Can a relationship expert also be an environmentalist? The answer is yes, if he’s director/writer Ken Kwapis, who has done an unlikely hopscotch jump from the chuckle-inducing love story “He’s Just Not That Into You” in 2009, to an outright saving-the-whales vehicle three years later. “Big Miracle” is the title, and if you’re thinking this sounds blatantly PG — you’re right. But wait, don’t get up and leave just yet. “Big Miracle” delivers more than it lets on, and in the most unexpected ways. For one thing, the relationship thing gets as much screen time as the whale thing and an ex-couple almost come together again, pull skittishly apart, tentatively hold hands and ponder over their feelings, while saving whales. Such multi-tasking just could not happen in a straightforward endangered-cetacean movie.
“Big Miracle” is based on true events that happened in 1988 — three whales were trapped under the ice on the Alasakan coastline, five miles from the ocean. They could breathe through a small opening on the ice but it was clear the surface would freeze over in a couple of days and the whales — nicknamed Wilma, Fred and Bam-Bam (no Pebbles) — would drown. They needed help from decent human beings and “Big Miracle” is the story of how these human beings came together in a common cause for … decency.