Reviewed Jul 11, 2012
Films that are based around animals can be found scattered through film history. Either revolving around a specific animal, in movies such as 'K:9', or through a situations involving animals, 'Free Willy', these type of films do not generally compete well with the more octane natured blockbusters. No, these movies succeed in other areas and therefore do not need to emulate action movies in the way that they are produced. Showcasing human nature, emotion and heart warming moments, animal focused movies ask more from the audience, and if audience members can give over what is asked then the majority will leave people with strong emotions long after the film has finished. Luckily 'Big Miracle' is one such movie that although slow in some places, draws together scenarios to show how good the natural world is and humans in relation to this.
This film is based on a true story that occurred in 1988 that lead to an international effort, uniting many countries in the hope of rescuing three gray whales that are stuck under the ice near Point Barrow, Alaska. After noticing the three whales, smalltown news reporter Adam Carlson decided to run a feature, in hoping to gain an opportunity to move up to larger TV audiences. His news story however becomes large than first thought, drawing massive international attention and uniting several hostile factions; Eskimos, Greenpeace, an Oil baron, ambitious news reporters, the US National Guard and politicians, who aim to free the whales any way they can. However through their rescue attempt, various obstacles occur resulting in soviet naval officers and a young pair of entrepreneurs entering the task. This film follows their story, with the hope of showing true human emotion and teamwork of the strongest nature. Like most movies based on true stories, this film perfectly outlines a incident that many audience members would not remember and as such it is a very enlightening film. However, with periods of slow scenes, this film can border on becoming dull, but if able to stay interested throughout, this film is a one that runs deep in what it is trying to achieve.
Being based on a true story, this film had to cast actors that looked the counterpart to those people who were involved in the original incident. On the most part this film achieves this, with a montage of real footage shown at the end to outline to the audience who these people actually were. Drew Barrymore looks very much like the real activist, and portrays her in a way that allows her to become annoying to audience members but also to show true heart. John Krasinski, as Adam, allows his character to only show subtle signs of ambition, this allows him never to take away from the true purpose of this film. One actor that does not fit the real life counterpart well is Dermot Mulroney, as Colonel Scott Boyer. It seems with this film the production team wanted to incorporate a more hollywood type army officer and therefore the film does not feel as organic and natural as it could have done. This is the only bad casting in the film, and it can be forgiven for doing this.
Big Miracle is a film that outlines and further presents aspects in life that are good. The cast perform remarkably well and the film is easy to watch. It outlines a incident in the past that most people will not remember and should be seen as enlightening and touching, something the film team strived to achieve.