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Nerdlocker Movie Review: The Finest Hours

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Disney’s new action-thriller, The Finest Hours, is based on “the remarkable true story of the most daring rescue mission in Coast Guard history.” It’s a forgettable, formulaic, bore of a boat movie that wastes it’s talented cast and doesn’t do the incredible true story it’s based on justice.

There’s nothing memorable about The Finest Hours. The writing, the characters, and the visual effects are all bland. Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, and Ben Foster have successfully demonstrated their acting chops in other features but none of their characters have any depth here. Affleck is slightly interesting as the chief engineer aboard a damaged oil tanker, but that’s only because there’s an unintentional comedic aspect to his performance. Disliked by his peers and seemingly unfazed by the dreadful circumstances, it kind of feels like he’s doing an SNL style parody of Matt Damon’s character from The Martian. That’s not a good thing, but it’s my only ‘positive’ takeaway from a movie that left me cold and emotionally detached; uncaring, ready to abandon ship.

It’s a shame that the whole thing feels so generic and constructed, given the story it’s based on. The excessive use of CGI and the unnecessary 3D is off putting and the overall look of the film is drab. The action is disguised behind excessive rain and fog and the lack of detail is obscured with frantic camerawork. Nothing looks or feels realistic or leaves any kind of lasting impression. Carter Burwell’s ultra saccharine score is annoyingly manipulative and doesn’t ring true.

Because it’s Disney, and because of heavy promotion, people will flock to see this by-the-numbers disaster flick. Most won’t find it as deplorable, but compared to other movies that take place on boats, ships, and submarines, The Finest Hours doesn’t hold water. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The African Queen, All Is Lost, Crimson Tide, Das Boot, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Moby Dick, and Titanic are all better options if you’re in the mood for a nautical adventure. I had a more enjoyable experience with Ron Howard’s recent film In the Heart of the Sea than I did with The Finest Hours. It has enough likable characters and memorable moments to forgive it’s shortcomings. It’s also a movie that I will revisit at some point, unlike the one reviewed here.

2 out of 5 Nerdskulls

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Salty Winters once said, "Everything I learned I learned from the movies." He was quoting Audrey Hepburn.