Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Video review: "Big Miracle"
"Big Miracle" came and went at theaters without much of a ripple, but it's well worth checking out on video. This admittedly sappy story about three whales who get trapped beneath the Alaskan ice and elicit a flood of worldwide attention is certainly manipulative, but at least goes about jerking its tears in an expert manner.
John Krasinski plays a TV reporter yearning for his big break when he stumbles across three California gray whales caught in the encroaching ice, unable to travel south for the winter. Based on a true story from 1988, the trio soon attract hordes of television cameras, plus dozens of people looking to help.
Director Ken Kwapis and his screenwriters do a good job juggling a large cast of characters, including Drew Barrymore as the headstrong local Greenpeace leader; Ted Danson as an oil company CEO lending a hand for PR reasons; Dermot Mulroney as a National Guard helicopter pilot sent in to assist; Vinessa Shaw as a White House aide looking to burnish the president's environmental credentials, Kristen Bell as a hotshot reporter from L.A.; and John Pingayak as the chief of the local Eskimo tribe.
Despite its TV Movie of the Week feel, "Big Miracle" is a smart, tenderhearted flick suitable for the whole family -- and there aren't too many of those these days.
Extra features are pretty decent, and you don't have to shell out for the most expensive package to get some good stuff.
The DVD includes deleted scenes introduced by Kwapis, plus the director provides a feature-length commentary track. There's also a featurette, "Truth is Stranger Than Fiction," interviewing the real people behind the true story and the actors who portrayed them.
Upgrade to the Blu-ray addition, and you add a making-of featurette, "A Big Miracle in Alaska," plus a digital copy of the film.
Movie:3 stars out of four
Extras: 3 stars