There’s a basic requirement when it comes to 21st Century monster movies, which is that the latest beast must somehow top the last guy in some respect. He/she/it has to be bigger, meaner, more threatening on top of the usual bad-ass ferocious. Which means, in the case of Ron Howard‘s In The Heart of The Sea (Warner Bros., 3.15), that the strangely aggressive sperm whale which attacked the whaling ship Essex in 1820 and inspired Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick must become a kind of flat-tailed Godzilla. Major dread and CG awe must happen among the Joe Popcorn class. Obviously Howard’s film is trying to satisfy that demand. One hopes that Howard and screenwriter Charles Leavitt also chose to tell the actual story of the last voyage of the Essex, which was passed along in Nathaniel Philbrick’s same-titled novel. Read the Wiki version and tell me it’s not an eye-opener. Shipwrecked, lifeboats, starving…seven sailors were cannibalized. Please don’t reduce this to a man-vs. beast thing. Here’s my previous (10.16.14) post about the initial teaser.