'The Finest Hours' [Blu-ray+Digital HD]
(Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Holliday Grainger, et al / Blu ray+Digital HD / PG-13 / 2016 / Walt Disney)
Overview: Based on the extraordinary true story of the greatest smallboat rescue in Coast Guard history, 'THE FINEST HOURS' is a tale of courage, loyalty and honor in the face of overwhelming odds. When a massive storm strikes off the coast of Cape Cod, it rips a T-2 oil tanker in half, trapping more than 30 sailors on its rapidly sinking stern. As Captain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) and his crew set out in a 12-seat rescue boat to save them, Chief Engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) struggles to buy his men more time.
Blu-ray Verdict: Director Craig Gillespie and Disney team up once again following their 2014 film, 'Million Dollar Arm'. This time the true story is based on the 1952 Coast Guard rescue attempt at Cape Cod. The film counts with a stellar cast starting from the always charismatic Chris Pine, and including some strong supporting performances from the likes of Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Holliday Grainger, and John Magaro.
Indeed, 'The Finest Hours' captures the fifties with delicacy while also remaining old school. The film is by the books and told in a way that most movies based on true events are, so it doesn't stand out. The effects are believable, but they never accomplish much visually. There are some thrilling moments and the film slowly builds the tension during the final act, but it does take a bit too long setting the premise and trying to establish a love story that doesn't seem to be all that interesting or relevant.
'The Finest Hours' begins by introducing us to the hero of the story who is about to go on his first date with the woman who will eventually become his fiancée. Chris Pine is Bernie Webber, a shy man who follows orders and likes to do things by the books, while Holliday Grainger is Miriam, a woman who is set on going after what she want. The love story lacks emotion and therefor it is the weakest link in the film. It is the reason why the first half of the film didn't work for me and why I wished the film focused more on the events taking place in the split oil tanker during the storm.
Pine is playing against type here since his character is rather timid and that takes away a lot of his charm. I will give him credit for trying to play a different character, but I don't think he was the right choice for the part. Casey Affleck is the true standout, playing one of the crew members in the oil tanker fighting for their survival. He reminds us what a great actor he is and I wish the film focused more on his character. The rescue mission is exciting and thrilling, but the film takes too long to set itself up.
Perhaps 'The Finest Hours' is one of the better films being released in January since this is considered the dumping ground for most movies, but it still isn't good enough to get a fresh grade from me. The film has its moments and Casey Affleck should be getting bigger roles, but other than that the movie does fall flat and lacks the emotional depth other rescue films have.
I'm usually a fan of Chris Pine, but I didn't enjoy his performance here and this is one of the few films from him that I haven't liked. If you are nostalgic for old-fashioned adventure films than this might be the right film for you, otherwise, well, it's best left alone. This is a new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) 2.39:1 Widescreen Presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Against All Odds: The Bernie Webber Story
Brotherhood - Cast members reflect on the bonds they forged during the shoot
Two Crews - Chris Pine and Casey Affleck share insights into the 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