Review: Big Miracle
In 1988, there was a news story that took the world by storm. The story of three whales trapped and the effort made to save their lives. Big Miracle recounts that story and focuses on how those whales brought everyone together.
Adam Carlson (John Krasinki) is stuck in northern Alaska as a unnoticed newscaster. Covering stories of how Guacamole makes it that far north doesn’t necessarily do wonders for his career. While shooting some amateur snowmobile stunts, he catches some video of whales trapped on all sides by ice. The story catches the eye of Tom Brokaw and makes the national news. Now the world is interested in saving those whales.
The media circus brings a colorful assortment of people to Alaska. The big-time oil tycoon, J. W. McGraw (Ted Danson), whose only interest in the whales is positive coverage for his oil drilling; Next, is the determined newscaster from LA, Jill Jerard (Kristen Bell) , who decides this story is going to make her famous; Finally, Adam’s ex-girlfriend and Green Peace advocate Rachel Kramer (Drew Berrymore). Each one of them has their own agenda, but Rachel seems to be the only one there who truly wants to save the whales.
The biggest problem for Big Miracle then is that it becomes focused more on the human story than the whales. While it is based on a true story, it would’ve made a better documentary than a big Hollywood production. When the drama is poured on thick, it loses focus. Do we really care about Adam and his love life? How about the National Guard who fell in love with one of President Reagan’s administrative staff? The filmmakers decided that a national story about saving whales wasn’t strong enough on its own to carry a picture, so why should we care about the fluff either?
That being said, Big Miracle succeeds as a pure family film. There’s not a lot of strong language and the story highlights the values of never giving up. The media story became much more than just saving whales. It proved that with enough tenacity anything can happen. The US can even call upon the USSR for help. When Big Miracle showcases the wonderful whales that everyone came to see, the overlong run-time doesn’t even seem to be much of an issue. Big Miracle would’ve made an excellent documentary, but what we are left with is a film that families can enjoy together. In the end that doesn’t seem so bad.
3 Hearts / 5
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