| I dreaded this film, from the
look of the previews. Sappy, and pretentious, and undoubtedly romantically
waterlogged. But I was wrong, and gladly so. This is an instant
Storm is, in many ways the quintessential disaster pic. Like Jaws and Towering
Inferno 25 years ago, TPS rides into theaters bringing jaw-dropping special
effects and terror.
Based on a
true story - with which extensive liberties were taken, TPS lolls around for
the first hour, building up the motive for six guys to risk their lives on a
fishing trip in October. These commercial swordfishermen travel out into the
Atlantic seeking the last big catch of the fall, because their first catch was
skimpy. Then it gets going.
| Caught in the action too are huge
ships which are having a desperate time in the storm, and a small sailboat that
is on the verge of sinking. The last half of the film is a riot of wave and
wind, as three storm fronts converge in a once-every-hundred-years event, and
100 foot waves - the tallest ever recorded from a storm, rocket across the
For our sake,
the storm is done a little above scale, because the screen tends to minimize
the action, and aerial shots also diminish the enormity of ten story wipeouts.
There are a lot of technical journals, such as American Cinematographer, which
discuss this film in detail. Suffice it to say that the effects, by ILM, are on
the crest of what is possible.
there is that. Clooney is his same old self, which fits sea captains well. You
like him or you don't. That's that.
Ironside's mean old self is on target.
is on the scene with a cadre of others that make it all work. But not for the
storm, they would have nothing to do, and we'd have nothing to watch, so let's
leave it at that.
grace? On the trailers there is a sappy moment when the weatherman leans into
his computer monitor and intones ....dreadfully.... "it's a perfect
storm". We see him say that. That is a spiteful moment so far as I am
concerned. It is cliched and not handled well. Fine for grade B flicks, but I
expect more from people at the caliber of this film.
well well. Guess what? When that moment came in the film, his intonation of
"the perfect storm" monologue was begun on screen, but it became a
voice-over lent to a darkening sky on the ocean with the swordboat going into
the lightning. Very classy all of a sudden. To my standards.
|One-Fish, Two Fish. Humorous Side-bar
| Not too much going on here for
me to poke fun at, cause it was way better than I expected, and I don't want to
give anything away.
unacceptably cliched characters.
tension, but not enough to harp on.
are discernible to the trained eye, and future standards may make this look bad
by comparison, the way the original King Kong looks bad today, but for now it
is great. You may notice some of the 3-d ocean spray they added to the storm
waves does not look right - but then remember most of the storm shots are
all 3-d. It is a forest for the trees thing.
Even the evil
boat owner that takes half of the money they make stands up to criticism (in a
beautifully played part by Michael Ironside). Essentially he tells them that is
the way the game is played, and that is that. They all sign on knowing what
they are in store for, and that is true. Anyway, others made a lot of money
made me think better of the film by showing me some of the images that
contribute. Good site, lotsa stuff. They are starting to get it
technical note: All of the fish in the movie are rubber/latex/animatronic/etc.,
according to a report I heard on the radio. No live fish or dead fish or fish
of any kind were used in the making of Perfect Storm. Just thought you should
know, the next time you bite into a juicy swordfish steak!
So go, enjoy
the moment, and thank God you are safely tucked away in your warm little beds