula

Tom Hiddleston as Loki

Paul Bettany as Vision

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch

Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon

Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier

Idris Elba as Heimdall

Danai Gurira as Okoye

Benedict Wong as Wong

Pom Klementieff as Mantis

Dave Bautista as Drax

Vin Diesel as Groot

Bradley Cooper as Rocket

Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts

Benicio Del Toro as The Collector

Josh Brolin as Thanos

Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord

William Hurt as Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross

Letitia Wright as Shuri

Peter Dinklage as Eitri

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill

and Ross Marquand as Red Skull

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Review: Thor Ragnarok

*There are some mild spoilers in this review, but nothing too revealing*

Written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher L. Yost and directed by Taika Waititi, “Thor Ragnarok” is the third installment in the “Thor” franchise and easily one of the finest additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Coming hot off the heels of Waititi’s last film “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” Ragnarok retains several actors from the kiwi adventure-comedy. Sam Neill shows up in a play on Asgard portraying Odin in a fun cameo while Waititi’s longtime collaborator Rima Te Wiata plays the role of the Grandmaster’s (Jeff Goldblum) security guard on the trash planet of Sakaar. This is a Thor film that sheds the weight of past films while embracing the greater cosmic scale that earlier films like “Doctor Strange” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” had already accelerated. But how did we get to this place? Let’s rewind a second and take a look at the franchise as a whole.

The first two “Thor” films, while having their fair share of fans and being generally well received, aren’t always near the top of the average moviegoers personal favorites of the MCU thus far. I believe one of the main reasons that’s led to this film being such a drastic departure from Thor’s past films was that Marvel Studios now has the confidence to embrace the more obscure aspects of their material after the successes of “The Guardians of the Galaxy” and it’s sequel. Marvel seems to know the conversation surrounding their brand of movies and taken some criticisms to heart. The studio now seems to embrace the expectations that their logo inspires as they’ve turned the tables on the audience by playing against these expectations. Which only reinforces my opinion that if you’re going to go make a sci-fi fantasy film, just go for it. Be unique, go for the weird and the unknown and see what works and what doesn’t. As it turns out, throwing the incredible Hulk into the far reaches of outer-space to fight aliens in a gladiator arena, while also having Thor attempting to stop the mythical end of Asgard called ‘Ragnarok’, is a pretty damn good idea.

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Since we’re playing in the sandbox of gods and kings, mythology and science fiction, it makes sense to acknowledge just how silly all of this really is. Taika Waititi never discredits the past or tosses around cruel or barbed comedy though- it’s all in good fun and is a refreshing change of pace for the franchise. In fact this year’s three releases from Marvel have been increasingly better at pairing comedy with their films. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”, “Spider-man Homecoming”, and this film all deftly weave comedy into their storylines without sacrificing quality or softening the threat of the villains of each story. I think it’s immensely important that neither James Gunn nor Taiki Waititi lost their comedic voices while engaging in the Marvel movie machine, Jon Watts might have also kept his comedic touches intact with the newest iteration of “Spider-Man” but I’m less familiar with his work. Though I’d be remiss not to mention the comedy gold in this film that is Korg, an alien gladiator made of rocks who also happens to be trapped on Sakaar-and portrayed by the director himself. If you’ve seen “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” imagine Ricky Baker as an alien rock gladiator- but with manners, and there you have it.

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So, there are essentially two things that made this film work as well as it did for me, the performances and the visuals. In various films throughout history there have been scene stealing actors or characters that charm us, fill our lungs with laughter, or terrify our very hearts-but this film is loaded those moments. There wasn’t a single character that overshadowed the rest of the cast. Each seemed to have something to contribute to the story or to keep the pace swiftly bouncing along with a joke or an escalation of violence that underlined the characters’ need to keep moving in the right direction. Taika Waititi has said that one of his chief intentions with the property was to make Thor the most interesting character in his own movie. This is something he succeeds in doing by stripping the character down, removing his hammer, forcing a new look upon the character, and dropping him in new environments with an earned confidence. The additions of Doctor Strange and Bruce Banner’s Hulk also have merit as they remain consistent while moving the various characters forward in development. Strange immediately whisks Loki away after the brothers arrive on Earth looking for Odin-a sign that he’s been studying and honing his craft of Sorcerer Supreme since his film’s end. Just as the Hulk has become a fully formed character after staying in his green form for two years while fighting, and winning, battles on Sakaar. New additions to the franchise weren’t ignored or phoned in either as Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie has a fully formed story arc that builds on Asgard’s past and towards it’s future. Cate Blanchett’s Hela was a fun creation of dangerous and menacing, though while there was some chewing some of the scenery at times, she remained a threat and clearly had fun on the production. Even Karl Urban’s Skurge, mostly a comedic relief character, has a complete arc across the film. Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster was a joy to watch though, perfectly becoming an amalgamation of the audience’s perception of Goldblum, a playful nod to his own film past, while also becoming the character as opposed to the character becoming a riff on Goldblum’s own tendencies. Idris Elba also returned as Heimdall, everyone’s favorite all seeing Asgardian. This time around he’s been an outcast of Loki’s rule on Asgard and leads a secret resistance against Hela’s invasion while sporting a costume fit for Aragorn’s Strider from “Fellowship of the Ring”.

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Which brings me to the visuals. Personally, I loved the blending of the science fiction and fantasy locales and vistas of the film. I never thought there would be a day when I would see the Incredible Hulk suplex-ing an undying giant wolf on the rainbow bridge of Asgard. That is something that’s outright amazing to me, and maybe that won’t do it for everyone, but I loved it nontheless. Everything from the barrage of colors on Sakaar to the fiery lava fields of Muspelheim from the opening scene to the vibrant earthy tones of Asgard were a dazzling visual feast. I also really loved the way Valkyrie’s backstory was shot with the Pegasus riding female warriors launching an attack against Hela years prior. It reminded me of the painting scene in Wonder Woman, but with more slow paced action taking place onscreen. Skurge also received this perspective while leaping from a spaceship into a crowd of undead Asgardians and wielding two AK-47s. The film as a whole was a joy to watch from beginning to end. This is the third film of Taika Waititi’s that I’ve seen and I will most assuredly be seeking out all that remains as soon as possible. This film was quite and enjoyable time and I highly recommend it. Though, if you’re not on the Marvel Studios bandwagon by now this one probably won’t sway you.

Final Score: Four Asgardian Gods and a Hulk

 

 

 

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Movie Pitch: Indiana Jones (5) and The Lost City of Atlantis

Now that we know Steven Spielberg will be directing the fifth Indiana Jones with Harrison Ford returning as the titular treasure hunter we can have some fun speculating in the meantime. What follows is not just a movie pitch, but an idea that I believe would make for a strong entry in the adventure series. Obviously, not all will agree, and that’s okay. Lets just all dream of a better Indiana Jones sequel together.

Okay, so:

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: *Not George Lucas

Cast: Harrison Ford, Shia Labeouf (patience), Daniel Day-Lewis, Chris Hemsworth & Mark Rylance

Plot:

It’s 1963 and Shia Lebouf’s Mutt from “Kingdom of The Crystal Skull” is on the trail of a South American war monger (Daniel Day-Lewis) that’s been manipulating villages into mind controlled slaves. Rumor has it the ruthless leader of the violent gang was seen with an artifact that allows for such a transformation over mind and body. Mutt tracks the gang but gets too close, seen, and caught. The man-in-charge leaves no prisoners and sends Mutt’s corpse back to the closest inhabited town to ward off any other would-be pursuers.

We find Dr. Jones examining a recently discovered temple in Central America when he receives word of Mutt’s demise. With Marion back stateside, bed ridden with a worsening case of alzheimer’s, Indy swears to find out the truth behind his son’s death. He leaves for South America with his most recent collegue, Samuel Kern, (Mark Rylance) an expert in diseases of the mind and tribal languages along with his steadfast assistant Kel Worth (Chris Hemsworth).

From there the group follows the trail of the band of criminals as they weave further into the jungle. Indy and company slowly piece together what they are after upon spotting them. It is not immediately revealed that Daniel Day Lewis’s character is a former Nazi, that comes later, but what they do figure out is that Lewis and his gang of miscreants are after the Lost City of Atlantis.. but why? To revive the catatonic body of Adolf Hitler that they have been hiding in secret all these years, of course. It turns out he was wounded upon their exit of Germany, the body that the allies found in the bunker was obviously an illusion to throw the allied governments off their trail.

The elite team of escaped Nazis want to raise Atlantis out of the depths because of the rumored healing properties and psyche warping abilities surrounding the small continent-city. I’d honestly love them to succeed until they get to the altar where Hitler is woken and placed in the device, only to have his face melt off similarly to the scene in “Raiders of The Lost Ark”, because who doesn’t want to see Hitler get his face melted off?

There’s a lot in play that could be changed or altered, but I believe there is a solid idea in there for a compelling return, and end, to the Indiana Jones film series.

Filmmaking ideas:

This film will need a lot of underwater shots. Who knows, maybe this will be what excites Spielberg the most, a new filmmaking challenge. He could even have James Cameron on as an advisor with his groundbreaking work in the waves.

I would almost entirely stick to on location shots, props, and huge sets as much as possible. Indiana Jones lived in the first half of the 20th century, and that was a far more palpable and tactile world than the one we live in now. At least in the romantic sense.

Mutt lives?

I feel like this could go either way. It would likely just be seen as fan service and a darker turn for the series so maybe killing the character off wouldn’t be the best bet. I wouldn’t want the character to go down the same path as Indiana Jones however, he should have his own story. I’d also be interested to see what Shia Labeouf himself would like to do with the character, with the amount of hate this movie (somewhat unfairly in my opinion but I recognize I’m in the minority on that one) received I doubt he would want to return unless it was worth his while. Maybe he’s thought of a tasteful way to end his character, or maybe he just wants an off screen death and nothing to do with the production. Although why anyone would want to turn down any amount of work with Steven Spielberg is beyond me.

Location of Atlantis

Originally I thought it could be fun to play with the myth of the Bermuda Triangle. The lost city’s docile effects on nature being the turbulent storms that the area is known for.. and mind warping, which could explain all the downed ships and planes over the years. However if we’re going with a more reality based concept Atlantis was probably located far closer to the “western world” at the time, Greece, Rome, etc. Although certain accounts only cite that it is “Far off in the Atlantic Ocean” and that it was “larger than Ancient Libya and Asia Minor combined”

Artifact that draws them to Atlantis

My Atlantis lore is a little rusty at best but all we really need is a good Macguffin, all of Indy’s stories have a solid one. Of course the screenwriters could simply make something up entirely that has no basis in lore, but if there was a viable object in particular that would be nice.

Casting

Obviously getting Daniel Day-Lewis for an Indiana Jones movie, especially as a Nazi on a quest to revive the Führer, would be difficult to say the least. Let’s be honest though, he’s won three academy awards for best actor, the man has absolutely nothing to prove. If he wanted to pursue a roll in one of cinema’s classic series and bring an unprecedented level of gravitas to a potentially generic role otherwise, why not? He’d probably have a great deal of fun in the process as well, but who am I to say? I’d simply just love to see him do it, especially after his scene stealing role in “Gangs of New York”.

I chose to add Mark Rylance to the crew because Spielberg loves to work with his regulars and adding Rylance to the series couldn’t hurt for the level of acting he would bring as well. Plus He’d be another knowledgable character to aide in the search for Atlantis.

Chris Hemsworth as Rylance’s assistant/personal body guard would add a youthful charisma to the team. He’s also entirely capable of acting as the tough and foreboding muscle, or a sort of “thief with a heart of gold” type. Plus somebody has to be able to throw a solid punch around besides Indy, and even he’s getting up there.

Thanks for taking the time to read and (hopefully enjoy) my musings on what I think would be a fun take on ending the Indiana Jones series now that we know we’ll be getting another one anyways. What would you like to see in the next/last Indiana Jones film? Let me know in the comments!

 

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantis

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Review: In The Heart of The Sea, OR “Thor & Spiderman fight a Whale”

*Note- I’ve changed to a five point rating system, it seems more relevant & useful*

Warning- Spoilers

‘In The Heart of The Sea’ is a film, directed by Ron Howard, that follows the real life tragedy of the whaling ship, The Essex out of Nantucket, Massachusetts in the early 1820’s. Named after the nonfiction book upon which the story is based, written by Nathaniel Philbrick, ‘In The Heart of The Sea’ is the story of two men and their distinct differences in leadership while on the vessel; first mate Owen Chase, Chris Hemsworth, & Benjamin Walker as Captain George Pollard. Hemsworth’s Chase is the man’s man of the picture, a seasoned blue collar Whaler that is placed on the Essex at the whim of the bureaucrats as a first mate instead of the role of Captain as he was promised. That position ends up being filled by George Pollard,  a snobbish, well-to-do blue blood with familial connections. And so the stage is set out as the two characters clash for authority and respect while out at voyage.

If the marketing of this film hadn’t informed you heavily enough the framing device utilized in the film will beat you over the head with the information that Herman Melville was obsessed by this story and that it’s details are what inspired the American literary classic ‘Moby Dick‘. We know this because the film opens thirty years after the events of the Essex as we follow a hopeful young author as he tracks down a lead to a story that has consumed him. Young Melville, portrayed here by Ben Whishaw, finds the last surviving member, Tom Nickerson, of the Essex and after much prodding the gentlemen begins to tell us his part in the tale. Young Nickerson, while portrayed adequately by Tom Holland, seemingly only exists to relay the story to our aspiring author years later within the context of the story, even though Owen Chase and Tom Nickerson are based on real life accounts of the first mate and cabin boy that truly survived the event almost two centuries ago. If the film had only used this device, of dialogue between an older Nickerson, portrayed by Brendan Gleeson, and Melville discussing these events only at the opening and close of the film it would have worked better but the film curiously plods back to get reactions of said sequences or actions, from Melville as he hears it. This is all fine and well in some regards but I really felt as though this disrupted the film’s flow.

Where the film shines is in it’s embrace of the themes of man vs man and man vs nature throughout the runtime. These moments capture what I feel the film was attempting to get more of, but failed slightly in that regard. The dialogue and tension between Pollard and Chase make otherwise longfelt sequences feel breezier. Although the film is long, I never truly felt as if the pace were particularly lacking, although admittedly I adore seafaring tales, so this might have been lost on me. Speaking of these two main characters, they represent more of the problems with the film as time goes on though. Weaknesses that lie in the characters as they are written, not necessarily the performances. There  was never enough done to make us feel particularly attached to any of the characters, and Pollard constantly makes poor, bullish, decisions that make his squaring off with the first mate less of an even footed rivalry and more of a one sided mutiny brewing as nobody liked, and isn’t meant to, the captain from the moment he was introduced to us onscreen.

When the whales finally do show up, they are menacing, or at least their actions show us that they are menacing, but we never get anything more compelling out of what they do, or represent onscreen other than the “vengance for my dead brethren” through-line. There are moments when Chase looks out upon the sea with whale blood speckling his face, almost as if he is pondering whether or not killing these animals was the right thing to do, even though his entire way of life depends on this savagery. The CGI whales do look good, but in all fairness they lack any true weight to the times they are onscreen, they are present and the white whale itself does mess their boat up royally, however there could have been other creative choices that either made the vengeful whale more intimidating, or more of a constant threat instead of the essentially one-and-done that we get when the action does go down. However there is a beautiful moment when first mate Chase seemingly realizes that they are no longer the hunters, but the hunted.

The cinematography, in my opinion, is admirably done but is not without its faults. It captures the tactile presence of the world these characters inhabit, as the boat fills with water and several characters are grabbing provisions we’ll get a close up on a wooden shelf with a whale drawing carved into the side. The boat truly feels lived in by this time. There are other moments when Howard makes this creative choice and I personally couldn’t agree more, to me it feels as though you are giving a real sense of implied time in a given place that resonates with those characters, as a closer look upon a worn in groove or another view of ropes sliding through pulleys that haul the fabric sail aloft you might be beckoned to think of the time spent out on that one boat for so long, and what it might do to a man. However, this creates a problem in that now there is almost more emotional investment in the set than the characters that inhabit it! And while I might not be all too bothered by the tight framing and almost claustrophobic camera movements at times, there can be an argument made for Howard missing out on the scope of the sea that surrounds them by doing so. Especially when you compare to the sequences of the whales that zoom way out and above the ship to give an, albeit needed, sense of scale. It simply feels disjointed when juxtaposed as they are.

Overall the film is thrilling at times and introduces us to similar themes that are far more excellently explored within ‘Moby Dick’, but the sea-faring thriller could just never live up to the bar set by the work that it inspired. If you want a movie to watch and kill some time before the new Star Wars comes out, this would be a fine, but certainly not perfect, addition.

Final Score: 3.5/5