>> Big Miracle (2012)

Title: Big Miracle

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romantic

Starring: Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Kristen Bell, John Pingayak

Director: Ken Kwapis

Studio: Universal Pictures

Runtime: 107 minutes

In Theatres: February 3, 2012

MPAA Rating: PG

Rating: 2.82 (out of 4.00)

Grade: B-

Official Site

In 1988, a family of three grey whales became trapped in the ice near Barrow, Alaska. The only thing keeping them alive was a small hole that was slowly freezing up as the winter progressed. It would only be a matter of time before the mammoth creatures would be trapped beneath a thick layer of ice and eventually die.  After a local news reporter catches wind of the distressed whales, the story goes viral and soon becomes a global rescue effort. Naturally, producers thought that this would make a fantastic movie and thus, Big Miracle was born.

Adam Carlson (John Krasinski) was just a small time news reporter who spent his days detailing how avocados ended up in Alaska when he hit it big discovering three trapped whales beneath the ice. Pretty soon stations from all over the world came to Barrow to get a shot of these whales and with them came people who wanted to save the creatures. Big Miracle documents the real life rescue effort of these whales as well as the life stories of the people involved.

Who knew that saving a bunch of whales could create such a buzz, but apparently that’s exactly what happened in 1988. The film does a great job at recreating and sensationalizing the real story by infusing real news footage of the rescue attempts within scenes. For this reason, there’s definitely a sense of attachment to the whales as the ice around them begins to thicken and the rescue attempts become more drastic. Saving these whales is top priority, so much so that even the Russians get involved.

On the other side of the coin are the various romances and relationships going on within the community. Adam has had a rocky relationship/breakup with Green Peace activist Rachel Kramer (Drew Barrymore), and to make things even more interesting, his news anchor crush Jill Jerard (Kristen Bell) is in town to capture the story. There are also stories about the local Inuit population and their view on the whole situation along with the military and government’s involvement. Big Miracle essentially tries to become just that and becomes perhaps too big for itself. It tries to do a little too much and some stories get lost within the bigger picture as a result.

Animal rescue films appear to be on the rise these days with Big Miracle following last year’s Dolphin Tale. While the later would have worked better as just a documentary, Big Miracle successfully creates an interesting story all the while remaining true to its original subject matter.

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