Ron Howard's whale epic claims to tell the true story of Moby Dick. Though the film strives to mirror the long, classic tale, many parts come up short. The visuals were extraordinary but the characters and plot behind it felt a bit short.
The story begins with Herman Melville, played by Ben Winshaw (the new Q from the James Bond films), trying to pull a story out of Brendan Gleeson elder Tom Nickerson. Michelle Fairly, Catelyn Stark of Game of Thrones, pops up for intermittent cameos as Nickerson's wife. All great actors but the emotion never reaches a true dramatic crescendo that it works towards.
The flashback main story goes right to Chris Hemsworth's Owen Chase, a farmer's son who was adopted to become a sea-faring whaler. Hemsworth also gives a solid effort to deliver a powerful first mate performance but like Chase, Hemsworth never seems to take over the film enough. He's great as Thor but it doesn't require too much emotional depth.
Another soon to be Marvel regular, Tom Holland, who will play Spider Man, plays a young Thomas Nickerson who has to endure the worst of the whaling process. His performance was solid so this bodes as a good sign for the web-slinger's future.
Plenty of other actors show up, faces from popular shows and movies like Frank Dillane from Fear the Walking Dead, Cillian Murphy from Batman Begins, Paul Anderson from Peaky Blinders, and Joseph Mawle from Ripper Street and Game of Thrones. These stellar actors couldn't add much in comparison to the giant whale that thrashed in the ocean and crashed against the ship.
There were certainly some great visual scenes but with a lackluster climax and a glossing over of the most horrendous parts of survival of the hard seas, this whale movie doesn't create the emotional waves. Five out of ten.