Sebastian Junger has admitted that there’s ”a bunch of stuff wrong” with his book The Perfect Storm, about the 1991 shipwreck of the Andrea Gail. Screenwriter Bill Wittliff has adapted Junger’s adventure-disaster best-seller by freely fabricating much of the shipboard antics. Any surprise then that The Perfect Storm, the movie, comes off as a splishy-splashy daydream, and, as daydreams go, a wishy-washy one?
Though director Wolfgang Petersen’s flick features more working-class heroes than a Bruce Springsteen boxed set, it ain’t boss how they’re rendered indistinguishable, give or take a few pop-Freudian tics. Ponder, for kicks, the latent homoeroticism in the long, searching looks shared between Capt. Billy Tyne (George Clooney) and his mate Bobby Shatford (Mark Wahlberg). Besides a lot of soulful gazing, the guys also do some swordfishing. As they get caught between the profit motive and the deep blue sea, James Horner’s score swells just as predictably as the waves. Just as artificially, too. Petersen’s special-effects team may have made the climactic storm perfectly terrifying on the big screen, but on video it’s just a tempest in a TV. The condescending treacle, however, surges with hurricane force. C