When it comes to movies, when I see ‘Based on a True Story’ anywhere in the promotional material I tend to turn away. 9 times out of 10 they are based on sad, tragic stories and I ugly cry enough during sad fictional movies – I can’t deal with sad real life movies! That being said, I actually wanted to watch The Finest Hours. Why?
I have loved this man since Star Trek and People Like Us. I make it a point to watch everything he is in. Since The Finest Hours just came out on Blu-ray I was excited to have the chance to receive a copy for review purposes.
As soon as the movie came I put it in, but within the first 10 minutes, I was bored and turned it off. The other night I forced myself to try again and this time, I made it through the slow opening to where it actually got good.
Okay, I’m not saying it starts off bad, it is just too slow for me; a lot of talking and very little action. I like movies that grab my attention right off the bat, and this just didn’t. It took effort for me to watch it the second time around but I am thankful that I did.
Before I get too far ahead of myself I want to share an abridged synopsis, without spoilers.
The cast: Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz, Eric Bana
The story: The Finest Hour is based on the greatest small-boat rescue in Coast Guard history, circa 1952.
A massive winter storm strikes off the coast of Cape Cod and rips a T-2 oil tanker in half, leaving more than 30 sailors trapped inside the rapidly sinking stern.
The U.S. Coast Guard hears about the disaster and a team of 4, led by Captain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), embark on a daring rescue mission. They set out in a wooden, 12-seat boat in the freezing cold, braving 60-foot waves and hurricane-force winds. Captain Webber guides the crew with his vow that “We all live, or we all die.”
Meanwhile, first assistant engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) is on the tanker trying to calm, encourage, and instill hope in his shipmates.
My thoughts on The Finest Hours
Well, you already know what I thought of the first 10 minutes of the movie, but now let me tell you about the rest. Think a semi-lighter version of The Perfect Storm (that movie is the main reason I no longer watch ‘based on a true story’ movies). Both maritime, tragic true stories, only The Finest Hours has the Disney touch.
Epic effects and amazing cinematography combined with a wonderful director (Craig Gillespie) and cast are what truly brought this movie to life. The slow start really picks up and goes from a crawl to a jog, to a marathon sprint. In other words, the action gradually increases as the movie progresses, which I actually really liked.
What I really, really loved about this movie is the homage it pays to the Coast Guard. I have friends and family in (and retired from) the Coast Guard. So many people forget that the Coast Guard is part of the U.S. military too – and they have some pretty intense training! If you are or were a member of the Coast Guard I would like to humbly thank you for your service!
I think The Finest Hours would be great for history buffs, those with Coast Guard friends & family, and anyone with a passion for action films. It is definitely worth the watch and re-watch just in case you miss something the first time around.
The Finest Hours is available in a Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD, Digital SD, and Disney Movies Anywhere. There are some great bonus features too.
AGAINST ALL ODDS: THE BERNIE WEBBER STORY – Visit the quaint and close-knit town of Chatham, and experience the events surrounding the most heroic Coast Guard rescue ever through the eyes of the people who witnessed them.
BROTHERHOOD – Cast members reflect on the bonds they forged during the shoot.
TWO CREWS – Chris Pine and Casey Affleck share insights into Bernie Webber and Ray Sybert, men who led their respective crews against all odds.
WHAT IS YOUR FINEST HOUR? – A Coast Guard member recounts an incredible rescue.
THE FINEST INSPIRATION: THE U.S. COAST GUARD Meet the people who put their lives on the line for others.
*Bonus Features may vary by retailer