In the Heart of the Sea was originally supposed to release in March 2015 but was delayed to Christmas 2015, therefore battling in cinemas against the unstoppable force that is Star Wars. Apparently through looking at how people were responding to the early promotions of the movie, they felt a winter release would suit the tone of the movie better. I am wondering if they delayed it to a time when more people would be in the cinema to give it a better chance, because honestly, it probably wouldn’t have a chance otherwise.
In this story, that supposedly inspired Herman Melville’s Moby Dick novel, we see Chris Hemsworth play Owen Chase, a father to be and sailor who is an expert in killing whales and collecting the oil within them (this is before humans discovered oil underground). Owen joins a ship called “Essex” captained by a less experienced George Pollard, played by Benjamin Walker. George leads the ship towards danger through his uninformed decision making where they eventually wander into an area which is home to a large number of whales. An impossibly large white whale has some kind of vendetta against all humans and does everything it can to kill as many of them as possible.
The movie portrays a terrible time at sea into a very mediocre movie. The biggest selling point of this movie is the visual effects and CGI: strong wind and rain pelting against a sailing boat, a whale flinging it’s self into the air down onto a small rowing boat and a whale flicking its fin throwing water into the air. These are some of the scenes that are shown in a very dramatic and often visually pleasing way however does occasionally seem a bit too over the top and often distracts from the story. I genuinely think that probably 20% of the shots in this movie were CGI only. I ended up rooting for this whale.
The acting was fine, but the story didn’t really stretch anyone greatly. The script was quite good, given the story they were trying to tell was fairly unbelievable, especially when they’re boasting that it’s "based on the incredible true story that inspired Moby-Dick". The movie felt like an odd combination of "The Life of Pi", "Jaws" and "Cast Away". It became something I wouldn’t class as entertaining, but rather a mishmash of visual effects and a murderous whale obsession which became In the Heart of the Sea.