Top positive review
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A whale of a good time
on 3 October 2011
Whenever my faith in The Asylum begins to waver, a movie like 2010: Moby Dick comes along to remind me why I am, in all probability, the world's most unabashed admirer of this film company's low-budget wares. I'm certainly not saying this modern cinematic adaptation is going to supplant Herman Melville's epic masterpiece of literature, nor am I nominating it for any "best" of film awards. What I am saying is that 2010: Moby Dick is just great fun to watch. So what if Moby Dick could never be easily mistaken for an actual whale? Heck fire, Moby Dick has always been - more than anything else - a metaphor for any number of things dreamed up by literary critics. The same can be said of Ahab and his mad quest to exact his revenge on the great whale. This movie, in my opinion, actually manages to explore some of the same themes as the original novel - it doesn't get very far or do it all that well, but I was surprised just to see the effort made along those lines.
For all of its fakeness, Moby Dick is really a sight to behold - over six hundred feet long, battle-scarred, and bristling with the remains of dozens of harpoons over the years. Even a military submarine is no match for this beast of the sea - and that gets us to Ahab. Having seen the whale first-hand back in 1969 and blaming him for the loss of his leg, this young navy man overcame his physical handicap (and the fact that he is pretty much insane) to rise to the command of a nuclear submarine in today's American fleet - a submarine he personally refortified and redesigned as the final step in his master plan to hunt down and kill the whale that took his leg. Now he's gone rogue, telling his crew that he has orders to hunt down Moby Dick and boat-napping "whale language" expert Dr. Michelle Herman (Renee O'Connor) to help him track down the beast. The Navy doesn't take kindly to a madman with stripes leaving the reservation with a nuclear submarine, leaving Ahab little time to find the whale before the Navy finds him. Modern-day versions of Queequeg, Starbuck, and Stub are just along for the ride.
I actually liked the ending, even though it's the type of ending that most viewers will find incomplete and disappointing, and there are some great moments along the way. It's great fun to watch Captain Ahab (Barry Bostwick) stomp around (with his artificial leg) and chew up the scenery as he proclaims the deadly menace of Moby Dick, and the whale has some pretty good scenes as he basically toys with the man he knows to be his mortal enemy. There's even one point where the whale surfaces purely in order to laugh at Ahab's latest failure. That, to me, is entertainment.