First as Opie in The Andy Griffith Show and later as Richie Cunningham in the classic TV show Happy Days, Ron Howard already won the hearts of audiences around the world. But when he switched gears in 1977 and decided to move behind the camera, who would have thought he would have become one of America’s top directors bringing us such modern classics as Splash, Cocoon, Willow, Backdraft, Apollo 13, Cinderella Man, The Da Vinci Code, and A Beautiful Mind. His latest film, In the Heart of the Sea, may be his most epic film yet and is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
In the winter of 1820, Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) reluctantly takes the position of First Mate after being turned down for Captain for the voyage of the New England whaling ship Essex. Once at sea Chase and his crew find themselves stranded in the middle of the ocean after their ship is destroyed by a massive whale that seems to attack them for no reason. Now adrift in lifeboats, the remaining crew are pushed to their limits and forced to brave storms, starvation, despair and each other to stay alive. Not to mention a certain whale seems to be following their every move.
In the Heart of the Sea is a truly epic tale and although the encounters with the whale are slightly exaggerated for the film, the true story of the crew’s ordeal of survival is an incredible one. Howard’s direction is wonderful here with incredible ocean landscapes and vistas that must be seen in hi def and on as big of a screen as you can manage. The same goes for the stunning CG which is virtually flawless and breathtaking. Performances all around are excellent, especially from Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy and Tom Holland. Like last years Unbroken, this is an unbelievable true tale of survival against all of the odds as well as an incredible story that inspired one of the greatest literary works of all time, Moby Dick. Ron Howard continues to prove that he is far too often overlooked and underrated. In the Heart of the Sea is highly recommended.