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Even supporters of a blockbuster-sized disaster thriller are shocked to discover it’s not very good

Solid-if-unspectacular is not how people remember it.

the perfect storm
via Warner Bros.

There’s no direct correlation between the commercial success of a movie and critical acclaim, but it’s nonetheless taken more than 20 years for even the film’s staunchest of supporters to realize that Wolfgang Petersen’s epic disaster drama The Perfect Storm wasn’t all that great.

Adapting any tragic true-life events and using them as the basis to power a $120 million Hollywood epic has to be handled with care, but despite the best intentions of the key creatives, things didn’t quite go off without a hitch. The families of two crew members sued the filmmakers for the fictionalization of genuine happenings, while others launched legal action in federal district court, but all plans to litigate proved to be unsuccessful.

The Perfect Storm is far from being a terrible film, and it often deftly straddles the line between sweeping CGI-driven peril and intimate character moments, but even the staunchest of supporters have proven to be more than a little shocked that it wasn’t unanimously greeted with open arms by critics or general audiences.


It was still a huge success, though, with The Perfect Storm hauling in $329 million at the box office, but it was simultaneously slated for being all style and very little substance. A 46 percent Rotten Tomatoes score has proven to be much lower than the memories of those who were around at the time of its June 2000 release would think, while even a 63 percent user rating is only slightly above average for a big budget tale of danger and destruction packed to the gills with recognizable talent.

At the end of the day, it’s all down to taste and personal preference, but that doesn’t mean it’s not curious to discover that people thought The Perfect Storm secured a much greater reputation than it actually had.

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Scott Campbell

News, reviews, interviews. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves; Words. Lots of words.