cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

Top Selling DVD     Books

50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Bug's Life
Chronicles of Narnia set
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE


Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

Alice in Wonderland
Beauty and the Beast
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Princess Mononoke
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

click for full sized poster

The Perfect Storm

Starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and John C. Reilly
Screenplay by Bill Wittliff
Based on the book by Sebastian Junger
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen

IN SHORT: The effects are the star. Rated [PG-13], 132 minutes

Before we begin: both George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg talked with our west coast guy Paul Fischer for CrankyCritic® StarTalk. Paul offers up his own review, a great contrast to mine, here. As always, no comparison is made to the source material, which spen a year at the top of the New York Times charts.

If there's one thing I've learned in the five years I've been doing these columns full time, it is to dread the words "Based on a True Story". There may be a good story at all of the roots, but keeping a script true to the facts often leads to a poor moviegoing experience. OR, the individual story, if it is one where a person faces up to an event far and beyond the normal, usually gets lost in the event. That's the case with The Perfect Storm, detailing a meteorological monster of a 1991 storm in the North Atlantic, which wreaked havoc on shipping and boats at sea (the emphasis here) and flooded the New York City subways hundreds of miles away.

While director Wolfgang Petersen's movie flits around the ocean -- a capsized pleasure boat down near Bermuda and the efforts of the Coast Guard to save them -- the focus is on the crew of a swordfish boat called Andrea Gail, captained by Billy Tyne (George Clooney). At minimum you will walk away from the movie with an understanding of just how incredibly hard deep sea fishing, as a trade, is and how unforgiving the high seas can be. We've got commercial coast skimmers here in New York, which is the extent of my experience, and they pull in to harbor when the seas get more than choppy. The deep sea boats can't do that, at a hundred miles out. As well, once you see the specifics of the trade, you may never want to eat fish again.

The Andrea Gail sails out of Gloucester, Massachusetts and has been having a really bad season. Linda Greenlaw (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) captains the Hannah Boden, a boat that's been pulling in tons of product, and her offers of a co-captaincy to Tyne are rejected on a business, but not an emotional, level. Second man at the wheel is Bobby Shatford (Mark Wahlberg), so deeply in love with Christina Cotter (Diane Lane) that he doesn't want to take the last-minute final trip of the season. They need the money. He has to go. She has "a bad feeling" about the hastily scheduled additional trip. The rest of the crew, whom we meet while they party hard at the Crow's Nest bar, includes Dale "Murph" Murphy (John C. Reilly), who has a divorced wife and kid to support and running feud with the Captain's friend Sully (William Fichtner); Michael "Bugsy" Moran (John Hawkes) is so socially pathetic he can't even pick up the fat lady at the bar; and Alfred Pierre (Allen Payne) whose rep as a stud is legendary in the bar.

Petersen and scriptwriter Bill Wittliff's attempt to give us pieces of each of the fishermen to make emotional connections with ultimately gives us nothing. Widening the scope of the picture, to show the storm's effect on ships small and large, specifically a small sailboat named Mistral (with Karen Allen on board) and the efforts of a Coast Guard rescue team, also distract from building up Clooney's crew. The sequences involving the Coast Guard (actually) work a hell of a lot better than the five guys on the swordboat. The intent is to show the power and effect of the storm. What a monster it is. But The Perfect Storm lacks focus. The result does not grab you by the scruff of the neck and rub your nose in it, which is what a terrific movie would do. ILM delivers effects which, complemented by a surround sound mix that hit rip-roaring levels, do all the work. Think of it this way: Small boat. Huge, crashing waves. More story telling power in these sequences than in the rest of the film combined. If the hour that comes before the storm had given strong reasons to care about even one of the crew, The Perfect Storm would have been a much more effective film.

There is so much that is wrong about The Perfect Storm that explaining it all to you would involve revealing all of the story. Any astute filmgoer will figure that story out within two minutes of the pre-title sequence, which is more than I should tell you but about as far as I will go. As for the other technical elements, the underscore, by James Horner, flat out fails. It doesn't build tension. It does nothing but call attention to itself, 'cuz it doesn't match the action.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Perfect Storm, he would have paid...


yes, that's dateflick level. Yes, The Perfect Storm is not a "great" movie. Then again, I've always been a sucker for effects and those here, when you get to them, are spectacular. They should be seen on a big screen. Thus, the rating.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Wolfgang Petersen
Click to buy films starring George Clooney
Click to buy films starring Mark Wahlberg
Click Here!

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.