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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Soul Surfer




"I don't need easy. I just need possible."

Very inspiring movie.  If you've watched ESPN, followed competitive surfing or just watched the trailer you pretty much know what happens to Bethany Hamilton's arm. So you go to the theater and as you sit there in your seat watching this feature you are squinting, waiting for the inevitable. Every time a water scene is shown you are cringing the entire time. Sean McNamara[director/screenplay] did a good job misdirecting and playing with our emotions/nerves.... and to take it to the twilight zone, I was out at the MJR Marketplace theater last Sunday[ April 17th] watching this movie.  This happens to be the day that the weather unleashed it's fury down south and knocked out the power briefly up here in Michigan.  So the picture went out shortly but the audio remained.  We are sitting there listening to the movie but can't see it yet. Wouldn't you know it, the part that we were expecting came up but we could only hear it.

When the theater got the projectors back they hit rewind and we watched it from where it initially stopped.  Kudos to MJR Theaters! Even though it wasn't their fault they gave everyone in the auditorium a free pass!  Love that theater and apparently I'm not the only one.  So thankfully I was able to watch the rest of the film off edge and I must say, when the unfortunate occurred and then I saw AnnaSophia Robb's [who played Bethany] reaction to it I was, in a word...  disappointed.
Even though the movie explained why, I still thought the initial reaction or lack thereof was questionable. I mean the whole story evolved around this one event. They give it to us and it's like...  a prick to the finger during your last physical. Pinches at first then quickly forgotten, hopping that was the brunt of your traumatic experience. Thank God the movie was so much more than that.  The depth of the subject matter truly earns the first word in the title.

            Everything the movie lacked in one area it made up in another.  Learned a lot about surfing and the shots in the waves, underwater, and in the impact zone were extremely good for the budget that they were working with.
           Any movie with Dennis Quaid in it scares me. Even though he did a really good job playing Bethany's father, Helen Hunt delivered in her limited role as a highly competitive but tamed by motherhood mother. 

          As in most great true story pictures the best parts are usually the 'actual footage' which are, most times, near or at the end of the movie.  That truth holds here too.  It was enough to warm the coldest heart in Michigan.  
        Another attribute about 'true stories' that can't go unnoticed are the perimeteres in writing a script are confined to the real event.  That's why it's so important when chosing a real story: make sure that the real event is worth investing all this time and money in.  A lot of times it may be better to make a documentary depending on the subject matter.  I'm glad they decided to do this faith based movie.  I was certainly able to get a lot out of it and I'm beyond doubt that you will too.
      Definitely worth it and I give Soul Surfer an A.


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