Thursday, July 22, 2010

Apocalypse Moby Dick

Since it is summer I have extra time to watch movies. I just watched the REDUX version of Apocalypse Now.

I have tried sitting through it before, but either fallen asleep or somehow changed my mind. I sat through it this time, all at once. 202 minutes. I did have to get up to change the VHS tape (I borrowed it from my dad) but other than that it was pretty much uninterrupted.

And I saw Moby Dick in it.

I know the movie is actually patterned off of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. (Another thing I am going to have to force myself to read in the future.) However, I think there are more parallels to the narrative structure.

It is a very straightforward and simple plot really. Captain Willard has to go upriver to Colonel Kurtz, who has gone insane, and relieve him of his command (read: kill). There are lots of little adventures along the way. The vacuous Playboy bunnies, the bitter French plantation owners, some fighting. Some of the little stories do nothing to the narrative. Sure, they make a statement, telling about Kurtz' insanity and how he got that way because Willard just about joined him. They do make it more human. Although the French plantation owners seemed tedious, it does make a comment on the war and what it did to people.

But that's my point. Apocalypse Now interwove these adventures into the narrative. There were no asides. The things that were talked about were brought up because they were going through those adventures. Imagine: Willard just travelling upriver and just writing these asides on stuff on the war like Ishmael does on whales. No, Willard lived these adventures. There was still a narrative.

So if I were to make a new Moby Dick movie, I think I would do it much like Apocalypse Now. That kind of movie.

Because I think I know more about Kurtz than I know or will learn about Ahab. I'm sorry, I think Ahab is a flat character. However, the Apocalypse Now characters all had life and dreams and personality.

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