2010: Moby Dick

Dir: Trey Stokes
Star: Barry Bostwick, Renee O'Connor, Michael B. Teh, Adam Grimes

Given The Asylum's fondness for "reinventing" other people's movies in their "mockbusters", I'm a bit surprised we haven't seen more of this kind of thing, where they re-work public domain works of literature. Likely almost as much name recognition there, and rather less chance of someone getting litigious. While they have adapted the works of Wells, Conan Doyle and Dumas, those were likely a lot more in connection with other, larger budget movies: this movie may be the first time they have made an original adaptation, if you like. This version moves it into the present day, beginning in 1969 with the young Ahab losing his leg to the giant white whale, while a crew member on a nuclear submarine in the Arctic. Fast forward to the present day, and something is attacking ships, oil platforms, etc. Ahab (Bostwick), who is now captain of his own sub, the USS Pequod, kidnaps marine biologist Dr. Michelle Herman (O'Connor), and heads off-book to complete his obsessive revenge mission, tracking down and killing the whale which took his leg.

It might have been interesting had the Asylum made a genuine effort to update Melville's tome while retaiining the themes, rather than just hijacking the names of the characters ["Starbuck" is neither product placement for the coffee chain, nor a Battlestar Galactica reference: it was the name of a crewmate during Melville's time as a whaler] and turning it into another one of their aquatic monster mashes. As is, there isn't much fun to be had, watching Bostwick stomp around on his robotic leg, yelling a lot, while O'Connor adopts the exact opposite approach in her performance, sitting around listening to whale song and not acting at all. The production values are as shaky as you'd expected, with the submarine apparently being filmed inside a cupboard, but you may be amused by the whalewatching expedition that goes horribly wrong, or the end, where Moby voluntarily beaches itself, in order to chase people around on land. That whirring sound you hear, is Herman Melville spinning in his grave.

[November 2014]

The fail whale
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