Movie Review: Captain Phillips

CaptPhillipsby Brad Nelson   3/14/14
The first logical question you may have regarding a movie such as this which includes the U.S. military as a major player, Is it anti-American? No. This is more of a documentary style of film. There’s not a lot of rah-rah going on one way or the other.

The second question you likely have is, Is it worth watching? And there the answer gets a little more complicated.

Based upon a true story, Captain Phillips tells the story of “sectarian yutes practicing alternative revenue enhancement schemes” (aka “Muslim pirates from Somalia”). Nothing against Muslims, per se, but this film doesn’t do much of a job of digging below the surface despite it’s 2-1/4 hour run time. Why do they engage in piracy? What’s happening in Somali? You don’t know. These pirates appear as just a random force of nature.

I would have like to have known more about the type of pirate culture that exists in Somalia. But all we get (as is all too common in this film) are scenes of black Somalia pirates with bad teeth yelling at each other or at Phillips. And once you get past the initial setup of this film (to the point where the pirates capture Captain Phillip’s ship, which is by far the best part of the movie), that’s about all you get for a good 40 minutes: pirates yelling at either Captain Phillips or each other. All this yelling gets not just dull buy annoying.

And it would have been nice to get a little background on pirating in general in that region of the Indian Ocean as a strategic overview. What have other nations done about it, if anything? Surely this wasn’t the first incident of piracy. But there is little setup to this movie. They create no context for this incident so it is more or less robbed of the ability to move you one way or the other.

Nor, once it comes to the point that the U.S. Navy gets involved, do you get much, if any, setup in regards to the assembling of the Navy teams, including the SEALS, and what their various strategies might be. They just appear like a sort of seafaring 911.

Chop out that middle 40 minutes of listening to pirates scream at everyone and instead provide some setup to this movie, along with more of a behind-the-scenes look at the Navy operations, and this might have been an interesting movie. As it is, unless you salivate at every breath The Remarkable Tom Hanks takes, you’re going to be a little bored with this one. • (1453 views)

Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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5 Responses to Movie Review: Captain Phillips

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    And here’s how the other half viewed this movie. Here’s a loony review from some chick at

    So, America is this powerful, rich, great country full of educated people with humanity, and this little third-world poor country, Somalia, is just so uncivilized, so pathetic, therefor they are dirty and ugly, they have to have big yellow teeth, and they are cruel, they are disordered, they are just doomed to be so hateful?! What the F is this! Just because you are powerful, so you can manipulate the poor however you want?! Make yourself a hero, and other people just a bunch of rats? I really felt so shameful for this movie. Yes, I know “its based on true story”. BlaBlaBla I just hate you rape people all over to make yourself look so good. My heart hurts for Somalia. Remember this conversation: -Captain Philips: “it shouldn’t be like that way, you must have other things to do” -Poor Somalian:”maybe in America, maybe in America.”

    Sorry, ma’am. Being black and poor doesn’t give you the right to steal. But then, if you’ve been fed this Cultural Marxist stuff all your life, your “compassion” and anti-Americanism trumps all. What a rube. But then, these are the types running the country right now. In fact, it’s somewhat surprising to me that Obama let them take out these pirates. I’d be interested in knowing what his political calculation was on this.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      As I recall, there were also some who complained about Lone Survivor that it made the Taliban people look bad. The fact that it presented them honestly (just as this probably presents Somali pirates honestly) is totally irrelevant to multicultural liberals.

      • Leigh Bravo says:

        so true….so true. That is, in fact, the current problem in the United States. The left have become so politically correct, that they would rather focus on the pirate’s bad teeth, than realize the amount of death and destruction this faction, the pirates, have pushed onto travelers within this region. Whether commercial or private, they feel it is ok to attack, scare and kill Americans because their life is not where it should be. It does not matter what we have done or what we want to do and what the reality is, they feel they are justified? Is this the way you think the world should react? Do you think it is justified if Americans attack our Capital because the powers at be refuse to pass or even put to a vote bills passed by the house that could help all Americans within the job market? Or that we are justified to attack or protest because the government continues to spend our hard earned dollars on wasteful programs all while they break the American people and they continue to live high on the hog? Please explain to me what the difference is? The left always feel they are justified whether humane or not, but always slam the rest of us for expecting truth and justice, on the grounds that it is just the right thing to do. Choose your battles carefully!!!

  2. Glenn Fairman says:

    Sorry, I rented this from the Red Box and then could not bring myself to watch what is in effect BS history. Apparently, the Good Cap’s crew told another story. He was well aware that hostages had been taken recently on two occasions and instead of maintaining the 600+ mile buffer that was recommended he tried to cut mileage and time and sliced it to 230 miles. Read some of the history according to others on the web. Making heroes from fools is the last thing America needs. As for the shipping lanes in the area of Somalia, all freighters should be required to have access to air escorts armed with napalm to drop on those SOBs. That would stop piracy immediately.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Glenn, from reading a few reviews and comments at, I also got the impression that there were discrepancies between the movie and what happened in real life. Perhaps that is why I thought there was very little context or background to this. I guess they had to keep it in isolation if they were just making much of this stuff up. And surely that is why I was screaming at the TV “One man and a pellet gun could have repelled those boarders.” Something seemed rotten in Denmark.

      And making heroes from fools is indeed the last thing America needs. That’s how I felt about “Lone Survivor.” Not the men were particularly foolish, per se. They were only following established procedures. But there was foolishness built into that whole scenario which, for me, spoiled the heroism.

      On the other hand, how odd for Hollywood to be creating a hero where there was none…if the story of his crew members is true. They usually do the opposite. It’s amazing that they didn’t make the corporation the bad guy.

      This movie is pretty good (as cinema) up until the pirates take the ship. And then it’s a bit of a yawn…if a loud yawn with all that pirate yelling going on. And if you wanted to hide from Somali pirates (and none of these guys looked like rocket scientists) on a supertanker, wouldn’t that be a relatively easy task? After all, the thing is huge and piled with container cars.

      The funniest part of the movie is when Hanks is giving orders to turn left and right to try to mess up the pursuit of the pirates. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think a supertanker is going to be popping wheelies anytime soon. I thought that part of the movie was hilarious. At best you might “veer hard right” and this would likely, at best, gently move the tanker in an arc that the naked eye might just be able to detect…after several minutes of hard “veering.”

      My hat is off the the guys who played the Somali pirates. There was some good acting going on there. But I’ve always thought that Hanks was over-rated…at least when he started to become the darling of the film set. But I was on the Hanks bandwagon early with movies such as “Bachelor Party” and “Big” long before his mere presence in a film started people automatically gushing the O-word for every performance. (Oscar) To my critical mind, this culminated in what I thought was his over-the-top and stilted performance in “Cast Away.”

      But he was quite good in “Apollo 13,” “Forest Gump,” and a few others. And his voice work in “Toy Story” is superb.

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