‘The Impossible’ Review: And the Water Receded

Posted in The Screening Room by - March 10, 2015

On the Kulturecast, Chris, John, and I talked at length about the fact that some of the best disaster movies are ones that don’t focus on the disaster itself. Some of the cheesiest disaster films make the disaster a character within the story and in some rare cases it works. Writers don’t really have choice in the case of alien invasion or monster destruction films, and in these instances, characterization is rather necessary. However, with natural disasters this absolutely not the case. Throughout the list we have been looking for films that break the mold and deliver a fantastic movie experience. I finally found one that breaks the mold, but it doesn’t save it.

Today I watched the 2012 Ewan McGregor film, The Impossible, and the entire time I was questioning my sanity. Why? Because I have never sat through a more boring and lackluster film. Yes, J.A. Bayona and Oscar Faura create a very beautiful and striking film, However Sergio G. Sánchez essentially ruined the entire film that is actually based on a real life event with his complete lack of character development. 

This entire film is an unfortunate waste. We have fantastic acting from Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, stunning cinematography from Oscar Faura, and good direction from J.A. Bayona, but the story premise, while on the face is very compelling, is wasted on its delivery. I love stories that put characters in adverse situations and through sheer force of will or even dumb luck, they persevere and achieve that happy ending. For this reason, Remember the Titans and even The Replacements stand as favorites of mine with those themes. However, a film that tells a story that puts a extraordinarily rich white family in the middle of an exotic beach side resort in Thailand and then separates them in a horrifying disaster, but against all odds reunites them as a unit without fatality at the end makes for a lame film.

What is truly upsetting for me is that I’m a fan of McGregor and Watts’ work. Both actors have a knack for making mediocre films bearable through sheer acting talent. However, the utter lack of structure and story in The Impossible, is a complete waste of talent. At least they got paid. I hope.

The only positive thing I could say about this film, besides the stunning visuals, is that J.A. Bayona was able to capture the true chaotic atmosphere that arrives with a tsunami. Let’s not forget that this film is set during the astronomically destructive 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.

It has been a very long time since I’ve seen a film that I’ve hated, but I’ve finally found one. I will admit, if you are one that enjoys lackluster, melodramatic flicks that demonstrate what perseverance can achieve, you might actually enjoy this film some. If you are not one of these people, you’d have more fun watching Armeggedon or Deep Impact

Final Say: Don’t Watch It

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