Captain Ahab: 2/10
One of my favorite literary characters of all time would have to be the captain of the Pequod, Ahab. He is single-minded, vengeful, and cold to those around him. His ultimate goal is more important than the lives of his closest crew, and he is uncompromising in his quest to kill the fabled white whale, Moby Dick. Yes, Ahab personifies the dangerous obsession that can come with fiery passion, just as Moby Dick is the representation of the unattainable goals that reside in the deepest parts of our hearts, but it’s also a story of a crazy old guy trying to kill a big monster. Gregory Peck, a badass god who lived solely to show us what we could never become, played Captain Ahab in one of the greatest film adaptations to a novel ever made, and that legacy is one that shouldn’t ever be smeared. God damn you, Barry Bostwick.
The whole mess starts off with a submarine located somewhere in the far north. Private Ahab, still a young buck, hears a strange noise in the water, and you better believe that it’s Moby Dick. The gargantuan whale grabs the submarine in its mouth and pretty much rams it through the ice mass on the surface of the water. Somehow, Ahab survives, and he meets the monster eye-to-eye for the first time. Cut to the future, where whale biologist Michelle Herman (a clever mix of Ishmael and Herman Melville) is picked up by a strange submarine that appears in the middle of one of her whale communication exercises. That submarine is the U.S.S. Pequod, and the captain is the man himself, Ahab.
Captain Ahab apparently doesn’t take defeat lying down, as he has spent his entire life focused on designing a submarine that could effectively track and kill Moby Dick. He essentially kidnaps Michelle (who is played by Xena‘s Renee O’Connor, by the way) with no real need for her, but it helps to move the plot along with her there. Moby Dick has been causing a bunch of trouble all over the Pacific Ocean lately, and the Pequod has been tracking him every step of the way. In fact, the US Government thinks that the Pequod is responsible for all of the mysterious attacks on various ships, and they are holding Ahab responsible. Not one to be shaken by authority or safety, Captain Ahab presses on in his pursuit to kill the great white whale.
After several encounters where Moby Dick eats some kind of boat or plane, they finally trap him in a reef that surrounds a small island. Due to the shallowness of the water, the Pequod must remain outside the reef, while Ahab leads several small boats in to continue the chase. Mines are set at the entrance, and Ahab finally has the showdown of which he has been dreaming. Moby Dick makes easy work of the little boats (obviously), and the survivors are forced to try their attack from land. That proves just as fatal, however, because Moby Dick can apparently jump and slide on land easily (and hilariously). Ahab finally goes in for his famous line, screws it up, shoots Moby Dick in the eye (which doesn’t really seem to faze the monster), and then gets killed. The Pequod launches torpedoes at the island, but Moby Dick jumps over them (and the mines) and lands on the Pequod, killing everyone. The torpedoes hit the island, and kill everyone who is there. Everyone dies. The end.
The scale to which Moby Dick is portrayed is unbelievable. He literally grabs helicopters out of the sky. Also, every time this massive beast shoots up through the surface of the water, not one wave is made. Its incredible. Aside from those issues, Moby Dick is the best part of this movie. I just waited for him to tear s**t up. Captain Ahab is weak and unimpressive (thank you Barry Bostwick), and at one point they just stopped giving him a CGI peg-leg. He was just walking around on two legs like people! The biggest insult, however, was that the line “from hell’s heart I stab at thee” was nowhere to be found, and Captain Ahab goes out like a pathetic psycho (as opposed to the manly, unhinged badass that he should be). Abandon all hope, ye who witness this.
Special thanks to Cory for telling me about this one while browsing his Netflix. Keep up the good work, kid. Until next time, boys and girls, keep watching those bad movies, or from my napping chair’s heart I will stab at thee!