The Movie: 8/10
Based on a true story is always a red flag for me. I am old enough and grizzled enough to know how this works. Hollywood gets its claws into a story one of its minions have read or heard about. They pay someone big bucks to then turn that TRUE story into a more dramatized, more romantic, more Hollywood version. I have come to accept this, but always have my eyes wide open when these movies come along. Some stories of people’s real lives are almost bigger than a movie can even tell. I think this is one of them. 4 Coast Guardsmen are sent out in the biggest winter storm ever seen by the northeastern coast to rescue the crew of an oil tanker that has broken in half a few miles off shore. A few miles sounds like it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but in a storm, on the sea, in 1951, it feels like an impossible thing to do. It wasn’t.
The tanker breaks in half and part of it stays afloat with about 30 men on board. The waves are monsters, the sea is an endless death trap. What comes along to save them? It’s a tiny little 4 man crew on a boat big enough for 12 men. It’s an incredible thing to have lived through, for sure and in the hands of this director and cast it’s very compelling, exciting, heart breaking at times, and really really really makes me realize what kind of folks we have in this world who are the guardians of the seas. I mean, we meet our “heroes” who are just doing what they are told, sure, but they represent the true spirit of what drove those men that night, their determination to save someone’s life. It comes through in the portrayals of each character, the grit and determination to just get this thing done. At one point our “captain” says “Everyone lives or everyone dies” and I got a bit of a chill. I don’t claim to know anyone in this kind of world, but I can imagine that those words or at least the thought of it has crossed the minds of many people out at sea rescuing those who are in trouble.
This movie makes the whole thing seem so hopeless. The ocean, even when it’s relatively close to shore, is a living thing. It’s bigger and tougher than us, and it has no intentions. I just riles up with the big storms and devours anything that comes along. That’s the feeling I got, even looking at this huge oil tanker, that it (the ocean) will always be vast and remorseless as lives of creatures are lost among its waves. This is a credit to the movie for sure. It’s got great action, excellent sound, the performances are excellent, and that feeling of being truly up against a force that is unbeatable comes through very strongly. That’s what makes it so good. I was riveted by the whole thing. I admit, the beginning was kind of sappy, but it moved on quickly and even though it has that element of Hollywood making it more of a spectacle, it’s such a good movie watching experience.
It’s good clean family drama for sure. You won’t find any sexy stuff, or swearing, or gore. It’s got all the hallmarks of a Sunday night flick with the popcorn and snuggled under the blanket on the couch. Yes, you will feel cold about 2 minutes into this movie. It’s powerful with its winter storminess:) I feel it’s got that “root for the hero” vibe and mourn for the lost characters we superficially get to know. All that folds together to make a solid, high quality, adventure, action, big time rescue tale….and it’s based on a true story that you can look up after you watch the movie and get all the real true details.
- Against All Odds: The Bernie Webber Story (14 Minutes) – A very well made piece which discusses the Chatham town history where the film takes place. lot’s of interviews with the actual families involved in this heroic story.
- Brotherhood (2 Minutes) – Chris Pine discusses the camaraderie that the cast had on the set.
- Two Crews (2 minutes) – A look at the crew of the tanker and the crew of the rescue ship.
- What Is Your Finest Hour? (1 Minute) – A promotional item for the real US Coast Guard
- The Finest Inspiration The US Coast Guard (2 Minutes) – More promotion for the Coast Guard.
- Deleted Scenes (5 Minutes) – Two deleted scenes that add little to the final movie entitled A Desperate Idea and The Story Of How They Met.
- UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 4/10
No no no no. I am so bored with the “many faces of the cast” design. It’s lazy, and the worst part is that it does not represent what a good movie there is behind the image. I mean, it’s selling it like it’s a TV special. I would not have it as a poster.
Audio & Video: 8/10
The Finest Hours is a very dark movie as it mostly takes place at night in the dar. The 1080P AVC encoded video here from Disney does the dingy conditions proud with a transfer that is second to none. Colors are fairly muted as the director intended but blacks are inky and lifelike. Clothing and facial features are always sharp and vivid and I saw no instances of Ringing or macroblocking even in the more complicated water scenes which are usually a nightmare for video codecs.
Audio is the standout here with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track that is incredible to listen to and really comes alive during thew rescue sequences. There is a huge use of the LFE channel when the storm is approaching its very impressive and was totally unexpected. Surround speakers are always alive even during the quieter moments at the start of the film. Dialog is very centered and even over the impending storm still legible. This is a great example of what HD and Blu-Ray can do.
Overall Score 8/10