Image provided by emuleday.com, trailer courtesy of youtube.com
Although author Sebastian Junger found fame after writing The Perfect Storm, I wish I could say the same for Director Wolfgang Peterson. Directing similar perilous films such as “Air Force One” and “Das Boot,” The Perfect Storm was overtaken by the overused CGI and the lack of character development.
This movie could have been devoid of all its characters, and it still would have kept the audience entertained. Even though it was nominated for two Oscars, and is based on true events, I felt absolutely no connection with our characters.
They represented an excessively clichéd pack of Massachusetts sea dogs who seem to laugh in the face of danger…even if that danger is the convergence of three hurricanes.
Peterson has a talent of using objects as main characters, rather than people. In “Air Force One,” the fortified presidential airship played the most important role; deciding the films direction. In “Das Boot,” the German U-Boat played the most important role.
In “The Perfect Storm,” the storm was more important than any other role – it does what it wants, and without it there would be no story. As a result of the storms leading role, the best scenes involve a slew of incomprehensible shouting and sudden violence as the crew battles the hurricane. Combined with an equally random soundtrack that, during scenes of peril and death, plays happy music and just downright confuses you.
As stated above this film is based on a true story, however instead of this storm “picking on the weak,” these sailors decided to drive directly through it. Whether it was considered fun at the time, or the typical “boys being boys,” dying was obviously not their intentions. The characters put money before their lives, and when egos are added to the equation – they decide to abandon the idea of turning around, and instead go full-throttle into a convergence of three weather systems.
In October of 1991, a sword fishing boat called the Andrea Gail set sail off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts. The captain, Billy (George Clooney), decides to take his crew out for what they thought was going to be a “good catch.” Completely disregarding the possible ugly weather, Billy and his crew (Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly, William Fichtner and Allen Payne) embark on a journey that will change their lives forever.
Ignoring the repeated warnings from surrounding ship captains (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Bob Gunton) the little Andrea Gail faces, not only a broken radio, but 40-foot waves and extreme winds. Apart from the main plot involving the Andrea Gail, there is also a sub plot which, similar to “The Guardian” deals with a coast guard rescue mission gone terribly wrong.
Even though the acting in this film is questionable, and the characters are utterly forgettable, the story doesn’t require those in-depth, sophisticated roles. Whereas Moby Dick concentrated more on the characters, “The Perfect Storm” focus on the characters fighting for their lives. So if you’re looking for a “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” type film, this is not for you.