The Impossible – Too much hospital, not enough wave

The wave hits Kho Lak

We went to see The Impossible last night. Everyone remembers where they they were when the Tsunami struck nearly ten years ago- on boxing day 2004 -a bit like they know where they were when Princess Diana died. The stories of what happened that day and tales of disaster and survival kept the world gruesomely gripped for months after it happened. I have also recently traveled to Sri Lanka and seen some of the abandoned hotels which were hit by the giant wave along their coast line. They still stand derelict and destroyed with the dirty water marks clearly visible. So, we had high hopes for this film. We didn’t much like the title though. ‘The Impossible’ sounded like one of those animated Disney films about some  anthropomorphised animal  who comes out on top after 90 minutes of mad cap adventures.
However, to be fair, the portrayal of the wave hitting was very realistic and the technical aspects of the film are excellent, in particular the injury make up which looked 100% real. But where was the build up? I know it was meant to be a more factual account, but this was a story based on fact and was still a feature film after all. We cinema goers like to know a bit about the characters and care about them before something happens to them. Crucially, the Tsunami hit in the first few minutes of the film. Those audience members who had got stuck in the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream queue were still wandering in to their seats! If you’d wanted nachos as well you would have missed it altogether! The obvious opportunity to build dramatic tension was thrown away. People saying what a  paradise it was (irony), the introduction of other peripheral characters that we could have worried about and found out their fate later, and maybe just a bit more detail to make our English family more three dimensional, would have improved the film no end. The Bennetts were so perfect, and their charming children so grown up and adorably posh that it was a little bit hard to identify with them.

What is that force I feel?

And why was Obe Wan Kinobi in it? If they were trying to be accurate, why not use unknown actors who resembled the real family it was based on – who were Spanish by the way? I never forgave Hollywood for giving Aslan in Narnia the voice of Liam Neesom.. Aslan wasn’t IRISH!
More than half of the film was set in the hospital with family members losing and finding each other. There wasn’t actually that much of the Tsunami in it nor any context or information about its appearance. Like my friend said, “It should have been called ‘Looking for someone in a hospital.'” The verdict. Very good performances from Naomi and the posh kids but it needed – MORE WAVE – LESS HOSPITAL     Try review of Danny Boyle’s TRANCE

Obe Wan’s cute boys