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.