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DIRECTOR: Juan Antonio Bayona
CAST: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergest
RUNNING TIME: 114 minutes
Animation software developers know of software called Realflow, Maya and Blender which can be used in film-making. The software is good with visual effects that can make any scene you can imagine come true. Search for them on YouTube sometime and see just how advanced film-making has become.
This talk about software use in films comes to mind when you watch The Impossible, as the film depended heavily on the cutting- edge technology. The story centres on Maria (Watts) and Henry (McGregor) who visit Thailand for a Christmas holiday with their three kids.
Loosely based on real events that occured in 2004, the movie tells the story of how Santa – a very bad Santa – comes early in the form of a devastating tsunami that washes away everything in a matter of minutes. Maria’s family is scattered all over the resort and the biggest challenge they all face is finding each other.
The three kids are aged between six and 12 so you can take your young ones to watch this one. Maria is the one who is hit the most, meaning Watts spends most of her scenes on her back in a makeshift hospital.
You will want to assume that McGregor is the hero of the situation, only that is not true. The writers had other ideas and, frankly, they work much better.
The one thing that makes this movie is the excessive use of water, really dirty water. Panned-out dramatic scenes are obviously computer generated, while close-ups have the actors in really muddy waters.
Then comes Bayona’s eye as a director, something to look out for from now on because he is incredible. He pushes the boundaries when it comes to cinematography. When we would have shot things from above the water, Bayona goes under it to show just how serious the tsunami is. So yes, you will see lacerations happen under the muddy waters, but with enough light to see what’s happening. The extent of the natural disaster is shown in such a chilling manner you’ll not want to go to Thailand any time soon.
While Watts and McGregor are seasoned actors who we know can hold their own, the kids – Holland, Joslin and Pendergest – are really fabulous to watch. They have a sense of awareness of what their roles require and they, not the older actors, sell this movie.
You’ll be invested in the story-line from the start, but if you are a realist you may not be happy with the ending. The Impossible is a story about beating all odds and it does a great job portraying that.
If you liked The Day After Tomorrow and Dante’s Peak you will enjoy this.