Cinematic Releases: The Finest Hours

chris pine
Chris Pine stars in Disney's latest feature, The Finest Hours.

the finest hours
The Finest Hours tells the true story of a Coast Guard rescue off Cape Cod during a bone chilling, ship breaking blizzard in 1952. Somehow, despite the negativity surrounding the movie, it's much better than expected. 

Sadly for this above par, man against mother nature flick, Disney's marketing campaign has absolutely failed at capturing an audience. Sitting by myself on opening night in a newly renovated theater was both enjoyable and tragic at the same time. I could fully enjoy the movie in comfort while toiling over how poorly the box office will do even though it's a great beginning of year release. Putting aside other reviews and commentary, this is nothing like The Perfect Storm. Other than some of the situational visuals drawing comparisons and the sea faring setting, the story is one of straight up heroism hinging on death defying selflessness that's endearing and horrifying at the same time. These men faced death head on and didn't turn back, even when the odds were trying to drown them at every turn. 

the finest hours
Everybody shut up!
I'm doing my best
mid-'90s Gretchen Mol
right now!!!
Chris Pine takes lead billing with an emotionally charged Casey Affleck, a weightier Ben Foster, and the stunning Holliday Grainger backing him with solid performances all around. Adding to the cast is a who's who of top tier character actors featuring Kyle Gallner, Graham McTavish and the always amusing Abraham Benrubi. Eric Bana also plays a minor support role to little effect. Although they're all strong in their respective roles, the glaring Disney sentimentality does take hold at times dragging The Finest Hours through some emotive sludge. Adding to the minorly flawed script is a lack of character development. Audiences aren't given much history for our main characters, making it quite obvious that The Finest Hours was probably trimmed back to keep the running time below one hundred and twenty minutes. And noticeable support characters pop in and out with little explanation of who they are. We're thrown right into the mix with the spawning of a love story that's not given much room to breathe or expand as the rescue mission takes center billing way too soon. 

The Finest Hours deserves much better than to be swallowed up by a poorly timed release and the dismal failures of Disney's advertising staff. This is an edge of your seat thrill ride that pushes the boundaries of human endurance as it offers up excellent performances throughout. Great looking visuals, finely tuned 3D, a pitch perfect score, and a cast of talented individuals all round out this mildly Disney-fied adventure that never lets up during its nearly two hour run time. Going in with low expectations, I left the theater feeling like I had actually seen something special. This should've been Chris Pine's big hit film as a lead billed actor. Unfortunately for him and the cast of The Finest Hours, this ship is going to sink at the box office faster than I can say Kung Fu Panda 3. 

It's too bad because this is a good movie with a clear message of hope against all odds. I hope for Chris Pine's sake that this doesn't hurt his career any further. After the failed Jack Ryan reboot, the not super successful Star Trek films, and This Means War, his star power may never reach the heights that it could. He's a good actor. He deserves a huge hit. 

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