The majestic oceanic waters dazzle our imagination; so does the storm that darkens the sky and ravages any ship unfortunate enough to be caught out in the open. We’ve gathered a list of boat movies that show the sailor’s life, the difficulties and routines he faces as well as the stories of ordinary people that decided to test their luck in a faceoff against the elements.
We start our list with ‘Speed 2: Cruise Control’. The movie was released back in 1997 and its budget estimated at $160 million. Even with such vast funding the film just doesn’t look right; there are too many inconsistencies that make an immersive experience nearly impossible. To start with, the setting implies latitude and longitude that simply don’t exist (which may be a major turn off for the folks who have an understanding of how navigation works – they are most definitely a part of the audience), but things get worse – the vessels on the screen tend to blow up for no apparent reason, and the ship reaches it full speed using just one engine. Some may insist that it’s the plot that matters and the technical detail is not all that important and it will partially true – at the time of its release the ‘Speed 2’ ranked no. 1 in the charts, but as time went on and the critics had time to take a closer look at the masterpiece, things went downhill. The movie’s ratings just spiraled down and it even ended up winning a ‘Razzie’ – a reverse Oscar that is ‘awarded’ for the worst in the film industry as the least successful sequel.
Further on our list of the best boat movies includes another movie that is just so bad that it has become a classic example of what you definitely shouldn’t do as a producer. The Poseidon Adventure was filmed in 1972 with a budget of just 5 million dollars which makes its less of a failure than the movie we mentioned above; yet, a totally irrelevant depiction of Tsunami and the effect of high air pressure isn’t something you can just ignore. Still ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ collected some notable awards, such as the best original song, best actor and supporting actress.
The next one on our list is ‘Waterworld’ – a post apocalyptic movie that actually doesn’t have to meet our expectations as for the realism of what actually happens on the screen. It’s more about the plot and scenic play, with a budget of $175 million the producers managed to put up a decent show in 1995. Despite the film received some mixed reviews, it was still accepted pretty positively by the audience; later on the ‘Waterworld’ bred legacy of videogames, comic books, a novel and even more – a fully pledged theme park was built. It’s probably enough to forgive the scene in which the boat reaches the speed of a jet ski seconds after deploying the sail.
Filmed with a budget of 140 million dollars at the very beginning of the 21st century (exactly in 2000), ‘The Perfect Storm’ claims to be based on real events – a crew of a fishing boat surviving the merciless waves in the middle of the ocean. It’s true that the movie depicts a story that took place in 1991, but as you could expect, the movie makes things much more dramatic, extending the waves’ height far beyond the 9 meters that were actually reported. While experts were skeptical about the authenticity of the film, the audience seemed to like it judging by the ratings.
We continue the list of well known boat movies with ‘All is Lost’, a drama about survival in the open water with next to near hope for survival. This film is relatively new, with the release dating back to 2013; it cost 9 million dollars to produce and is quiet spectacular for the budget. There are a few things on the screen that you may find unrealistic – like the way the vessel is influenced by wind, or an elderly man climbing onboard in a soaked storm suit, but those are just some minor aspects that don’t spoil the overall impression. The film received an overwhelmingly positive reaction at the Cannes Festival and earned a range of positive reviews over the next years.
If you are a fan of psychological thrillers, you will most definitely enjoy the ‘Dead Calm’ released in 1989. The plot of the film is built around two vessels meeting in the middle of the ocean, one of the boats has a mentally unstable person on board – the maniac is violent and unpredictable. The most interesting fact about the movie is that Nicole Kidman actually pilots the ship for real. She had to take lessons from the owner, and you can actually see her performing the navigation routines.
Now we get to the part where we talk about the most authentic boat movies. ‘Master and Commander’ from 2003 is one of the films that depict the life onboard a vessel quiet accurately – but you should keep in mind that the plot is built around events taking place in the 19th century. The characters are sailors serving the Royal Navy on a frigate. To make the events on the screen as realistic as it gets, a 1:1 replica of the ship was actually set sail and its journey was filmed – so the footage of the open waters is 100% real.
The next one, ‘Captain Phillips’ was produced not long ago – in 2013. It tells a story of a modern day freight ship attacked by Somalia pirates in the waters of the Indian Ocean. During the initial assault the four attackers took the captain of ship hostage along with some of his colleagues, but the rest of the crew managed to take shelter in the safe room and the vast technical rooms of the ship and shut down the electricity. Making the pirates fight on in unfavorable conditions, the crew members capture the leader of the pirates and negotiate release of Captain Phillips and the hostages for a life saving boats for the pirates to get to the coast. The things went bad at the moment of pirates’ extraction – without any intent of following the agreement the crooks capture Captain Phillips once again, now taking him along to the coasts of Somalia. But they never reached the coast; neither did they get any ransom.
With a report of pirate attack and its consequences reported to the joint anti-pirate center, Navy Seals were put into action. USS Banebridge, a destroyer class ship intercepted the pirates effectively stopping the vessel by various means and forcing them to negotiate. The pirates were dispatched by a SEAL sniper team, and Captain Richard Phillips returned home in one piece. This is totally a ‘must see’ movie for all the boat enthusiasts – the ocean is as real as it gets in this one.
The winner of our rating is the ‘Original Wind’ –it’s safe to say that this is one of the most authentic movies that was ever made in this field. Real sailors, participants of the America’s Cup took part in it as well as commentators; but unfortunately the depiction of technical detail didn’t help the movie’s ratings. It is nevertheless a film worth attention.