Monday, July 18, 2011

"Call me Michelle"

Now that was funny.

I watched a newer movie version of the beloved Moby Dick. This one is called 2010: Moby Dick.

The Ishmael character is played by a female whale researcher named Michelle. Took me a second to put it together, but when her assistant Pippin kept calling out to her, "Doctor Herman," she finally responded, "Call me Michelle." Clever. Ishmael--Michelle. Cute. Even her last name being Herman is cute.

However, the good stuff stops there.

This was only a so-so movie, and I don't mean that just because of my aversion to the classic novel. It's no better than your average SciFi Channel original movie.

I want to go into all the specifics of the movie--that's what I do here. I first want to make the point that they ruined what Ahab was all about, and thereby ruined the movie.

Moby Dick, like in the opening of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, is wrecking ships. You know how the Nautilus is wrecking the ships and it's all being blamed on a sea monster? Well, here the sea monster is actually doing the wrecking and it's getting blamed on Ahab.

Now my point is that the revenge factor simply vanishes from the story. For some reason, Ahab goes radio silent, doesn't check in, and goes rogue, even though his job is to hunt down the sea monster. Most of everything that goes on in the movie is predicated on the fact that they have been assigned to this already since the wreckings. Why does Ahab pull the Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now routine? Why is anybody arguing with him? All Ahab has to do is call his superiors, tell them what is going on, and get the help he needs, rather than be hunted down himself. "Hey, Admiral, just checkin' in! We've almost got that whale cornered! Mind sending me a couple extra ships?" "No problem, Captain Ahab, since that is what we sent you out to do anyway!"

Especially after the cruise ship goes down! Every seaman on that sub would happily follow that whale in order to blow it into snot. So now it doesn't have to be Ahab, it could be any captain--Ahab just put himself in the right position apparently, even outfitting the sub Pequod for this. And of course, he has been waiting since 1969, the original attack that took his leg. Now that 2010 has rolled around, and new attacks have started--where the hell were they for 41 years?--Ahab finally goes after him. If there were sporadic attacks through the years, or this hunt made Moby destroy new ships to piss Ahab off (sort of like Moby shooting hostages), now that would have been better. No, Ahab waits 41 years for new attacks, and now, under orders!, finally goes after the whale. Where is the revenge-for-hate's-sake factor?

More later on this incredible movie. (I mean "incredible" in its most literal sense--not believable.)

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