In this image released by Disney shows Casey Affleck in a scene from, "The Finest Hours," a heroic action-thriller based on the true story of the most daring rescue in the history of the Coast Guard. (Claire Folger/Disney via AP)

In this image released by Disney shows Casey Affleck in a scene from, "The Finest Hours," a heroic action-thriller based on the true story of the most daring rescue in the history of the Coast Guard. (Claire Folger/Disney via AP)

Reeling it in: An imperfect storm in ‘The Finest Hours’

“The Finest Hours”

Walt Disney Pictures

1 hour, 57 minutes

Some movies expect a lot from their viewers. They hint at subtext, they use realistic, not expository, dialogue, and the acting is typically subtle and understated. These movies don’t just hand over the story on a silver platter, but, when they are done right, the experience of finding your way through the film can be very rewarding.

“The Finest Hours” is not one of these movies. This is a movie that wants you, the viewer, to do no heavy lifting. It wants there to be no chance that you’ll miss any of the implications of what’s going on. This is a movie where the actors state the obvious (“Someone should go out and help those boys!” or “It’s suicide to go out in this storm!”) not once, but over and over, making sure you don’t miss anything. “The Finest Hours” isn’t really a bad movie, it’s just a tedious one, and gives the view nothing to think about.

Based on the true story of a miraculous rescue made by Coast Guard pilot Bernie Webber, “Hours” chronicles the dual stories of the men on the crippled oil tanker S.S. Pendleton and the efforts back on shore to bring them home. Unfortunately, the film focuses on Webber, played by hunky captain of the Enterprise Chris Pine, and his story instead of the much more dynamic tale unfolding on the Pendleton.

In both cases, however, there’s not a lot to tell. Webber, on shore, senses a storm is coming. He really wants to marry his best girl, but his commanding officer has other plans. On the Pendleton, the storm hits, the guys in the engine room complain about an unseen captain, and WHAM, suddenly they’re on the stern half of a floating oil tanker, the front having ripped free and sunk.

That’s a pretty exciting few minutes. From there, the guys on the ship have to devise a way to steer the boat and run it up on a shoal to wait for help. On shore, there’s a lot of talk about how dangerous the storm is, how much it is like another storm Bernie had to go out in, and why Bernie shouldn’t feel guilty about his failure during that previous storm. This gets bandied about by something like six separate characters. When the commander orders Bernie to take a boat and assist the Pendleton, these same characters go on endlessly about how “he’s not from here,” and “he don’t know these waters.” Those two lines are spoken by at least four different characters at separate times and nearly word for word.

Eventually Bernie and crew head out in their small boat and try to fight their way through the storm and find the Pendleton, which is exciting for about five minutes before becoming increasingly tedious. The crew of the Pendleton is running out of time, and the audience is running out of patience.

On paper, “The Finest Hours” looks like a slam dunk. The story is impressive, and true to boot. The cast is certainly high-profile. Casey Affleck, playing the mechanic and de facto commander of the Pendleton, is great and an actor that continues to impress me. Chris Pine, though, is playing it too hesitant and low key. This may be accurate, but doesn’t add to the already waning energy level of this picture. Poor Eric Bana is sorely misused as the commander. It seems his only purpose for existing is to speak in a Southern accent, sowing suspicion among the crusty Nor’easter fishermen. I don’t know if you got this, but he’s not from here, and doesn’t know these waters.

Still, the movie tries, and had it not been for one other key factor, I’m sure I would have liked this film more: 3D. I’d been getting better with 3D, especially since my multiple viewings of “The Force Awakens,” but “The Finest Hours” may have squandered every bit of that goodwill. This is a movie that should never have been presented in 3D. For one, there are no scenes that benefit from it, and for another, and more importantly, the film is too dark to support it.

The biggest problem for this new age of 3D when it first came out was that the picture was coming out too dim and audiences were complaining. Often theaters had incorrectly calibrated their digital projectors, which could have been the case this time, although I kind of doubt it. I’ve seen other 3D films at this theater that have been fine. “The Finest Hours” is just a dim movie. It all takes place at night, or out on a dark and stormy sea, and having to look at that through those dark glasses just ruins the experience. I kept taking off the glasses, despite the blur, just so I could see better.

I wanted to like “The Finest Hours.” The trailer was a one of the most riveting I’ve seen in a while. That’s the difference between two minutes, and two hours, however. A tedious plot combined with a predictable script are bad enough, but when you can barely see the movie to boot, it all adds up to an imperfect storm.

Grade: C+

“The Finest Hours” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences.

Chris Jenness is a freelance graphic designer, artist and movie buff who lives in Nikiski.

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