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Perfect Storm

A movie directed by Wolfgang Petersen

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The Perfect Storm is Thrill ride...

  • Jul 16, 2000
  • by
Pros: Nice Storm special effects

Cons: Shallow charcters...

My Experience

The Year: 1985
The Time: The closing days of October, early afternoon – early morning the next day.
The Place: North Atlantic Ocean heading south by southwest onboard the battleship U.S.S. Iowa (BB-61), steaming in company with two other vessels; a cruiser and a frigate. We were heading home to Norfolk, VA., after a successful three month tour of Northern Europe which included the countries of France, England, Norway, Denmark, and West Germany, and a joint exercise in the Baltic Sea.
The Situation: My perfect storm. The North Atlantic is not the place to be when the fall season comes calling. The North Atlantic during this time of the year is mean and nasty. It is prone to frequent, violent, unpredictable, and sudden storms that can displace a state two sea (relatively calm) inside of an hour with a state five sea (swells 30 –60 feet), that will leave even a battleship fighting for her life. 12 hours of high winds and rolling seas left us taking water over the O4 level (the height of a four story building), damaged one of the Iowa’s propeller shafts, wrecked three of her deck boats, cracked the hull of one of our escorting cruisers, and left even seasoned sailors heaving into a trash can place between their legs!

The Movie: In October of 1991 a storm stronger than any in recorded history hit the coast off of Gloucester, Massachusetts. This "Perfect Storm" — so called because it was three storms combined into one — created an almost apocalyptic situation in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, where boats encountered waves of 100 feet (30 meters) — the equivalent of a ten-story building. The Sword boat Andrea Gale was caught in this storm and sunk with all hands aboard.

I am from New England, raised in Newport, RI., so I have both a love, dread and respect of the ocean born of closeness. I have lived through no less than five hurricanes, including two at sea, two in Newport, and one in Hawaii. For me The Perfect Storm was like reliving, in part, my own experiences on and close to the ocean.

Parts of the just over two hour movie were extremely emotional and realistic to me (the depictions of the ocean once the storm set in were accurate in almost every detail), while other parts were hard to believe; it’s highly unlikely, given her small size, that the Andrea Gale would have survived as long as she did. The weight of her fishy cargo coupled with the rate in which she was taking on water would have sealed her doom long before she actually floundered. One reviewer at this site wrote that she had difficulty with how the Andrea Gale finally met her doom, saying (I’m paraphrasing here), that the movie made it seem as though she were a toy boat in a bathtub! Well a ship no matter what its size, IS very much like a toy boat in a very large bathtub! My experience on-board the U.S.S. Iowa taught me that if nothing else. The ocean if not respected will kill often times with little warning.

Although I loved the at-sea action of the movie, I found the plot lacking somewhat in credible character development however; I think a little more insight into the minds and makings of George Cloney’s character, Capt. Tyne would have helped me care a little more for him and the rest of the crew. But as it was written and played out, we knew very little about these six men who went down to the sea in a boat, and lost their lives chasing swordfish, a paycheck, and a dream. Of course we never really know what transpired onboard the Andrea Gale with any certainty and that to me leaves a huge gap in the story line. But then again, this movie is based on a true story and in-and-of itself is a fictional accounting of the events. Be that as it may some records of the men’s lives must have existed and should have been explored with more vigor.

My spouse by contrast was extremely upset by the time the movie ended. She intensely disliked Clooney’s, Capt. Tyne for the callous disregard he showed his crew and by extension the families of the crewmembers. And she disliked the crew in general because she didn’t think fish were worth risking their lives over. As a result she cared nothing for any of the characters and thus their eventual deaths in the storm.

In the final analysis I enjoyed the movie for the action and realism. Thought slow at the start—a process made necessary by character development, however flawed—the movie picked up nicely in the middle as the storms come together and catches one hapless sailboat at sea. We are treated to some pretty dicey and harrowing rescue scenes involving the boat, a helicopter, and Coast Guard cutter. The movie turns into a virtual roller coaster towards the end as Clooney and company try in vain to save their little boat, their catch, and ultimately, their lives. Clooney turned in a superb performance and I do believe he has cemented his position as one of Hollywood’s most bankable actors. Equal praise must go to Mark Walburg, who as Clooney’s second turned in a believable—though oft times subdued—performance.

If you are looking for a thrill ride that will have one the edge of your seat during the closing frames of the move, you can’t do better than The Perfect Storm.

The Perfect Storm - The Stats and Stars:

Star: George Clooney (Captain Billy Tyne)
Star: Mark Wahlberg (Bobby Shatford)
Star: Allen Payne (Alfred Pierre)
Star: John C. Reilly (Murph)
Star: William Fichtner (Sully)
Star: John Hawkes (Bugsy)
Star: Mary Elisabeth Mastrantonio - (Linda Greenlaw)
Star: Diane Lane (Christina Cotter)
Director: Wolfgang Peterson
Release Date: 6/30/00 (wide)
Running time: 2 hours, 9 minutes
Rated: PG-13


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More Perfect Storm reviews
review by . December 19, 2000
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Mark Wahlberg     Cons: mediocre script that doesn't tell the whole truth; trite stunts; all-around disappointing     Let me preface this story by telling you that my stepfather is on the crew of the Air National Guard (106th Airborne) in West Hampton, NY. This movie is based on the true story of what happened during a major storm in 1991. (The boat was actually trapped in three storm systems that collided.) Jim (my stepdad) was friends with Rick Smith, …
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Vincent Martin ()
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I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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Based on the engrossing nonfiction work by Sebastian Junger about the Andrea Gail--a commercial swordfishing boat that was lost at sea in October 1991--Wolfgang Petersen's THE PERFECT STORM brings the pages to life. The movie features a big-name cast (George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg) playing the gruff, edgy fishermen in the Gloucester, Massachusetts, port, as well as close-up camera shots of the boats moored on the wintry docks. Viewers are drawn into the closely knit New England community that is struck speechless by a fierce nor'easter made from three merging hurricanes. Meteorologists call it the Perfect Storm. <br> <br> Despite the weather forecast, skipper Billy Tyne (Clooney) insists that his crew go out on one more 30-day swordfishing trip before the winter sets in. At sea, a series of tragedies ensues, including a man dragged overboard by one of the 300-foot-long lines and a bloodthirsty shark that gets reeled onto the deck accidentally. What's worse, the skipper's right-hand man, Bobby Shatford (...
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Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Release Date: 2000
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: Warner Home Video (May 15, 2007)
Runtime: 2hr 10min
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