December 11, 2015, - 2:36 pm

Wknd Box Office: In the Heart of the Sea

By Debbie Schlussel


Every year, the movies get worse, and this year is Exhibit A. I don’t understand what the heck Hollywood is doing, giving us horribly dreadful movies like “In the Heart of the Sea,” in theaters today. This is supposed to be Christmastime, when the studios give us their best movies. But instead, they bring you this–“The Feel-Good Cannibalism, Animal-Rights/Save-the-Whales Movie of the Year.” Thanks, Ron Howard. (“MacBeth” also debuts today, but I saw so many new movies this week–more about that in a later post–that I didn’t have time to watch the MacBeth screener DVD until later this week, and I kept falling asleep because it was boring. Will try to finish it and post a review over the weekend or next week.) *** SPOILER ALERT: This review contains SPOILERS! for which you’ll thank me, as I am performing a public service.

Not only was this movie long, slow, and boring (what was just over two hours seemed like five), it is horrifying. The last thing I want to do when I go to the movies is watch starving, desperate grown men choose which one of them they will kill and eat, next. The second-to-last thing I want to see at the movies is a gaunt, anorexic, skull-and-bones Chris Hemsworth, who is so dangerously thin, you can literally see his skeleton through his facial skin. But this movie has both of these, um, “features.”

In the Heart of the Sea takes place mostly in 1820, when there was no electricity or natural gas usage, and people relied on whale oil to heat and light homes and businesses. The movie is supposed to be the true story of the Essex whaling ship and how it was haunted and attacked by a great white whale. The whale is the subject of Herman Melville’s classic novel, “Moby Dick,” and the movie depicts Melville hearing the story of what happened to the Essex from the ship’s youngest survivor, who is now old and gray. The man has never spoken of the horrors he saw and endured to survive, and he reticently tells them to Melville, pursuant to a contract he signed with the author (the author paid him for the story).

In 1820, a group of working-class men are hired as the crew of the Essex and set sail from their native New England to the sea off the coast of South America, in search of whales to hunt. The movie focuses on Chris Hemsworth, who is one of those men and has been hired to lead them, just under the command of the ship’s captain (a relative of the ship-owner). The men have a tough time finding and killing a whale, and when they finally do, there isn’t much oil. They’d hoped to return to Massachusetts with many more barrels of whale oil than they’ve got. It’s a tough life at sea on the ship, and the men are growing restless and constantly arguing.

During one stop on land, the men learn of a great white whale, which attacked another ship. One of the ship’s surviving crewmen tells the men of the Essex that the whale fought and haunted them, following them around waiting to attack. Eventually, after returning to sea, the Essex men spot the white whale and try to kill it for the oil. But the whale bests them, attacks the Essex, and causes the ship to sink. The crew escape on three small wooden boats, which look like little more than large canoes.

After many days on the sea and rationing small portions of biscuits (or crackers) and water, the men are literally starving to death. So, to survive, they draw straws to decide which of them they will murder next and eat. Humans . . . It’s What’s For Dinner (and Lunch and Breakfast). I couldn’t stand watching this. It made me think of the Nazis deciding who deserves to live and who deserves to go to the ovens. It was awful to watch. Just as awful to watch was the emaciated Hemsworth, whom director Ron Howard put on a 500-calorie-a-day diet. You can literally see his skeleton on his barely-there face.

And on top of this, the movie moves so slowly and is so boring that, when it finally gets moving and has any suspense, it’s half over (or more). I repeatedly fought the sleep demons while watching this.

A number of entertainment industry figures and movie critics are gushing over this because it is directed by Richie Cunningham from Happy Days (Ron Howard). But it’s not up to his usual standards. Not even close. In fact, it’s hard to believe he directed this garbage. But he did.

That doesn’t make it worth seeing. Nope.

The movie has an anti-business vibe: the “insensitive,” rich owners of the companies for which the whaling ships sailed, are the typical Hollywood stock “evil businessmen” characters to which we’re always treated. Plus, watching this depiction of how humans who hunted whales for necessity are forced to become cannibals–and many of them die–I couldn’t help but wonder if the people who made this movie were animal rights activists a la PUTAh (People for the Unethical Treatment of Animals and humans). The message of the movie is quite clear: if you hunt animals for human needs, it’ll come back to bite you, and you’ll forced to become a cannibal and do unspeakable things. This movie was less Moby Dick, more vegan bad musician (and animal rights nut) Moby (who is supposedly a descendant of Melville).

Twenty years from now, they’ll probably make a movie like that about people who eat meat and wear leather shoes.

G-d help us. And G-d help you, if you waste ten-bucks-plus and two hours of your life on this.

Despite the flick’s title, this movie has no heart. And it definitely doesn’t have a soul.


Watch the trailer . . .

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11 Responses

Thanks so much for sharing this Debbie!!

I will not watch this movie either!!

Happy Hanukkah Chanukah Everyone!! Merry CHRISTmas to all my Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus-Yeshua and Everyone!!

Love Always and Shalom,

Kristi Ann

Kristi Ann on December 11, 2015 at 9:48 pm

Actually, I don’t find it that hard to believe that Mr. Howard would have touched this monstrosity. Happy Days‘ producers generally leaned left and put that slant in their scripts (most noticeable after the show’s period got closer to the outset of the Vietnam War). And of course, before that program Mr. Howard was “Opie” on The Andy Griffith Show – and I remember upon Mr. Griffith’s death reading Debbie’s article on how left-wing he was (even going so far as to pimp Obamacare on the public).

ConcernedPatriot on December 12, 2015 at 12:03 am

It’s always good to get Debbie’s take on new movies. We refuse to see any of the garbage being pushed out by the Hollywood left.

samantha on December 12, 2015 at 10:18 am

I think I’ll see it. Ron Howard (“Rush,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “Cinderella Man”) is a great big audience filmmaker, and I doubt this will disappoint.

Primetime on December 12, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Thanks for another piece of crap, Opie Cunningham!!!

Alan on December 12, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Even the trailer is boring.

Hillel on December 12, 2015 at 9:01 pm

Does this mean that increased Government control is needed to protect us, especially those of us who are workers, from our baser instincts and prejudices?

Little Al on December 13, 2015 at 1:37 am

This movie has all the stuff that us guys like – – – , i.e., a square rigged sailing ship tossed in stormy seas, sailors struggling manfully against impossible odds to save their ship, swaggering about the town, because they’re tough, rich, and devil-may-care courageous, and they know it, also knowing each trip may be their last.

Cannibalism in desperate circumstances?

It happens.

Remember the Donner party?

Remember the Argentine soccer team?

At Masada, even the Jews resorted to the unthinkable, murder and suicide.

No one wants to admit it or talk about it, but really bad things happened in those Nazi extermination camps, for when sufficiently desperate, people will do anything to save their own lives.

But, the scenes of the ship being tossed about in the roiling waves sure has me hooked.

It’s a “guy” thing.

That’s why there’s “chick flicks” and guy movies.

Guys and gals are different, and are attracted to different things.

Guys LIKE action, suspense, and gore.

John Robert Mallernee on December 13, 2015 at 4:55 pm

The timing of these types of movies is intentional.

JeffT on December 14, 2015 at 9:43 am

Formidable great literature is again on the chopping block.
Evidently, the quest for the white whale is not important in this movie. Starvation, cannibalism, failure and evil white corporate types are the subject. Young people are being fed garbage posing as literature.

Panhandle on December 14, 2015 at 1:31 pm


I here ya…cant go to any more Hollywood crap….im 49 and a buddy from mine who is at least 20 plus yrs older is a realtive of Nickerson…and a true Patriot and he is pissed also….keep the good fight ….USA….until we are over run

Richard Czarniecki on December 14, 2015 at 9:12 pm

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