Monday, January 14, 2013

Moby Dick - Starring William Hurt and Ethan Hawke

I am almost 50% of the way through the Moby-Dick Big Read now (in number of pages, if not in number of chapters, read) and until last night I was still having a hard time "humanizing" the Captain Ahab character.  Oh, I understood his reckless motivation for this particularly whaling trip and all that, and I genuinely liked Quee-Queg, Ishmael, and some of the other characters, but the novel still did not seem real to me.  I just could not picture what life on a cramped whaling ship of that era must have been like.

So when I stumbled upon Encore's 2011 film version of Moby-Dick late last night, I knew I had to immediately sit down and watch a few minutes of it.  Before I knew it, late as it was (ah, the beauty of retirement), I had watched almost all of the 90-minute Part 1 of the movie.  And now, I am re-inspired and anxious to get back to Melville's novel - and the rest of the movie.

Although the movie is billed as a "reimagnined" version of Herman Melville's novel, it works quite well - at least during the 75 minutes I've watched so far.  Strangely, this film version creates a relatively major character by the name of Elizabeth, the loving wife of Captain Ahab.  She is attractive, patient, and as loving a wife as a man could want, a good mother to their young son (who appears to be about eight or nine years old).  She is concerned that her husband is not physically ready for another voyage and asks Starbuck to look after him just as the Pequod sails off to meet her fateful battle with Moby Dick.

This is a beautiful movie and it gives a good sense of what it must have been like on the stormy sea and within the confines of the crew's below-deck quarters.  I recognized some of the key scenes in the movie as being very closely lifted from the book, but other scenes were not familiar to me at all - especially the opening one.  These, I suppose, are more of the changes made for this "reimagined" Moby Dick.

Honestly, I'm not sure where my sudden interest in Melville and Moby-Dick has come from, but now I want to, at the very least, sample each of the other film versions of Moby-Dick that have been created over the last several decades.

And, lastly, the movie's official trailer:

Starring: William Hurt (Ahab), Ethan Hawke (Starbuck), Gillian Anderson (Elizabeth), Charlie Cox (Ishmael), and Raul Trujillo (Quee-Queg)

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