The year is 1988 and three grey whales trapped in pack ice near Barrow, Alaska launch an international effort to rescue them - this effort is later referred to as Operation Breakthrough. Media coverage of the event spanned the globe creating a worldwide audience for this unprecedented collaboration between multiple governments and organizations. And, while the rescue attempt ended up costing over a million dollars and was criticized by some - the event brought nations together and amplified the public's awareness and attitude towards grey whales.
Now, fast forward till today which marks the release of director Ken Kwapis' re-imagining of this "Big Miracle." John Krasinski and Drew Barrymore spearhead this multilayered look at the power of the human spirit, both portraying real people from the event.
The result here is a truly charming film, with nature and time serving as the only real villain, the audience is free to sit back and cheer for every single character on screen while remaining on the edge of their seat in anticipatory fear for the whales safety. Kwapis interjects actual news coverage from the '88 event which grounds the film in reality and helps keep the audience engaged on a visceral "this really happened" level.
Also, active animal enthusiast Kristen Bell lends her talents to the film, portraying one of the many big city reporters - and after finding viral success this week with her emotional break down over a sloth at her birthday party, she adds one more thing to love about this film.
The bottom line here is in an awards season heavy boxoffice releasing numerous deep heady dramas, it's incredibly refreshing to finally see a well structured, character driven, uplifting true story on the big screen - and that's exactly what "Big Miracle" is. Need more convincing? Here's the trailer: