'Moby Dick' is the New Definition of 'Hollywood-ize'

September 24, 2008

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Moby-Dick is generally considered one of the greatest novels ever written and has endured as a masterpiece even over a century-and-a-half after its publication. That being said, it has its flaws: the first-person perspective really limits the amount of digressive scenes of whale carnage, where we abandon the narrative and just hear about how this asshole whale is really busting some shit up. And Ahab, for all the ways his obsessiveness fit the story, always seemed a bit unlikable. Why not more of a suave, George Clooney type?

The writers of The Olsen Twins' New York Minute and the director of Wanted are about to fix all that! But just to warn you who are faint of heart, this is NOT your grandfather's Moby-Dick! (They actually say that):

[Writers Adam Cooper and Bill Collage] revere Melville’s original text, but their graphic novel-style version will change the structure. Gone is the first-person narration by the young seaman Ishmael, who observes how Ahab’s obsession with killing the great white whale overwhelms his good judgment as captain.

This change will allow them to depict the whale’s decimation of other ships prior to its encounter with Ahab’s Pequod, and Ahab will be depicted more as a charismatic leader than a brooding obsessive.

"Our vision isn’t your grandfather’s ‘Moby Dick,’ " Cooper said. "This is an opportunity to take a timeless classic and capitalize on the advances in visual effects to tell what at its core is an action-adventure revenge story."

Yeah, I always thought Melville was trying to tell more of a kick-ass action-adventure story; he just didn't have access to enough computer effects to write that at the time. You always got the sense that, given the budget, he would have written the whale as like a Terminator character, but also a whale. It's good that vision will finally be realized.

Also: "graphic novel" is not a film style. Unless they mean in the style of a Marmaduke collection, where Marmaduke is a whale.

Bekmambetov to direct 'Moby Dick' [Variety]

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