Keep It Reel Reviews

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Big Miracle (2012)

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By: Staff Writer Nathaniel Brayton

Rated: PG

1 hr 47 min

This film is inspired by a true story and stars Fred, Wilma, and Bamm Bamm, three whales trapped under solid ice on their journey south.

If you are one of those people like me, who pretends to talk on their cell phones to avoid Greenpeace while walking down the street, than this film is not for you!

I’m just kidding . . . to an extent, because one of the flaws that I found with this movie is that it constantly berates the audience with its talk of Greenpeace, preserving the environment, and saving the whales. I know those arguments are at the film’s core, but it didn’t need to push it’s political agenda that hard.

However, Big Miracle did do some things better than other movies in this genre. First of all, this is a family movie that did politics well. Every single plot string is tied to some political scheme or agenda and while most of that stuff if boring for children, I believe Big Miracle made it simple and funny enough without taking away any of the significance. That’s something truly remarkable, in my opinion.

The second thing that the movie did well was portraying the native people of Alaska, who wanted to use the three trapped whales for food, in a positive light. The audience gets to hear the head captains of the town talk about how they need the food to survive and how they want their children to learn how to hunt, which was really cool. Then, after the media gets ahold of the whale story, they have to discuss how the rest of the world is going to look at them (if they decide to kill the whales) and what it means for the future of their town’s survival. To me, that was the most interesting and important part of the movie.

The biggest flaw of this movie comes in the form of a story arch involving the grandchild of the most respected captain. This boy wants to leave Alaska and doesn’t care much for the old customs of his grandfather. The film tries to show how he changes over time, after he gets emotionally involved with the whales, but I just didn’t think it was smooth or believable. In fact, I think they could have left the kid out of the movie completely and it would have been better.

Now, on to the cast, which is both good and bad. Lets start with John Krasinski. He was by far the best actor in the whole film. He plays a genuinely nice reporter who first breaks the whale story. Drew Barrymore plays his ex-girlfriend, who is a political protestor and an important part of Greenpeace. She raises hell at city meeting and is a nuisance for politicians. However, honestly, I felt that she was over the top and just really annoying at times. They do not put much make-up on her, which is a nice touch and makes her character more believable. You also have hot Kristen Bell who was awesome at first, as a LA reporter looking to break out, but the direction they took with her was so lame. And the last person I am going to mention is Ted Danson. I think he’s a wonderful actor but he was just plain silly. My best guess is that they tried to play up their characters to appeal to the children. However, it was at the expense of quality acting.

Something positive that the movie did well was the whales. The special effects are amazing and all of the whales look life-like. To me, the technology used looks very similar to Jurassic Park, which I’m sad not more movies use.

Overall, Big Miracle was a touching story but the over the top feel doesn’t set the right mood. However, if you want to learn more about the event, check out the videos below.

7.0 out of 10

 “Are you Mexican? Only at work.”

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