Ken Kwapis, Universal Pictures, 2012.
Starring: Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, John Pingayak, Kristen Bell, Time Blake Nelson, Stephen Root, Dermot Mulroney, John Michael Higgins, Kathy Baker and Ted Danson.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Question: Do you have that one animal that you absolutely adore? Perhaps you collect chachkes, always gravitate towards greeting cards with their pictures on it; or you have some other form of devotion like a certain wildlife conservation project you support. I would say dogs are my favorite animals but whales come in at a close second.
Quick explanation of why I like whales: When I was three years old I went into a toy store and apparently demanded this particular stuffed animal. According to my mother I had a tantrum and wouldn't stop holding it and saying, "Mine, mine, mine!" It was a stuffed whale. My parents gave in and bought it for me. I named him Herman and to this day I have no idea why I named him that. Neither do my parents. It's not like I had read Moby-Dick yet. Soon after receiving Herman, my father told me "Herman the Whale" stories at bedtime, sometimes to comfort me or to teach me life lessons. I loved them. Listening to those stories and holding Herman are some great memories; and from that point on whales have always had a deep place in my heart.
So when I saw the previews for Big Miracle I secretly knew I would end up seeing that film. Was I expecting greatness or an unbelievable tale? Not really. I thought the film would go overboard in the sentimentality and sappiness that often surrounds stories like this. However, I ended up really enjoying Big Miracle - more than I thought I would.
John Krasinski plays, Adam Carlson, a reporter in Barrow, Alaska; and he seems somewhat content in the remote frozen town although he dreams of going to a big network station. While trying to find another topic to report on, he witnesses three gray whales surfacing about a 100 yards away to get air and to keep the ice hole open. The family of whales is stuck there because the ocean was freezing over quicker than normal. They had missed their chance to start their migration south.
Now for the rest of the tale, it's pretty predictable but I didn't care. I was too content. Politicians, Greenpeace, oil-tycoons, native Eskimo tribe, swarms of new crews and mix in a love story or two all have one thing in common: three stranded gray whales. That's Big Miracle. There was decent acting by all and the story was well told and it had whales in it. As you can see above, there was also a large amount of well-known cast of actors for Big Miracle, which sort of surprised me.
However, there was one thing that surprised me more about this film - that it was a true story. Throughout the whole movie they showed real broadcasts with the top network anchors: Brokaw, Jennings and Rather. Plus there were others that I recognized like weekend anchors and reporters. I personally don't recall this story but I had just started college that fall (1989) and didn't have a TV, and I was too busy...umm...studying. Yeah, that's it.
Since it's my rule to stay vague with these reviews I am stopping here, but I hope you get a chance to see this movie. It was a charmer. Big Miracle is a great family film and for anyone who wants a feel-good story. Oh, and I did get pretty teary-eyed at a couple of parts but I am soft-hearted, as you guys should know by now.
Based on the book Freeing the Whales How the Media Created the World's Greatest Non-Event by Tom Rose
My favorite part: That I was pleasantly surprised with the film.
My least favorite part: Can't say. I will give too much away.
Length: 107 minutes
Rating: 7 out of 10
Click on film poster below to watch instantly: