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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - July, 2012

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"Big Miracle" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Clements

movie-july-2012-big-miracle

Synopsis

This movie is based on a true story about three gray whales in Barrow, Alaska that are cut off from their usual migration route due to a quickly expanding ice sheet.  The whales have just the smallest opening in the ice where they can breathe, but winter is fast approaching and the opening will close soon, putting the whales in peril.  It is 1988 and a TV reporter from Anchorage, Adam Carlson (John Krasinski) happens to be on assignment in Barrow.  He films a brief report on the whales.   His report is picked up over the news wires and captures the interest of people all around the globe.  The movie follows a local Greenpeace activist, Rachel Kramer (Drew Barrymore) as she brings together a disparate group and their resources to help save the whales as the world watches intently.

Specifications

  • Universal Studios
  • 2012, Color, Rated PG, 1 Hr 47 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master
  • Starring: Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Kristen Bell, Dermot Mulroney, Tim Blake Nelson, Vinessa Shaw and Ted Danson
  • Directed by: Ken Kwapis
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

 The plot is generally focused on Barrymore and Krasinski and their burgeoning if not tepid romance.  But the screenplay also tries to bring in many other elements that were instrumental in the real story of the whales including the local community, a rich oil tycoon, the National Guard, other reporters, a pair of inventors from Minnesota, President Reagan and the Soviet Navy.  All these story lines tend to spread the movie a little thin and may cause younger viewers to lose interest in the movie.  The whole thing works for me, mostly because there are some very good acting jobs led by Krasinskiand Mulroney as the National Guard Colonel.  I am also down for the message that we are all not that far apart in the love of nature.  The CGI effects are good, but the animatroncis and many of the shots of workers clearing the ice were not very convincing.  I recommend this as a solid rental for a fun family night.

Technical

The video shows excellent dynamic range and good color fidelity.  The image is not hampered by obvious edge enhancement which is good, but the overall image is a bit soft with some minor compression artifacts when compared with the best transfers out there.  The audio is a little better with excellent voice reproduction, Foley effects and a well-recorded musical score.  The impact of a Soviet ice breaker near the end of the movie showed more bass impact than I was expecting,  Still, surround activity is somewhat limited throughout much of the movie and I used the fader control to bring up the rears a little. 

Extras

This is a single disc pack with a 2-sided disc.  The Blu-ray is on Side 1 while the DVD version is on Side 2.  It also comes with Ultraviolet Streaming capability and a Digital Copy Code.  Extras include an Audio Commentary with Director Ken Kwapis, deleted scenes, and two featurettes in HD - A "Big Miracle" in Alaska and Truth is Stranger than Fiction.