It's funny, I remember the even as if it were yesterday. It came on the news that three whales were trapped in an ice pack in far northern Alaska. They had swum through an inlet, but the inlet froze over so they were stuck in this one area where they could pop up for air.


I remember what I immediately thought - "Who they hell was walking along in the frozen tundra of Northern Alaska and happened upon these whales?" My reaction was basically centered around the fact there were just too many people on this planet!


But the story went that an Inuit hunter was out hunting when he came on to the whales plight. The story further said that this Inuit hunter, Roy Ahmaogak, ran back to his village to get a chainsaw to try to cut a path so the whales could get free. Being the cynic that I am, this didn't ring true. I mean he's an Inuit hunter out hunting! This would have been a bonanza for him and his village since one whale can provide meat and oil for a year. But the media stuck with the story. And now the story is a movie.

Directed by Ken Kwapis ("Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants", "He's Just Not That Into You"), the story get's readjusted for Hollywood sake. Why? Probably if they stuck with the story that was presented in 1988, a lot more people would ask the same question that I've pondered for decades. So reality gets a re-write.


Told using voice over of a young Inuit named Nathan (Ahmaogak Sweeney), Adam Carlson (John Krasinski) is an NBC reporter staff reporter doing a story on oil drilling near th Alaskan town of Point Barrow. He's reporting on how a big oil company is going to change the native's lives by introducing them to the cash cow of oil.


Adam's ex-girlfriend is Rachel (Drew Barrymore) a Greenpeace volunteer who happens to be up there to. While thumbing through his video's he comes across an overhead shot of three gray whales trapped in the ice. In a flash he calls Rachel (hoping to get back with her) and faster than you can say "three whales are stuck in the ice" the media frenzy has begun.


Now it's a matter of the oil drilling magnate (Ted Danson), Governor Haskell (Stephen Root), the voice of Ronald Reagan, the US Military and the Russian navy - to come together to save these three whales.

While all this is going on Adam and Rachel are starting to bound again, even though she has bounded with the whales.


Oh yeah, this is Hollywood don't forget! And this is Hollywood presenting a heartwarming family film - so there has to be a bunch of hoo-haw.


It's a story that was, as insignificant as the event actually was, meant to be made into a film. It even includes the weepy moment when the baby what doesn't answer the call. That wasn't a spoiler, everyone knows that happened.


What is unbelievable is how the film was shot. It doesn't even look cold! Do you remember when Luke Shywalker and Han Solo were on the Ice Planet of Hoth during "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back"? It looked cold because it was cold and snowing in Norway where that segment was filmed. (That was also a real blizzard!) But here you can see they are not cold... not the 50 below they claim! And... oh forget it... it's supposed to be a heartwarming story which it is... sorta.


In reality, there was an outcry about the amount of money being spent to save three whales - over $1 million. But, as the film does accurately depict, it became a political maneuver by the Republicans so that future president George HW Bush would easily win. Which he did. But not because of the whales.


"Big Miracle" tells the story of what actually was a non-story. It substitutes cuteness and fluff for the actual story and changes the things to suit the masses.   -- GEOFF BURTON