Movie Review – Big Miracle (2012)

In this film a family of Whales are trapped under the ice so the crew of the Enterprise (albeit in a Klingon bird of prey) slingshot around the Sun and travel back in time so they can rescue the Whales and take them back to the future so the Whales can communicate with an alien probe and prevent it from destroying Earth. 

No, wait, I got my Whale movies mixed up there. 

Big Miracle is based on true events that happened in the 80s where a family of Grey Whales become trapped under a growing ice circle in Alaska. There’s only a small hole which they use to come up for air, but the baby Whale is injured and if they don’t find a way out in time they will die. A bunch of people including reporter John Krasinski and environmentalist Drew Barrymore come together to help the Whales and their plight soon becomes a global affair. 

You should be aware going in that Big Miracle is there to be uplifting and it’s actually pretty good for the soul. It’s very sweet and it actually shows the best of human nature; that we can put aside our differences and work together in order to achieve a common goal. It may strike people as being too straightforward and positive but, y’know, sometimes it’s nice to take a breather and be reminded that sometimes good things do happen in the world. 

I used the word straightforward and I think that’s an apt description because there’s not really an antagonist in the film. There are people who have different agendas and seem to be quite selfish and manipulative, but the conflict doesn’t last and everyone is swept up by the beauty of the Whales (who are named Fred, Wilma and Bamm-Bamm, and yes, there is a reason that the child Whale is called Bam-Bam and not Pebbles (but then I don’t know why they didn’t just call the parents Barney and Betty)). There are a lot of different ‘factions’ with different agendas but eventually they realize what’s important and work together. The actual sight of the Whales is actually really cool. Some of the film is spent underwater and we get to see them in all their glory. I thought it was well done and they had the requisite grandeur. 

The cast was not made up of stellar names but it was a good cast, with the main two stars being joined by Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, Dermot Mulroney to give the audience a few familiar faces with which to identify. It moved at quite a brisk pace, there were moments of real tension and I became quite caught up in the fate of the Whales. There is one thing that I’m wondering though, the Inuit population admitted that they hunted Whales because they needed them to live in a ‘Circle of Life’ thing, so I’m wondering if they changed their opinion about it after taking part in this rescue attempt. It’s never addressed and it seems like they could spend all this time helping these Whales and then turn around and kill another one the following day. 

Still, aside from that complaint I enjoyed the film. It’s definitely one to watch if you need a bit of cheering up and want to regain faith in the human spirit. I’m glad they kept the political agendas in the background somewhat because that would have made it more of a preaching film rather than an entertaining one. I also liked the touch at the end where the showed footage from the actual events, it was a nice reminder to show that this actually happened and to see the real people involved. 

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