Alaska film 'Big Miracle' premieres in nation's capital

McClatchy NewspapersJanuary 26, 2012 

WASHINGTON -- "Big Miracle," the first major production subsidized by a state of Alaska film incentive program among the most generous in the nation, premiered in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday as debate burns in Alaska over whether the program is worth the cost.

All three members of Alaska's Congressional delegation, along with many of their staffers, were among those who showed up for the invite-only premiere at a Georgetown theater. So did star Drew Barrymore, actress Vinessa Shaw, director Ken Kwapis, as well as producers and screenwriters of the film.

The film is a fictionalized retelling of the 1988 gray whale rescue near Barrow that received huge international attention. The consensus of many of those who attended Wednesday night's premiere was that they didn't come in with very high expectations, in part because of a trailer that's on the cornball side, but were pleasantly surprised by the movie.

It's a sweet, feel-good movie. There are stock Alaska characters like the rabid environmentalist and the greedy oilman, but they are presented with enough nuances to keep them engaging and not just cardboard cutouts. There are funny moments and several subplots that mesh with the overall story.

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