In J.A. Bayona's neo-disaster-film, everything but the carnage is cheap. Appropriating a "true story" about a family torn apart by the 2004 Thailand tsunami — the Spanish clan who inspired it have been Anglicized in the form of Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor — he alternates between intense set pieces and sub-Spielbergian drivel. The tsunami scenes that bookend the picture achieve a visceral splendor; disconcerting sound design and brutal gore effects make them painful to watch. For those few minutes, TheImpossible feels like a new type of survivalist movie, one that puts you through the same hell as its characters. But the only thing filling time between those two heart-pounding scenes is faux-inspirational melodrama, with every emotional moment — lives being saved, families being reunited — backed by an ingratiating musical score and crass camera movements. The hokum can wear you down worse than the tsunami.