The Finest Hours [Blu-ray]

finesthoursbluRelease Date: May 24, 2016
Cast: Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Eric bana, Holliday Grainger
Director: Craig Gillespie
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, True Story

Extra Feature Rating:  ★★★
Review Spoilers: Low
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When Disney first announced they were making The Finest Hours I was really excited because the Coast Guard hardly gets the sort of credit it deserves. Most films featuring characters in the United States military tend to focus on the other, more glamorous branches. But the Coast Guard is out there every single day saving the lives of ordinary people. My family has a very proud history of Coast Guard service on both sides and so it was great to see Disney telling the stories of one of their shining moments.

The Finest Hours tells the story of a harrowing Coast Guard rescue back in the 1950s. When an oil tanker, the SS Pendleton, splits in two during a dangerous storm a young Coast Guard crewman named Bernie Webber is tasked with taking a single rescue boat to assist them. But it’s not just a story about the SS Pendleton rescue – which is still a highly regarded moment in the history of the Coast Guard. The film also takes a very interpersonal turn, too, focusing on not just the rescue but the relationships between the men on board the SS Pendleton, their rescuers, and Bernie and his future wife Miriam.

If you’re a fan of other Disney live action films based on true stories then you’re going to enjoy this one. It’s all kinds of inspirational and also incredibly action packed. The movie does a really good job of capturing just how dire the situation as that fateful night in February 1952. The Finest Hours also has one of the best casts I’ve seen in a long time – and I’m not just saying that because Kyle Gallner is in it. There are so many fantastic actors in this movie and it’s great to see them playing off one another.

Honestly I really enjoyed this film. It’s no Zootopia or Star Wars: The Force Awakens but it is an incredibly engaging look at real heroism and Disney does a fanastic job of telling the story of this incredible rescue mission by the US Coast Guard.

The blu-ray and DVD release date is May 24th, 2016 and the home release comes with a number of special features. Granted, there aren’t a whole lot of them but a couple of them are certainly worth watching if you end up enjoying the film.

Easily the best one is Against All Odds: The Bernie Webber Story

When you’re telling a true story about real people doing extraordinary things you really need to reach out to the people who were there and the people who have been effected by it all. This brief featurette goes to Chatham, Massachusetts – where The Finest Hours is set. The story of Bernie Webber’s incredible rescue is told not just by the people behind the movie but also by the people of Chatham and the family of the real Bernie Webber. Some of the people they interviewed were actually there and remembered the event. It’s emotional at times – especially when Bernie’s daughter talks about her father and the man she remembers and when everyone remembers the loss of Tiny Myers. It’s an awesome bonus feature and it adds a lot to the movie by hearing the people who really knew Bernie Webber talk about the kind of man he was and the impact that his heroism had on them.

There are a handful of other, shorter featurettes included, too. Among them are Brotherhood and Two Crews and What Is Your Finest Hour? These shorts play out more like a short, behind-the-scenes featurette that you’d see on YouTube before a theatrical release – and that might be what they originally were. Both end with a plug for the film’s original January release and include clips from the film. There are also snippets here and there from the cast and crew about the movie and the making of the film. Where is Your Finest Hour changes things up a bit by including the story of a recent Coast Guard rescue. Unfortunately, it’s just that one and the potential for a moving featurette featuring numerous recent Coast Guard heroes wasn’t fully embraced. They aren’t worth watching if you’ve already seen the film – but it is cool that Disney is including more of these pre-release featurettes on their home releases because some movies really have some cool stuff that’s worth watching.

Thankfully where Where Is Your Finest Hour? came up short The Finest Inspiration: The US Coast Guard delivered. It’s short but it focuses on the men and women of today’s Coast Guard. It gives them a little bit of the recognition they deserve and allows some of them to tell their own stories. It’s unfortunately not a full-fledged featurette as it’s styled the same as the other previous three I mentioned. But of them it’s easily the one most worth watching.

Also included in the blu-ray special features are a pair of deleted scenes. One is a half-CGIed scene set aboard the Pendleton as they try to save the sinking ship before she begins to break apart. The other sees one of the other men telling the story of how Bernie and Miriam met. (To be honest, neither offers the movie much so it’s probably good they were cut.)

I think I would have enjoyed the special features more if they had done a behind-the-scenes style featurette on just the US Coast Guard and the history of the Coast Guard. They do studio tours on a lot of the animated films and I think a tour of a Coast Guard base or something along those lines would have been fitting.

All in all, I would recommend this movie for people who like films based on true stories and also people who are looking for an good film to pass the time watching until Zootopia releases in a few weeks. The all-star cast makes this emotional, engaging film more than worth watching and if nothing else you’ll get to see a little bit of what the Coast Guard is still doing today every day of the week. Enjoy it!




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