A year before the fall of Communism in the USSR, three California grey whales found themselves stranded in Barrow, Alaska, five miles from the open sea with only a hole in the ice to breathe through. This kicked off a major rescue attempt, with Inuits, Greenpeace, journos, tourists, the oil industry, the US government and, most significantly, a Russian ice breaker all helping out. Many agreed the exercise was a fine example of what can be achieved when opposing parties set aside their differences for the benefit of a common cause.
TV director Ken Kwapis (who helmed some of the US version of ‘The Office’) milks that idea for all it’s worth in this dramatised reconstruction which pitches a diligent Greenpeace activist (Drew Barrymore) against a mean-spirited oil baron (Ted Danson) while attempting to liven up a series of repetitive events with some romance and punch-the-air moments. By-the-book dialogue and lame performances do the film no favours but, hey, worse things happen at sea.
|Release date:||Friday February 10 2012|
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A reading of the books â€œFreeing the Whalesâ€� and â€œBig Miracleâ€� by Tom Rose, as well as various newspaper accounts, point out something quite dark about the screenplay of the movie â€œBig Miracle.â€� In reality, it was â€œInuitâ€� Eskimo Roy Ahmaogak who first sees the stranded whales. It was â€œInuitâ€� Eskimo Marie Adams who was the first reporter to conduct interviews at the whale stranding site, doing interviews with â€œInuitâ€� Hunter Billy Adams and two North Slope Borough biologists with a TV crew from the local NSB government. There was no white reporters from KTUU-TV from Anchorage at the start of the whale story. The screenwriters of â€œBig Miracleâ€� removed from existence the Inuit Eskimoâ€™s accomplishments at the very beginning of the whale saga. The screenwriters chose to make this more a caucasian movie about white people coming to the rescue in the beginning of the movie. There was no outsider white people at the meeting of Inuit whale hunters to talk them out of harvesting the whales. It was strictly an Inuit decision, done without white people giving any persuasive speeches. There was no Greenpeace person in that meeting at all. In my opinion the movie â€œBig Miracleâ€� is racist and bigoted, bringing to mind the old cowboy and Indian movies. In the â€œBig Miracleâ€œ version, Inuits are given the credit for cutting holes in the ice, while the all knowing and caretaking white people make all the major discoveries and decisions. Such was not the case. The â€œinspirationâ€� that the screenwriters seems to have got from the books is how to marginalize a race of people and their accomplishments.
I'm looking forward to this movie, and I just finished reading the newest edition of the book by Tom Rose, and I compared the real people's names that were involved with the rescue to the character names from Universal. Universal created new names for all the top people involved in the rescue. They even invented a new name for the Governor of Alaska in 1988. For example, the Greenpeace woman's name is really Cindy Lowery, not Racheal Kramer played by Drew Barrymore. The real governor's name was STEVE COWPER, not Governor Haskell. The real guy who shot the video in Barrow, played by John Krasinski as Adam Carlson, was actually the government TV Studio Manager of the North Slope Borough, Oran Caudle. The big oil executive's name was Bill Allen of VECO, not Liam Peterson played by Ted Danson. And so on and so on... It would have been better if Universal had used the real names. I guess that is why they advertise "Inspired by" instead of "based on" the book by Tom Rose. I'm still going to go see it. But shame on you Universal.