I have good news, everyone: we’re out of September. For moviegoers, that means some good films are on the way, including some possible Oscar contenders. And unless I’m very much mistaken, Tom Hanks is going for the little golden guy in his latest film outing.
Captain Phillips is based on the true story of a man by the same name whose ship is attacked by Somali pirates. Should you stow away for a three hour tour on this vessel, or does it deserve to be sunk? Well, let’s take a look at the trailer and find out. (To follow along, click here.)
So who stars in this movie? As I mentioned before, Tom Hanks is the title character. His other films include Big, The Da Vinci Code, Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump, and many, many more. Otherwise, the cast is made up of relative unknowns. I guess you do what you have to for authentic Somali accents.
Paul Greengrass directs this movie. His previous projects include The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, and United 93. The first two prove he can direct action films (even if he can’t teach a cinematographer to hold a camera still), while the last movie demonstrates his experience bringing stories of real-life heroes to the big screen. For the first time in a while, I can say I’m satisfied that the director matches the movie.
Our trailer opens with both Phillips and the pirates getting on their boats and setting out to sea. Then they spot each other, and Phillips radios for help. “We have a potential piracy situation.” One of the crew thinks he’s spotted Johnny Depp. “You should alert your crew and get your fire hoses ready,” the woman on the other end advises him. But what if they have gremlins on their boat? The woman adds that the potential pirates are probably just fishermen. “They’re not here to fish,” Phillips replies. What, you’ve never gone fishing with automatic weapons? It increases your chances of landing a fish, although there may not be much of it left for eating when you’re done shooting it.
Phillips turns on the fire hoses, which unfortunately just makes the ship look like part of a Disneyland water show with pretty waterfalls cascading from the deck. He warns the crew to “Stay hidden at all costs; I don’t want any hostages.” Kill yourselves if you have to, but don’t give them any hostages. The best plan, Phillips continues, is to “Lock down, go dead in the water, and wait for help.” Did you have to say “dead in the water”? “Stick together and we’ll be all right,” he concludes. Now I’m going to go off by myself and get captured by pirates. I probably shouldn’t have included myself in the group that will be alright.
The pirates climb aboard and make their way to the bridge, waving their guns around and demanding to know where the other crewmembers are. “If you want to shoot somebody, shoot me!” says Phillips. Don’t give them any ideas, Captain. They’re doing just fine on their own. “Look at me,” says the lead pirate. “Look at me.” Now see, this is how crazy Batman has made Gotham. But no, he actually says, “I’m the captain now.” I’ve always wanted to be the captain of a freight vessel. It’s such an exciting job that grants me so much power. Maybe I should have boarded the Queen Anne’s Revenge instead.
The pirates threaten to kill their captives if the crew doesn’t come out of hiding in one minute. And then they don’t kill anyone, instead taking Captain Phillips out to sea in a lifeboat. So these pirates steal nothing and make threats they don’t follow through on. They are so good at their jobs. “You are without a doubt the worst pirate I have ever seen.” But at least they’ve managed to kidnap one guy. That’s one point in their favor. Sort of.
But that one kidnapped captain is enough to get the United States Navy involved. Phillips warns his captors, “They’d rather sink this boat than let you win.” Kill an innocent civilian with the pirates or let them get away with not really doing anything. Yes, the Navy clearly has their priorities in order. “I’ve come too far,” says the lead pirate. “I can’t give up.” So he’s come too far to give up who they are. Someone must have been up all night to get lucky. “It was supposed to be easy. I take ship, ransom, nobody get hurt.” Nobody did get hurt, guys. No harm, no foul. Let the guy go, and you can go back about your daily lives. “There’s got to be something other than kidnapping people,” says Phillips. “Maybe in America,” the pirate replies. I don’t know about you, but I feel so blessed to live in a country where we don’t have to kidnap people unless we want to.
And the trailer ends with a quick montage of shooting, swimming, and stabbing, followed by a Navy officer asking, “Captain Phillips, can you hear me? Captain Phillips, can you hear me?” Call me crazy, but if you have to ask twice, chances are he can’t hear you.
So based on the trailer, do I recommend this movie? Yeah, I’d say so. From what I remember of the actual events, the film does a good job portraying what actually happened. Tom Hanks is well-cast in this role, and from what little we’re shown in the trailer, he does a great job acting out the role. The movie looks intense and exciting while still being an important story. I can’t recommend it for younger viewers since it looks as though it has a good deal of violence in it, but more mature moviegoers will most likely enjoy it. Will I see it? Not in theaters, but I’m definitely intrigued enough to check it out at some point.
But I’ll be honest; it’s a bit disappointing that Captain Jack Sparrow didn’t even make a cameo.
Captain Phillips is owned by Columbia Pictures.