Movie Review

The Perfect Storm

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language and scenes of peril.

Reviewed by: Thomas Quinlen
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
15 to Adult
Genre:
Action Adventure Thriller Romance Drama
Length:
2 hr. 10 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
June 30, 2000 (wide)
Relevant Issues
Poster—The Perfect Storm

WEATHER—What are some weather extremes on Earth? Answer

Does God control the weather? Does He send deadly storms? Answer

Ships in the Bible

Drunkenness in the Bible

Fornication

Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

Featuring: George Clooney (Captain Billy Tyne), Mark Wahlberg (Bobby Shatford), Diane Lane (Christina Cotter), John C. Reilly (Dale “Murph” Murphy), William Fichtner (David “Sully” Sullivan), more »
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Producer: Baltimore Spring Creek Productions, Radiant Productions, Warner Bros. Pictures, more »
Distributor: Warner Brothers

“In the Fall of 1991, the ‘Andrea Gail’ left Gloucester, Mass. and headed for the fishing grounds of the North Atlantic. Two weeks later, an event took place that had never occurred in recorded history.”

“The Perfect Storm,” starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg, is the semi-true story of a group of Glouster fishermen who, with their sword-boat the Andrea Gail, were lost at sea in the Storm of the Century. It is semi-true because nothing of what happened at sea is actually known except for a few radio transmissions. The author of the underlying novel took the facts and his research on sword fishing boats to reconstruct what might have happened.

While this may sound like an interesting premise for a movie, the product fails to come through and meet expectations. The plot was incredibly weak, with no real motivation behind the characters’ actions. The only motivation given for their sailing into a hurricane was that they had previously had some bad days fishing and needed some cash and a bit of ego-soothing.

Cast members of The Perfect Storm.

Side plots are included at random and add little to the movie. It adds nothing to the story of the men on the Andrea Gail. As the title suggests, the only interesting character, besides possibly Mark Wahlberg’s, is the storm. The rest are stock, seaman characters, which, I hope, do not do the real men who died justice.

Objectionable content: The Lord’s name in taken in vain about twenty times, and there is also about another fifty instances of other foul language. They are sailors, and they sound like it. All sex is implied, but it is also out of wedlock and the references are plentiful. Getting drunk is the main social activity, and there is no real hope held out for either the dead or the survivors.

If you are determined to see this film, what would be a “renter” becomes a special-effects bonanza that is best captured on the big screen. The storm effects are absolutely incredible. But this does not carry the film; it stinks. My recommendation: don’t make “The Perfect Storm” a centerpiece of your weekend activities.


Viewer Comments
Worth it for the waves. Otherwise, a $120 million letdown. Blaring soundtrack. Storm sounds drowning out dialogue. Farfetched action. More farfetched action. And that’s after a whole hour of fragmented oversentimental drama. Lots of profanity, but then these are fishermen being portrayed. The scenes on the trawler set are obviously just that, scenes on the set. The storm itself, when it is revealed, is daunting indeed although on video even this would be lost. If really cool BIG waves are worth your 8 bucks, “The Perfect Storm” has’em. But that’s about it. My Ratings: [2½/3½]
—Todd Adams, age 32
“The Perfect Storm” is far from a perfect movie. The special effects were great, but the film plot and characters were a let down. The acting was great, but the characters were one dimensional. Most were stereotypical and so vulgar they were difficult to like. My Ratings: [1/3]
—Joe Born, age 39
The movie did not live up to the hype on the advertisements. Language was offensive, but the effects were very good. I went home and watched the TV version of “Air Force One”. Much better of a thriller. Save your money on “PS”! My Ratings: [2/3]
—Stan Edington, age 51
The movie itself had fantastic graphics in it. It was exciting and a person ends up on the edge of their seat throughout the movie. The only thing I really despised about “The Perfect Storm” was the continual use of the words, G_D D__MN, taking God’s name in vain… My Ratings: [3/5]
—Pammi
This movie was short on story, but long on the storm scene, which is what it was about. The music was really masterful and made speeding out of the harbor in an old rusty fishing boat seem like the QE2. The acting was not very believable. Somehow, Clooney didn’t really fit as a rough fisherman. There were sexual innuendos in places, but you at least you didn’t have to see it, as you would with an “R” rating. The language was crude and offensive in places; however, you don’t expect people who actually life that lifestyle (and some really do) to say, “Oh, my goodness.” My Ratings: [2½/4½]
—Carol LaQuay, age 25+
This was an interesting movie story line, but just never was developed. The characters were generally offensive and I found myself glad when the movie was over. I’m an emotional person and my heart wasn’t drawn in to this film… My feeling when leaving “The Perfect Storm” was a sense of disappointment and shock at the promotions given to this movie. My Ratings: [1/2½]
—Patty Ingram, age 45
…we were utterly dissapointed with the sexual crudity and total shallowness of the character. I mean I know everyone is not moral or Christian, but come on. Teenagers are watching PG-13 movies left and right and that movie showed no respect to the audience or the people in whom the movie was possible meant to honor. Yes, the story went to the water and showed a lot of great affects and some very noble scenes. I am just so dissapointed that it had to be ruined by the first 30 minutes. We would rather my husband take my daughter to “The Patriot” which is worthy of her presence then have her be exposed to such distastefulness… My Ratings: [2/3½]
—Tracy, age 33
I expected more of the real drama of the storm that I had seen in the recent documentaries. I was disappointed to have to sit through so much sad real life replay of bar life. I left greived that a boat load of burnouts had added trying to sail through the middle of one of the worst storms in history to their long line of poor choices. Trying to redeem something about the movie, it would appear that God did send more than adequate warnings to these poor men. He is full of grace and mercy. As I watched these helpless fishermen, I was reminded of the fishermen Jesus sailed with and the storm they were caught in. What a contrast. The crew of the Andrea Gail could have used a Captain who knows where the fish are and whom the wind and the waves obey. My Ratings: [2/3]
—Kevin, age 45
much offensive language and sexual content… Well-done true-life adventure flick about a crew of six aboard a sharkfishing boat out of Gloucester, MA in 1991 which ran into the teeth of a hurricane, in a determined effort to come back with a good haul after a run of bad luck. Amazing effects showing the crew trying to survive amidst high winds and 50-foot waves, and rescue efforts by a brave Coast Guard team. But my wife and I found ourselves regretting the decision to go. Much offensive language, as you would expect from a rough-hewn group of fishermen, including a number of uses of the Lord’s name in vain. There is also strong sexual content, showing the relationship between one of the crew members and his girlfriend; also the dalliances of another sailor. My Ratings: [2/3½]
—Michael O’Brien, age 41
recommended, unless “language” sensitive… The movie is a technical marvel. We felt like we had been through the disaster with them when it was over. Sure, they did cuss like sailors, but not as much as in many current movies. The courage of the Coast Guard crews was notable. I’d recommend this to anyone, unless they are very sensitive to language. My Ratings: [3/5]
—Phil, age 51
“inappropriate for young teens”… This is a true story, about real people. When going to see a movie about fishermen who home base in Gloucester, MA, I certainly didn’t expect the movie to be “sanitized”, and it wasn’t. The sexual content was not explicit but implied, and was not pervasive. One can understand the reason for (though not condone) the foul language during scenes of intense crises, though this makes the movie inappropriate for young teens. The movie was very true to the book, the special effects were outstanding and the acting was great. My Ratings: [2/4]
—Tammy Pal, age 42
They made them sound like sailors alright, but the weather effects were great… My Ratings: [1½/3½]
—Heath, age 20
“…thrilling; top-notch special effects”… The movie is a true story and makes you appreciate the fisherman of the world… some cuss words, a few F-words, and Lord’s name several times, there was open drinking (no drunks, just people drinking) but aside from that, the movie was very exciting, fun, and again, makes you see first hand why its called the most dangerous job! The special effects are top notch! My Ratings: [3/5]
—Kelly Carr, age 18
cool storm, all else terrible… There is one good thing about this movie—the storm! It’s incredible cinematography. As for everything else, it was terrible. This movie has no message or good moral value to it. For example, the hub for these people is a bar. The relationships are either immoral or broken marriages. This movie is extremely crude in language and sexual references. The sea is somewhat idolized, and the references to God are all curses. As for moviemaking quality, this isn’t good acting on anyone’s part. Either too emotional or not enough emotion. There are some sub-plots that are never really tied in and only take away from the main story. The ending is a huge disappointment, and the attempt at some epiphany or closure by Diane Lane and the mother at the end is pitiful. In short, other than some breathtaking scenes of the power and majesty of God’s creation, this movie is a waste of time. My Ratings: [1½/1½]
—Chris, age 30
lots of negatives, but technically decent… No nudity, but sexual dialogue and situations are present in the beginning. The movie romances the sinful lifestyle of the characters, including illicit sex, drinking, cursing, and obscene comments. After the first half hour, the only objections were the the language. Also, it is implied, that people who die are “okay”, even if they are unsaved, as long as people cared about them. Despite all the negatives, the rest of the movie was decently acted and the special effects were spectacular. You may have read the book, and you will find that it gives a slightly different account. My Ratings: [2/4]
—M.H.
wouldn’t even rent it… Once again I learned my lesson about seeing a movie that had too much hype and trusting secular reviews. The effects were good, but the foul language, sexual talk and innuendo, poor acting and terrible scripts made this movie one that I wouldn’t even rent. The whole movie rating system is a farce. My wife and I saw “The Gladiator” last week which had a “R” rating (we rarely go to R rated movies) and I was not offended by very much in that movie. If you want to be offended as a child of God, like poor movie dialogue, bad acting, and don’t mind a lot of foul language see “The Perfect Storm.” My Ratings: [1/2½]
—Bill White, age 42
Movie Critics
…the fishing crews live up to “swearing like a sailor.” …sexual content plus frequent obscene and profane language earn a very objectionable rating…
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…breathtaking accomplishment, as well as a gutsy movie that gives the audience a thrill ride…
—Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
…shortchanges the emotional impact… constant drinking and smoking…
—Todd McCarthy, Variety
…So much water. Such a dramatic washout…
—Susan Wloszczyna, USA Today
…despite a shipshape cast and seaworthy lensing… the film’s human drama is largely waterlogged, leaving Industrial Light and Magic’s creation of a truly majestic mega-hurricane as the movie’s most effective performance…
—Kevin Maynard, Mr. Showbiz
…it’s the 20 inappropriate uses of God’s name that will really keelhaul Christian viewers… four-dozen profanities… two f-words… crass sexual slang…
—Bob Smithouser, Focus on the Family
…it’s implied that a couple has vigorous sex on the floor above a bar… Overall, one can certainly admire the movie from a technical standpoint, but not as a great, overall moviegoing experience…
—ScreenIt