"The Finest Hours" is an occasionally entertaining if mostly forgettable disaster movie that has a great story to tell, it just doesn't do a great job telling it. It's the true story of a dangerous Coast Guard mission in 1952 to rescue the survivors of an oil tanker wrecked by a nasty nor'easter off the cost of Cape Cod. The movie takes us back and forth between the men on the ship, and the Coast Guard members planning a dangerous trip to get to them.
Chris Pine, so charismatic and charming as Captain Kirk in the new "Star Trek" movies, is doing something different here as mild-mannered "aw-shucks" straight-arrow sailor with a bad New England accent who is given a next to impossible task many think is a suicide mission. Casey Affleck is fantastic as the wrecked tanker's engineer, forced to step up and lead.
There aren't characters in this movie so much as types - the old sea dog, the naysaying nag, the big singing ship cook, etc. It gives the movie an old school Hollywood disaster movie feel, but it's also cliche and predictable.
There's quite a bit of fat that could be trimmed off this screenplay - like, say the first 15 minutes of the movie setting up Pine's relationship with his girlfriend, played by Holliday Grainger. And in the midst of the daring rescue mission at sea, we keep checking with her as she has to be rescued from running her car into a snow bank. Really. Huge waste of time.
While there's not much doubt what will happen in the movie, the rescue mission itself has some thrilling moments and impressive visuals and I enjoyed watching it in 3D, making you feel like you're getting drenched with rain or waves the whole time.
"Finest Hours" is an earnest Disney crowd-pleaser, but without much ambition