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It's Halloween, 1991. Near Gloucester, Massachusetts, the six members of the Andrea Gail, a swordfishing boat, head out to sea for their last trip of the season. Unbeknownst to them, a shockingly brutal storm is slowly gaining steam. Before the National Weather Bureau has a chance to inform the crew of the impending danger, it's too late. The resulting battle with three merging weather fronts--an unheralded natural disaster--is grueling and tragic. Based on the true-life best selling novel by Sebastian Junger, The Perfect Storm stars George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane and is directed by Wolfgang Petersen.
The storm could have been perfect had it only be 80 or 90 minutes instead of 130. I understand why the movie was made the way it was -- Basically a lot of real life family members got involved and in order to have their cooperation, they had to make it really mushy and emotional in many places. Way too much family was shown. You didn't need as much background as was given to appreciate the storm. I never bought or understood the love story between Diane Lane and Mark Wahlberg. They're really struggling for money and want to get her kids back, so what is the first thing she does when he leaves? Spends a bunch of money on buying a house!! And she's the one telling him not to go and that they'll work three jobs each, etc. Well, the poor guy HAS to go if she's spending money the way she appears to be.
Also there was the business with the rescue mission. They really could have cut that entire story line. I'm sure the reason they didn't is that the family members of that rescuer got wind of the movie being made and jumped in with a, "Wait a minute! My guy died during that storm too! While you're making this movie, you BETTER put him in since he attempted to save the guys on the boat." He died in the line of duty, this happens every day. It's a chosen profession and no one forced him into it.
Here's the other thing that bugs me and that's the theme of greed and respect. These guys could have waited out the storm but because they wanted to "set the market" and make tons of money, they decided to plow right through the storm. If they had waited, yes, maybe some of their fish would have spoiled. Maybe they would get laughed at in town. But maybe they would be ALIVE and have a chance to do it again and do it right next season. Because they were so eager to show everyone what they were made of, they showed everyone how arrogant and greedy they were to do something so foolish as to go between all those storms.
Also letting Mark Wahlberg escape the boat so he can drown in the waves on top of the ocean rather than in the boat? So he could say goodbye in voiceover? That was terrible and cheesy. I'm grateful they didn't decide to talk separately about each person on the boat at the funeral, but the whole grieving and moving on sequence took entirely too long. It could have been accomplished in a teary, hearing the news in slow motion with music playing montage. Three minutes tops.
Based on all these points, I give the movie a C.
This is an excellent, albeit speculative, movie rendering of Junger's book by the same name. Junger's book attempts to detail the facts associated with the loss of a professional sword boat along with its crew in one of the worst hurricanes in the history of Gloucester Massachusetts; one of the premier fishing bases in the U.S.
The movie is wonderful...allowing the viewer an intimate interaction with the Atlantic. The special effects are spectacular and of such reality that...if one is not careful...could find himself actually experiencing 'sea-sickness'!
Of course, as no one actually witnessed the demise of the Andria Gail and the hearty crew thereof...speculation runs rampant throughout the presentation. What were the motives of the captain and crew as they experienced this massive storm? No one can say. Junger could not say for certain...and neither can anyone else.
However, Junger did interview a fantastic number of fishermen...many who knew the crew members and who had experienced much the same events themselves. So, the overall motivation was exceptionally believable.
The screenwriter took many, many liberties with the actual story (when compared to the book by Junger)...but his job, after all, was to take the questionable setting and 'fabricate' a story that would not only be believable but also entertain and educate the viewer.
At the beginning of the movie it says; "This movie based on a true story."
It is based on a true story and is an excellent representation of that story.
I had this movie on VHS, and even after repairing it, it finally gave out. I am disabled and mostly homebound. I love the ocean. Before my disability, and something that helps me is keeping a positive attitude in the face of adversity. How to deal with emergencies, doing what seems impossible. I believe that emotions cost, and that through team work steps can be taken to succeed. Although this movie is about a tragic loss, it is also a realistic portrayal of many of the things I just mentioned that are of interest to me. I also use to live in Alaska and when fishing on the ocean several times. So this movie provides me with many emotions (good and bad), and reminds me how frail we can be as humans, but that we do move on. I have only had this movie for about a month, but have played it at least 100 times (that is not an exaggeration for effect - I love the sound of the ocean). The fact that it is on DVD means I will not wear out a tape. I did also purchase a tape back up just in case -- lol. This is the first movie I have been able to play on my year old DVD player (had to call my daughter long distance to learn how to finally play it). Since then, I have researched about DVDs and some of the differences in when and where they can be used. I played around with this one and found that it has captions, so when my deaf visitor is here he can watch it too. I also found that you can play the movie in French (both sound and captions). I thought about seeing if I can learn French since I now know the movie by heart.
I would recommend this movie to anyone interested in true stories, the ocean, or conducting a study on human behavior. I would recommend purchasing it on DVD if possible, but still support the VHS version as well.
Hat's off to the creators of "The Perfect Storm"
To use an appropriate phrase - I was blown out of the water! If you've read nothing about this film, read no further - just see it. If you are familiar with the events that took place on the Grand Banks in October 1991 - all I'll say is that this film is a leap of the heart. We don't know exactly what happened onboard the Andrea Gail, but let this film take you along in its speculations. How easy it would have been to make a sensationalised, tacky film. But the prevailing feeling with this piece is one of respect for the crazy/brave working-class guys who risk everything for several months every year - giving up family, home, comfort, solid ground and a whole lot more - for the financial rewards that deep sea commercial fishing can once in a blue moon provide.
Dialogue is rich and realistic. Structure is intriguing and well paced. Technical work is of the highest standard. I have little bad to say about this film. A note on the visual effects - they are so good and there are so many of them, that you soon forget about them - isn't that how it should be?
A Terrific addition to EVERY DVD collection - ENJOY!!