Yaaaaaaaaaaarg: Review of ‘Captain Phillips’

"He's right behind me, isn't he?"

“He’s right behind me, isn’t he?”

Rated PG-13, 134 minutes (watched 10/12/13)

Some of the folks who lived it may quibble over the veracity of certain details, but Captain Phillips, aka Forrest Gump’s Fun-Time African Pirate Adventure, is a very well-made and very engaging movie.

We know how the story goes: Somali pirates take over an American cargo ship, the Alabama (Roll Tide!). Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks) is held hostage. SEAL Team Six swoops in and saves the day. USA! USA! Yet it’s a sign of remarkably good story telling by director Paul Greengrass that my heart was pounding even though I knew exactly what was going to happen. It reminded me of last year’s Argo in that respect; there was just enough tension to make you wonder if perhaps you remembered the in-real-life events wrongly and maybe the pirates did succeed with a hearty yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum.

You certainly don’t end up rooting for the pirates, but they have just enough humanity (largely due to a fantastic performance by lead pirate and Somali actor, Barkhad Abdi) that you feel their desperation, hunger and Holy-cow-we’re-in-way-too-deep hopelessness.

My only major quibble: The scenes involving action aboard the US Navy ships are way too slick and synthetic, causing a jarring and unnecessary tonal shift from the scenes aboard the Alabama and the lifeboat.

photo 3

All that’s wonderful, but what’s the movie’s grade? I’m in a hurry here, buddy.
4/5 lifeboats. I appreciate a well-made and well-acted movie.

Where do I know that guy from?
Well, you know Tom Hanks from basically everything, but I recommend you watch one of his movies based on something less of a true story: Joe vs. the Volcano. It’s my dad’s favorite movie, actually, and he finds deep spiritual meaning in it (seriously). Despite Tom’s hair. Or maybe it’s because of Tom’s hair? Hmm.

What is the star’s spirit animal?
I’m thinking a Scottish terrier.

What color socks are you wearing right now?
Red and yellow argyle.

Spoiler alert!
That isn’t Tom Hanks’ real accent.

Megan’s Take:
The shaky cam made her nauseated. (2/5)

Heard any good jokes lately?
Why did Cleopatra fall off the swing? Because she’s dead.

Snacks Eaten:
Popcorn with M&Ms mixed in, two Diet Pepsis (though we spilled the popcorn during the previews)

Unrelated Word of the Day:
Eristic ih-RISS-tik adjective: characterized by disputatious and often subtle and specious reasoning.

Would the movie have been any better with the addition of Morgan Freeman as narrator?
No. Tom Hanks and Morgan Freeman in the same movie would have been too much gravitas and goodwill for mere mortals to handle.


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