From director Ken Kwapis and Universal Pictures comes a story that captured the worlds attention in 1988 and again in 2011 because of the “Big Miracle”.
This film tells the story of Adam Carlson (John Krasinski), a local journalist trying to make a name for himself. Sitting in Borrow, Alaska he tries to find his niche that will get him noticed. Hanging out with Nathan (Ahmaogak Sweeney), the local youngster takes Adam on the ice.
That’s where they discover three California grey whales who are surfacing through a hole in the ice to breathe. The two larger whales, Fred and Wilma, are staying with their youngster BamBam who is ill. The five-mile trek to the open waters has been sealed off by the bitter winter cold and thick ice.
Adam does a local story on the whales and it doesn’t take long before the whole world knows. Especially Rachel Kramer (Drew Barrymore), a Green Peace advocate who also happens to be Adam’s one time girlfriend.
As the Native Alaskans decide what to do, tribal leader Malik (John Pingayak) must decide what is best for his people, best for the whales and his grandson Nathan. As the world descends on this small village so does another reporter looking for a great story Jill Jerard (Kristen Bell). Oil executive J.W. McGraw (Ted Danson) is also trying to turn his reputation around and calls in Col Scott Boyer (Dermot Mulroney) to do what they can.
It is the late 80’s, the world is watching and help comes from the most unexpected places.
FINAL WORD: Krasinski is wonderful as Adam. It is easy to believe his situation because he does have that caring persona about him. Sweeny as Nathan is also adorable as he wants to experience the world but finds himself drawn to his tribal culture.
Danson gets to play the bad guy but in such a way that he recovers quickly and Mulroney gets to play a tough guy till he isn’t. Bell is funny to watch but her character is pretty predictable.
Barrymore’s role is a tad standoffish and although obvious her character cares for the whales, there is just something missing. Her appearance seemed a little haggard and her speech a tad self righteous, especially toward the culture of the natives of Borrow, Alaska.
Other cast include: John Chase as Roy, Vinessa Shaw as Kelly Meyers, Tim Blake Nelson as Pat Layfette, Andrew Daly as Don Davis, Stephen Root as Governor Haskell, and Kathy Baker as Ruth McGraw.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Big Miracle” three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. This is a perfect film for parents to show their children that the environmental problems are not something new and that whales have always captured our imaginations. Also, that help can come from places you least expect.
It is fun, funny, heartwarming and has won the Heartland Award for being a truly moving picture.
In the end – it took whales to teach humanity to be humane!