The day I learned that I hated computer generated (CG) special effects was when I saw Air Force One. At the end of that film, a jet crashes into the ocean. Instead of models or rear-projection, a computer was used to simulate the crash. The scene was such a ridiculous cartoon, trying so earnestly to be "realistic" that I wondered how a director as prestigious as Wolfgang Petersen ever allowed the scene to remain.
Now Petersen has made a film in which the CG is even more prominent. The Perfect Storm tells the true story of the swordfish boat Andrea Gail, and her loss at sea with all hands.
The main character in this film is not George Clooney as the gruff, grimy captain of the boat, nor is it Mark Wahlberg as the blue-collar fisherman trying to feed his family. The main character is the storm that ruins their lives and touches the lives of dozens of characters, including meteorologists, sailors, fishermen, and their families.
Petersen still allows some ridiculous CG shots into his movie — ships, helicopters, and men violate the laws of physics from time to time. Yet because the special effects were integral to the story — because the story couldn’t have been told without CG — I was able to become engrossed.
Engrossing as the storm sequence is, The Perfect Storm is only so-so. Too many of the human characters are two-dimensional, and much of the dialogue is laughably bad.
Then again, most people won’t be seeing this movie for the dialogue and characters.