Ron Howard is the man behind the adaptation of the true story that was adapted by Herman Melville for Moby Dick. Or something like that. Either way, it’s Thor battling a giant whale out on the open sea, and that sounds like a solid time to me.
In The Heart Of The Sea does feature a worthwhile story (obviously). A hardworking whaler (Chris Hemsworth) who is next in line to have his own ship (the newly refurbished Essex) is instead given first mate status and saddled with taking care of a snobby, entitled greenhorn captain (Benjamin Walker). Naturally, they don’t get along, but that changes once a massive whale turns the tables and starts hunting them. Sounds like an intense adventure, right? Well, it isn’t. While In The Heart Of The Sea is an overall moderately enjoyable time at the theater, it’s a pretty vanilla affair. At no point did I feel wowed, or concerned for anyone in the film, and even the whale – the mythic, pissed off, ship-sinking whale – comes across as fairly tame. It’s very much as if Ron Howard set out to make the least offensive version of the story as he possibly could. Nailed it!
If you’re hoping for a swashbuckling adventure centered around a vengeful whale, then In The Heart Of The Sea is technically for you. You just shouldn’t expect any measure of swashbuckling to transpire in the film. Also, the whale stuff is alright but you’ll probably instantly forget all of it once the credits roll. Matinee it, if anything.
I won’t lie – I was really hoping the movie would be fantastic so that I could describe it as a “whale of a good time.” Missed opportunity. There’s a 79% chance that I’ll never forgive Ron Howard for this slight.