When you go to a disaster movie made by Disney, I suppose you should expect a tame affair.
And that’s exactly what The Finest Hours is.
Based on the true story of a small rescue boat that managed to overcome terrible weather to save (most of) the crew of an oil tanker that split off the coast of Massachusetts in the 1950s, this ends up being more feel-good than exciting. Let’s face it, the title of the movie is a giveaway that everything turns out well.
But that’s not to say it’s bad – I found it watchable enough – it’s just that it lacks the excitement of the great disaster movies like The Towering Inferno or even the original Poseidon Adventure.
There’s very little drama involved in either the tanker’s predicament or the coastguards’ attempt to save them as the people in command of both have everything under control.
Have a look at the movie poster where the tagline is ’32 Survivors. Room For 12′. I don’t think I’m spoiling the movie to say that they got round that dilemma by someone saying “I’m sure they’ll all fit”, and they did.
Wow, that’s edge-of-the-seat stuff.
And while I’m sure that this is all how it happened in real life, the lack of creative license employed made me wonder why they even bothered making a movie out of such a straight-forward real life event in the first place?
To combat this, Disney decide to set the rescue as a backdrop to a rather odd love story between a quiet coastguard and an incredibly bossy woman, who – for the time it was set – seemed intent on emasculating him.
Not only does she propose to him (unusual for the time), but she turns up at his work and gives his boss a telling off in front of his mortified colleagues. It was all a bit cringe-worthy, as you sat there thinking about how you’d feel if your significant other did the same for you. The thought “Calm down, hen” occurred.
As with any movie based on a true story, this ended by letting us know what became of the main characters. We were told that the coastguard in question married his fiance on the day she wanted and lived “happily” until he died in 2009. But I imagine “happily” really meant “hen-pecked”, as he lived out an existence similar to the King of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland.
Anyway, I found that all a bit pointless and strangely realised, but then like I say, without it there wouldn’t be much to The Finest Hours beyond rejoicing in the heroics of the Coastguard.
Should you go to see it? Well if you’ve got an Unlimited Card there are worse ways to spend an evening, but it’s far from being must-see as far as I’m concerned.