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In the Heart of the Sea Movie Review

Reviewed by on Dec 11, 2015
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews the amazing sea adventure In the Heart of the Sea. It’s Man vs. Nature as Chris Hemsworth and crew face the biggest whale ever. Will they live to tell the tale?

By: Lynn Barker

In In the Heart of the Sea, it’s 1820, an era in which whale oil ran machines and lights world-wide and the whaling ship Essex was attacked and bashed in by the most ginormous whale ever! Of course the big guy is only protecting females and calves from a cruel harpooning death. Can the crew survive in three tiny rowboats?

We're gonna need a bigger boat!We're gonna need a bigger boat! Courtesy of Warner Bros.


In 1850, Author Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) interviews the last survivor of the Essex, a whaling ship sunk 30 years before by a giant whale. Tom Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) reluctantly tells him the story. At that time Nickerson was only 14 and the ship’s cabin boy. The tale forms the basis of Melville’s classic Man vs. Nature tale “Moby Dick”.

Author Herman Melville (Ben Wishaw)Author Herman Melville (Ben Wishaw)Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Off to Sea

After losing a captaincy to rich, family-connected guy George Pollard (Benjamin Walker), able seaman Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) reluctantly leaves his pregnant wife behind to be first mate on the Essex. These two guys mix like..well, whale oil and water. It’s not going to be a pleasant voyage. Teen cabin boy Nickerson (now played by Tom Holland) notices the tension.

Owen (Chris Hemsworth) says goodbye to his wifeOwen (Chris Hemsworth) says goodbye to his wifeCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Rookie Mistakes

Rookie captain Pollard steers the ship into a storm in full sail despite Owen’s warnings. He won’t go back home for repairs. After taking only one whale and landing in South America to take on supplies, the crew hears of a great hunting ground far, far out in the unmapped ocean but Spanish sailors warn of a gigantic white whale that can sink a ship.

The crew spots a nearby whaleThe crew spots a nearby whaleCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Out Too Far

Looking for whales, the Essex ventures way too far away from civilization. Whales abound but then their protector, the humungous white whale doesn’t take to being harpooned and rams the ship, caving it in until it sinks.  The crew has to abandon ship in three tiny lifeboats.

Owen (Chris) prepares to use his harpoonOwen (Chris) prepares to use his harpoonCourtesy of Warner Bros.


As the rations run out and the men float further away from any land, they start to starve. Owen’s buddy and second mate (Cillian Murphy) is injured as the white whale follows the crew and continues to attack. The men become mere skeletons as the days wear on. As men die, the surviving crew has to result to cannibalism (we don’t see any of this). Land is found but the only thing to eat there are bird eggs. A few men, including the injured second mate, stay behind as the rest head to sea again.

The Second Mate (Cillian Murphy)The Second Mate (Cillian Murphy)Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Finally Home

The remaining men make it home but nobody really believes their story. Will they have to lie to an investigating committee or tell the amazing true tale of the giant whale and what they had to resort to to stay alive?

First Mate (Chris) versus the CaptainFirst Mate (Chris) versus the CaptainCourtesy of Warner Bros.

In the Heart of the Sea Trailer


Wrapping Up

We saw In the Heart of the Sea in 3-D and on a huge IMAX screen. If possible, this is the way to go. The movie looked amazing and so does hunky Chris Hemsworth…until he is starving. Hey, the actors lost tons of weight for the survival part of the film.

Hearing the tale of the giant whaleHearing the tale of the giant whaleCourtesy of Warner Bros.

As an animal-lover and environmentalist, I have to say I was rooting for the whales but it was gratifying to see that Chris’s character develops a strong respect for the huge attacking whale after a while. Some of the whale harpooning scenes are pretty brutal but the movie is an action-packed history lesson in how these whalers and their ships chased and killed the giant mammals back when their oil was needed for lamps and much more (note: this time was before anyone drilled in the ground for crude oil!).

The Captain (Benjamin Walker)The Captain (Benjamin Walker)Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Some of the survival scenes are also tough but we don’t see any of the rough chow-down-on-your-dead-crewmate stuff at all.  Acting is quite good all-around but what stands out is the “heart” of the story.. honor. The giant whale is doing an honorable thing protecting other whales even if he does want some revenge and Chris Hemsworth’s character Owen tries to do the honorable thing by telling the truth about the grueling voyage despite what may happen to him. 

The teen cabin boy (Tom Holland)The teen cabin boy (Tom Holland)Courtesy of Warner Bros.

The film is probably either too upsetting (the whale kills) for younger kids or too boring after the ship sinks and the men struggle to survive. Older teens might get into the story more. Overall we would go 3 and a half stars but we don’t have “halves” so we go 3 stars.

In the Heart of the Sea Movie Rating:3

In the Heart of the Sea movie posterIn the Heart of the Sea movie posterCourtesy of Warner Bros.

In the Heart of the Sea is in theaters now!

Have Your Say

How do you feel about killing whales even if it is back in the old days? Are you into Chris Hemsworth no matter who he is playing? Do you love big 3-D IMAX epic movies? Drop a comment below.