Big Miracle - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Big Miracle Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 8, 2014
Probably takes some liberties in telling a true news story from the 80s, but does it with such a charm and big heart that you can't help but like the result. Of course that's somewhat predictable, but the decent cast and lovable message make it work. They didn't make films like that for a while, but sometimes this is exactly what you need on a dark winter afternoon. Kids will love it, for sure.
Super Reviewer
½ July 2, 2013
Truly a family movie with an inspiring story about helping the animals..
Super Reviewer
March 31, 2013
Pretty lame. Felt like a TV movie. Even Drew Barrymore could not really lift this, and geez, couldn't someone have touched up her roots before filming started!
It's got a fairly high rating, so perhaps it just me being harsh, but I really did find this ordinary.
Super Reviewer
February 6, 2012
Based on true events..Overall a wonderful, heart-warming movie. It was a nice change of pace to watch a movie about people coming together for a cause. There were some inaccuracies for the sake of entertainment, but honestly, it can be overlooked. The picture as a whole was sweet, funny, and a nice way to spend an afternoon.
Super Reviewer
July 2, 2012
Inspired by the true story of 3 whales trapped under ice outside of Alaska. Follows a reporter(John Krasinski) and a animal activist(Drew Barrymore) as they try to free the whales, which becomes a huge world wide story. While, no "Free Willy" by any means, the film is still entertaining and good for the whole family. At nearly 2 hours, it does drag, and could really stand to be trimmed up. Krasinski is great in everything I've seen him in, and he is no different here. He plays very well off the cast including Barrymore, Ted Dansen, and Kristen Bell. The whales are beautiful, but something lacked with building an emotional connection to them, like other animal movies. Still, a decent flick if you enjoy animals or feel good stories.
Super Reviewer
½ June 21, 2012
"A family of whales trapped beneath the ice. One unforgettable rescue."

In small town Alaska, a news reporter recruits his ex-girlfriend - a Greenpeace volunteer - on a campaign to save a family of gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle.

Based on a 1988 true story (which, apparently, had a more ambiguous ending), Big Miracle tells of a family of three whales which get trapped beneath the ice near Barrow, Alaska, with only a rapidly freezing hole to breathe out of. The mutually antagonistic factions of the oil business, the Inupiat locals, and the environmental lobby combine to try to keep the whales alive until it becomes possible to get them the 5 miles from their breathing hole to open water, augmented (if not aided and abetted) by a sizeable press faction. Even the end of the Cold War gets a look in. This film arrived with no fanfare and, despite a couple of irritations, proved to be a feelgood movie which I enjoyed. It is very well mounted, with most of the scenes involving the whales and the ice field being convincingly staged. The unexpectedly starry cast all did well, although I found Drew Barrymore's Greenpeace girl a bit excessively preachy (by the time the film finished I had come to the conclusion that she was meant to be), John Krasinski is a pleasing low-key leading man, and Kristin Bell is happy to portray a shallow young woman of over-riding ambition and little compassion. It may be a little too leisurely for young children but, otherwise, I think it makes a good family movie despite the fact that the film's title isn't very good.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2012
A True Whale Story.

Very good movie! I thought this was a beautifully-made film. For people saying the plot was unoriginal or dull... they obviously missed the point that it was based on a true story. If you let it, it's a wonderful story of a pretty insignificant event that ended up uniting a whole slew of people from different factions and interests. As for me, I would recommend this movie for all ages. It doesn't seem to be geared toward only kids or adults. If you're looking to see a film jam-packed with action or suspense, then this simply is not the one to see. But if you prefer movies with a simple yet compelling story about people, then please do take a look.

Inspired by the true story that captured the hearts of people across the world, the rescue adventure 'Big Miracle' tells the amazing tale of a small town news reporter (John Krasinski) and a Greenpeace volunteer (Drew Barrymore) who are joined by rival world superpowers to save a family of majestic gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle.

Local newsman Adam Carlson (Krasinski) can't wait to escape the northern tip of Alaska for a bigger market. But just when the story of his career breaks, the world comes chasing it, too. With an oil tycoon, heads of state and hungry journalists descending upon the frigid outpost, the one who worries Adam the most is Rachel Kramer (Barrymore). Not only is she an outspoken environmentalist, she's also his ex-girlfriend.

With time running out, Rachel and Adam must rally an unlikely coalition of Inuit natives, oil companies and Russian and American military to set aside their differences and free the whales. As the world's attention turns to the top of the globe, saving these endangered animals becomes a shared cause for nations entrenched against one another and leads to a momentary thaw in the Cold War.
Super Reviewer
½ May 28, 2012
They should not show tearjerkers on planes. That was just awkward for everyone.
Tired of Previews
Super Reviewer
½ February 13, 2012
Directed by Ken Kwapis, Universal Pictures, 2012.

Starring: Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, John Pingayak, Kristen Bell, Time Blake Nelson, Stephen Root, Dermot Mulroney, John Michael Higgins, Kathy Baker and Ted Danson.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Question: Do you have that one animal that you absolutely adore? Perhaps you collect chachkes, always gravitate towards greeting cards with their pictures on it; or you have some other form of devotion like a certain wildlife conservation project you support. I would say dogs are my favorite animals but whales come in at a close second.

Quick explanation of why I like whales: When I was three years old I went into a toy store and apparently demanded this particular stuffed animal. According to my mother I had a tantrum and wouldn't stop holding it and saying, "Mine, mine, mine!" It was a stuffed whale. My parents gave in and bought it for me. I named him Herman and to this day I have no idea why I named him that. Neither do my parents. It's not like I had read Moby-Dick yet. Soon after receiving Herman, my father told me "Herman the Whale" stories at bedtime, sometimes to comfort me or to teach me life lessons. I loved them. Listening to those stories and holding Herman are some great memories; and from that point on whales have always had a deep place in my heart.

So when I saw the previews for Big Miracle I secretly knew I would end up seeing that film. Was I expecting greatness or an unbelievable tale? Not really. I thought the film would go overboard in the sentimentality and sappiness that often surrounds stories like this. However, I ended up really enjoying Big Miracle - more than I thought I would.

John Krasinski plays, Adam Carlson, a reporter in Barrow, Alaska; and he seems somewhat content in the remote frozen town although he dreams of going to a big network station. While trying to find another topic to report on, he witnesses three gray whales surfacing about a 100 yards away to get air and to keep the ice hole open. The family of whales is stuck there because the ocean was freezing over quicker than normal. They had missed their chance to start their migration south.

Now for the rest of the tale, it's pretty predictable but I didn't care. I was too content. Politicians, Greenpeace, oil-tycoons, native Eskimo tribe, swarms of new crews and mix in a love story or two all have one thing in common: three stranded gray whales. That's Big Miracle. There was decent acting by all and the story was well told and it had whales in it. As you can see above, there was also a large amount of well-known cast of actor for Big Miracle, which sort of surprised me.

However, there was one thing that surprised me more about this film - that it was a true story. Throughout the whole movie they showed real broadcasts with the top network anchors: Brokaw, Jennings and Rather. Plus there were others that I recognized like weekend anchors and reporters. I personally don't recall this story but I had just started college that fall (1989) and didn't have a TV, and I was too busy...umm...studying. Yeah, that's it.

Since it's my rule to stay vague with these reviews I am stopping here, but I hope you get a chance to see this movie. It was a charmer. Big Miracle is a great family film and for anyone who wants a feel-good story. Oh, and I did get pretty teary-eyed at a couple of parts but I am soft-hearted, as you guys should know by now.

Based on the book Freeing the Whales How the Media Created the World's Greatest Non-Event by Tom Rose

My favorite part: That I was pleasantly surprised with the film.

My least favorite part: Can't say. I will give too much away.

Rating: PG
Length: 107 minutes

Rating: 7 out of 10
Super Reviewer
January 31, 2012
you know, I really liked Big Miracle. We got to see a Sneak Preview and the best way I can describe's like a Disney Sports Film About Whales. Think Miracle, Remember the Titans...that kind of emotion, that kind of inspiring, "we can do it" kind of feeling, but about the entire country and specifically a little Alaskan town trying to save 3 whales from death. It may be cheesy, but I really enjoyed Big Miracle.
Super Reviewer
September 26, 2012
Based on an incredible true story, Big Miracle is an inspiring and uplifting film about the human spirit. The film follows the events of the late summer in 1988, when the plight of a family of gray whales who had gotten stuck in the Alaskan ice fields captured the eyes of the nation and inspired an unprecedented rescue attempt. The cast does a good job and includes some impressive talent, such as John Krasinski, Drew Barrymore, Ted Danson, and Kristen Bell. Interestingly, the film's tone is rather comedic and lighthearted; and this kind of works and prevents the story from becoming too melodramatic. Big Miracle is a fun and enjoyable film about a fascinating event that brought the world together.
Super Reviewer
½ February 10, 2012
With an appealing cast, and an appealing 'save the whales' plot; Big Miracle is a rare film coming out of the movie mill these days: It does exactly what its supposed to. The story a a trio of whales trapped under the ice near Barrow Alaska was pretty big news back in the late 80's; and the docu-drama style works well here. The cast is appealing, and everyone has a chance to shine. It plays the whole story really straight, with a minimum of cheese or drama for the sake of drama, and instead gives us a nice view of people coming together to help the whales.

It has the usual assortment of eco-drama overtones, back in the day when oil exploration was king. However, it was a different time, and they get the tone of the late 80's right in that people had more respect for their government in the waning days of the Cold War. everyone's motives are clearly explained as well, in a straightforward fashion that any youngster could understand, and they film-makers gave the younger audience a child lens to see the story through in the young boy that befriends Jon Krasinski's news reporter. The movie doesn't dwell on relationships or character development much, which ultimately weakens the impact of watching the characters go through the rescue, but it might have also been overdone, which its not. The whole rescue takes place over a very short span of time, so diving into past romances would be a waste of screen time.

There are some genuinely moving moments. That's because it's played straight, and people can indeed get all worked up over whales trapped in the ice. They also don't sugar coat the ending, since it's not a perfect outcome (I'd rather not reveal more)but it's a good lesson for kids and adults alike on doing the right thing. The movie also is leavened with a good dose of humor, as well as reality, and you'd think it might be dull, but it's surprisingly tense and engaging. Overall, an enjoyable, well-meaning film that's well worth your time.
Super Reviewer
September 22, 2012
A truly delightful family film based on a true and heartwarming story, brought with lots of humour based on the very likable characters portrayed by Krasinski and Barrymore both oozing screen charisma.
Super Reviewer
June 19, 2012
Big Miracle didn't necessarily look like the most exciting of movies, even when it debuted in the dead of February. It is a standard "save the animals" kind of movie that attempts to tug at your heart strings with an appealing cast while rising above its genre trappings due mainly to the earnest portrayals the actors are giving. That is, except for Drew Barrymore's irritating Greenpeace worker Rachel Kramer. Maybe if a more capable actress was able to peel back the layers of someone who cared whole-heartedly about something more than herself the film would have been a complete success, but instead Barrymore just comes off as grating to the audience as she does to the oil tycoons she protests. Luckily, others like the aw-shucks personality of John Krasinski are here to cushion the blow. Krasinski's performance and all around persona here give the best example of what the film as a whole is. It is a family movie, with humble intentions and a good heart. There is no hidden agenda, no selfish reason, it is just a simple, Hollywood version of a true story that is meant to arouse some kind of something in you. It wants to make you want to do something meaningful even if that something has nothing to do with whales. It is a nice thought that children's movies like this still get the greenlight every once in a while. With other lively supporting performances from Kristen Bell, Dermont Mulroney, Tim Blake Nelson, Ted Danson, and Rob Riggle there is no reason not to rent the easily likeable film and find your own inspiration.
Super Reviewer
½ December 30, 2012
Great story! Sadly, Hollywood grabbed onto this and gussied it up a bit. I did enjoy it though!
Super Reviewer
August 4, 2012
I liked how the used real footage during the movie.
Super Reviewer
July 9, 2012
It was a great story, but not a great movie. It was one that while I enjoyed watching it, I probably would watch again.
January 10, 2016
a nice little family movie. I was really interested in this due to the fact it was filmed in my home state of Alaska. the acting is decent and done well enough to keep the story going, which is also a nice story. it give you time to know the whales. based on a true event back in the 80s, this makes a nice little film to watch over all.
September 8, 2013
An long winded, drawn out film about an underwhelming dilemma that will only affect small children and animal conservationists. The acting is fine, but the story wasn't compelling enough to keep my interest.
June 26, 2012
Inspired by the true story... I do not recall this incident, however I am not a news hound. I found this movie to be only partially moving; the makers were trying so hard to have you care about the whales it was like being bludgeoned with a sledgehammer. Drew Barrymore is charming as always, in a gruff yet vulnerable way. I've now seen Krasinski in a couple movie recently and am not really impressed. So-so.
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