by on December 19th, 2010
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This is an adventure rescue story about whales, native Alaskans, news reporters, tree-huggers, politicians, oil executives and seafaring Russians. It’s original, enjoyable and also a reminder that the Good Samaritan didn’t just have good intentions – he also had cash.

Adam (John Krasinski) is shooting a video for a local newspaper when his lens picks up something quite phenomenal. A family of three whales, aka Wilma, Fred and Bam-Bam, have poked a hole through the thick layer of ice that covers the coastline and they are taking it in turns to bob up to the surface for air. To survive, they need to swim beyond the ice to the open ocean but they can’t travel that far underwater, so they are trapped, and are becoming exhausted from the effort of treading water. By chance, Adam’s story gets picked up by the national press and it attracts the attention of a Greenpeace volunteer (Drew Barrymore), the President of an international oil company (Ted Danson), the US government and many, many more.

The first person we meet is Adam, and it initially appears that the story is going to be told from his point of view, but then other characters pop up, bringing with them agendas that don’t always sit well with the theme. These ‘add-ons’ frequently make the story lose focus and events seem contrived, in particular a sub-plot about two strangers who show up with an ice-melting machine. This little adventure only serves to slow down the story and borders on the bizarre. The same issues are apparent with the plot, which is essentially simple, but at first it’s not clear that the real obstacle is to break through a mountain of ice that’s sitting on the edge of the ocean. This lack of clarity keeps both the big picture and the goal a mystery for far too long.

What works best in this film is the satirizing of the US government and also of Big Oil. The antics of these two power-houses is a sight to behold, with both jumping through hoops to show that they do really, really care about the plight of the stranded whales and will do anything to save them; just as long as it doesn’t cost too much. This lampooning would have worked even better if the two camps had joined forces and then gone toe to toe with the Greenpeace Girl, creating a David and Goliath-esque battle that would have been the perfect arena to make the lion to lay down with the lamb.

It’s unfortunate that this story is set in the 1980s, as Sarah Palin would have made the perfect spokesperson for this high-profile Alaskan drama. She could have broadcast to the world her commitment to save the poor old whales while sitting on the couch she got made from the corpse of a grizzly bear, whose life ended with a bullet from her ivory-embossed gun.


Russia 2 February 2012

USA 3 February 2012

Denmark 9 February 2012

Ireland 10 February 2012

UK 10 February 2012

Germany 16 February 2012

New Zealand 16 February 2012

Portugal 16 February 2012

Norway 17 February 2012

Poland 17 February 2012

Hungary 23 February 2012

Finland 24 February 2012

Italy 24 February 2012

Spain 24 February 2012

Sweden 24 February 2012

Belgium 29 February 2012

Netherlands 1 March 2012

Argentina 8 March 2012

Brazil 16 March 2012

Romania 16 March 2012

Turkey 30 March 2012

France 11 April 2012

Singapore 12 April 2012

Australia 3 May 2012

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