'The Impossible' starts out on an airplane. A lovely British family, Maria Bennet (Naomi Watts), her husband, Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three young sons are off to Thailand for an idyllic Christmas vacation. What could be better?
When they arrive at their resort, they are even given an complimentary upgrade. The family now has a beautiful, luxurious beachfront villa to waste away their vacation time in.
After presents are exchanged, everyone heads down to the pool where they join their fellow happy holiday tourists.
The scene is serene; absolutely perfect. That is, until an ominous rumble is heard off in the distance. Before anyone can give the noise a second thought...
A TSUNAMI HITS...and Maria and her eldest son, Lucas (the wonderful Tom Holland) are swept away into the oncoming torrent and separated from Henry and the two other boys, Simon (Oaklee Pendergast) and Thomas (Samuel Joslin).
First I must say the CGI effects are absolutely brilliant. The cinematographer (Oscar Faura) and the director, Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) decided to shoot this from the tourist's POV.
We see the wave THROUGH their eyes...a dark, brown mass coming toward them, knocking down thick palm trees, hurling cars and lifting buildings into the air as well as people.
The wave sweeps over everyone and everything.
And then there's Maria...who's knocked through a glass wall, then emerges in the middle of swirling debris.
Maria searches frantically for her son, screaming his name out, over and over again when, suddenly, she sees him in the distance. Mustering all her energy, she makes her way over to him.
We watch, as mother and son, not knowing if the rest of their family is dead or alive, struggle to survive. And believe me, at the end of the film, you feel as if you've been put through the ringer.
Naomi is pitch perfect as a mother who will do anything to make sure her son lives and be reunited with her family.
Ewan McGregor is equally as fine as the father desperately searching for his wife and eldest son.
The fact that this film, written by Sergio C. Sanchez, is based on a true story, made it that much more intense.
'The Impossible', which opens in theaters, Friday, December 21, 2012, isn't what you'd call 'entertaining', but it's definitely worth seeing and for that reason, both John and myself, gave it 3 1/2 bagels out of 5.
Check out our video to see what happens when John forgets the bagels.