“I don’t know why terrible things happen to us sometimes. But I have to believe that something good is going to come out of this.” —Soul Surfer
Soul Surfer premiered last Friday at the box offices and according to Entertainment Weekly, generated $3.7 million on its opening night. Starring AnnaSophia Robb (Bridge to Terabithia) as Bethany, Dennis Quaid (Far From Heaven, The Special Relationship, Yours, Mine, and Ours) as Tom Hamilton, Helen Hunt (Twister, What Women Want) as Cheri Hamilton, and singer-now-turned-actress Carrie Underwood in her first movie role playing Sarah Hill, Soul Surfer is based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a teen surfer who lost her arm during a tragic shark attack.
The director for this movie was Sean McNamara. You may not be familiar with his name, but you’re certainly more than familiar with his works if you’ve followed any Disney Movies such as Casper: A Spirited Beginning and The Even Stevens Movie or Disney TV shows such as That’s So Raven and Phil of the Future over the years. Running on a budget of $18 million and distributed by TriStar Pictures, Soul Surfer runs for an estimated length of 1 hour and 45 minutes. As of today, according to Box Office Mojo, it’s made $12.1 million. Not too shabby for an inspirational film, but it could do better.
Inspirational films such as Soul Surfer tend to be either hits or misses with the general public. I was reading the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and I was expecting critics to rate this poorly. However, at the moment, the opinions seem to be split almost evenly, with half of the critics rating it as a well-portrayed film, while the other half thought it was too simplistic and Christian-based. Some said the acting was great, others said it wasn’t, specifically calling out Carrie Underwood since this is her first time acting. Although it received mediocre ratings, critics are rating it much higher than Arthur and Your Highness, which also premiered last Friday, though Hanna seems to be the best reviewed film to watch out of the four newly releases from this past weekend. It’s actually doing a lot better with the general masses, with moviegoers rating it an 87% at Rotten Tomatoes and an A+ at a poll taken by CinemaScore.
I personally do want to see this movie, but I don’t think I’m going to watch it until it comes out on DVD. My interest is piqued because I watched the trailer and several interviews with the cast, including Carrie Underwood. Since Soul Surfer is based on the real life Bethany Hamilton’s autobiography and AnnaSophia, one of my favorite American teen actresses, is portraying her, I’m looking forward to watching this. I only hope that it doesn’t turn out to be some sappy Hallmark movie that would make me feel queasy afterwards. Not that I hate all Hallmark movies or anything — some just suck and overflow with too much cheese.
This probably isn’t a movie that I have a lot of expectations for, nor do I think it will truly answer the question of why bad things happen to good people when we least expect it and how God, if you believe in one or not, would allow such tragedy to happen. HOWEVER, I’ve got my eye on this nonetheless. What can I say? Surfing looks cool.