Disney’s latest live action drama to be based on true events; The Finest Hours is so unashamedly old-fashioned, so innocent, that it is virtually impossible not to sit back, get comfortable and enjoy. Suitably set in 1952, the film introduces us to Bernard ‘Bernie’ Webber – played by Chris Pine, who plays this kind of All-American character well – a crewman at the Coast Guard who is worried about meeting a blind date, despite everybody constantly reminding him how handsome he is.
The first act focuses on and develops the relationship between he and his new romance, Miriam Pentinen; a no-nonsense kind of girl who is eager to marry her new man. In this first half an hour or so, the sugar is layed on thick, to the point where you can almost begin to feel your teeth starting to rot. A twinkly soundtrack swells as we see the couple meet for the first time, have their first kiss and have their first awkward dance together – all of which is quite charming, but not enough to sustain the length of the film.
Luckily for us – not so much the characters – whilst all this is going on, the crew of an oil tanker which has been caught in a storm so severe that the ship has been broken in half, struggle to come together to survive. What follows is a split narrative which jumps from the crew, which are led by a show-stealing Casey Affleck, and the coastguard who are deployed to save them.
As soon as Bernie takes to the sea, the film really steps it up a gear and does a great job of putting you right there with the men. As the tiny boat surfs and cuts through the huge waves, The Finest Hours turns into the type of the ride you’d expect to see at Disneyland; you can almost feel the ocean spitting at you through the screen, with the film’s 3D helping to create the sensation of sea-sickness.
The sea-based sequences are surprisingly exhilarating, and the strong cast which includes Eric Bana, Ben Foster and Holliday Grainger help the film considerably. The Finest Hours is a harmless and entertaining drama, which would go down well with a cup of tea and cake on a Sunday afternoon, and as far as Disney’s live action features go, this is the best they’ve made in some time.
Image credit to http://www.impawards.com