Big Miracle Makes a Big Splash: Three Whales Make for a Great Tale


Opened to the general public on February 3rd, "Big Miracle" is sad, funny, and heart-warming all rolled into one.

Opened to the general public on February 3rd, "Big Miracle" is sad, funny, and heart-warming all rolled into one. "Big Miracle" was directed by Ken Kwapis and stars John Krasinski, Drew Barrymore and Ted Danson. It also stars three grey whales, known as Wilma, Fred, and Bam-Bam. The movie is based on the real events that occurred in 1988 when three whales were trapped in the ice.


The story of "Big Miracle" starts to heat up when the temperature begins to drop and the whales are trapped as their path to the open sea is frozen solid. The whales must continually use their heads to break the ice that forms over the only air hole within five miles. The story takes place in the small town of Barrow, Alaska. At first it seems the only people interested in the story are the native Eskimo tribe who plan to “harvest” the whales for food before they die and sink to the bottom of the ocean. A news reporter finds out about whales and records a news story, thinking it couldn't go too far. He is surprised when his story hits the big time and everyone from Green Peace, to an oil baron, from Tom Brokaw to Ronald Regan become engrossed and involved in the story. The entire nation becomes enamored with the saga of the whales, affectionately called Wilma and Fred (the mother and father whale) who are worried about their baby, dubbed Bam- Bam. Everyone is thrilled as the rescue of the whales is planned. As the weather takes a turn for the worse, so does the whales’ chances of survival. Everyone is wondering what will happen. Will the whales make it? How can they possibly migrate South to warm waters and safety?

The movie is full of thrills and chills (the Alaskan weather with temperatures dropping to seventy below zero is an ever present antagonist). There are numerous laugh out loud moments, with much of the comic relief being provided by two inventors/entrepreneurs from Minnesota. I won’t spoil it for you, but you’ll love the frozen eyelid scene.

This movie is based on actual events that occurred in 1988. The film include actual news footage of the whales, the people involved in the rescue, and even footage of President Regan’s news conference when he committed Federal resources to save the whales. This is a great story with great characters, my only question is: how did it take Hollywood almost twenty-five years to turn this whale of a tale into a movie?