Patrick Stewart makes his entrance late into this telefilm, stringy hair hanging from under his three-cornered hat, his peg leg tapping out his arrival on deck. This Captain Ahab is a hard, driven man--you can see it in hi... more »s burning eyes--and there's no question he has the resolve and the mad devotion to complete his quest at all costs: kill the white whale that took his leg. Franc Roddam's mini-series adaptation of Herman Melville's classic novel (filmed previously by John Huston in 1956) manages its budget wisely: a judicious use of digital effects creates a terrifying vision of the great white whale, and Roddam's eye captures a near-epic quality. Henry Thomas's earnest performance as the young seaman Ishmael can't compete with Stewart's intensity, and Gregory Peck's cameo as Father Mapple is a hollow echo of his passionate Ahab from Huston's masterpiece. But the rest of the cast excels, and Roddam's haunting imagery and horrific climax make this a compelling dramatic adventure. --Sean Axmaker« less
Good version of this story, although it might be a bit graphic for kids.
Patrick Stewart makes a great Captain Ahab.
Eric Pregosin | New Carrollton, Maryland United States | 01/08/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Once again Patrick Stewart shows us there is more to him than Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation. An excellent performance equal in caliber to the 1956 movie with Greg Peck (which is also on DVD now as I write this). By the way important note to Amazon staff and all other previous reviewers and anyone looking to buy this disc. When this disc originally got released soon after the telecast in 1998 on USA Network, it was packaged and labed at 145 minutes (that's 2 hours and 25 minutes) which gave the hint that the disc was edited. I just played mine in my player last night. When I hit the display button on my remote, I get a screen which counts the time on the disc up from 0 and next to it counts it down from the total time. The combined time of these countdowns is 3 HOURS. Which is what should be since it ran 4 hours on USA Network. That means the manufacturer made a mistake in announcing it at 145 minutes, so for those who are concerned that it was cut, relax it hasn't been."
Great for High School English Students
Jefferson T. Packer | Taos, NM | 11/28/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Note: This review is by a high school English Teacher.
When the time came for my students to see a film version of "Moby Dick," I bought both the 1950's film and this one on DVD. After watching both of them carefully, I decided that this newer offering would have much more appeal to my students than the older film.
I seem to have been right, and I think it is safe to say that the 1950's film can now be retired, except for film buffs and the curious.
I especially liked the fact that the American Indian and South Sea Island characters in this film were actually played by people who appear to be part of those societies. In the 1950's film, they are played by what looks to be white factory workers from upstate New York wearing lots of makeup. This would have been very annoying and distracting to my diverse group of students.
As for other reviewers' comments about Patrick Stewart's performance, my feeling is that he nailed it. As Starbuck says, "to seek revenge against a dumb brute that only bit thee out of blindest instinct is blasphemy..." Ahab is someone who sees the idea of resigning oneself to a negative twist of fate as repellant. He is someone who would rather burn to a crisp than ask a higher power for rain. The thing that drives him isn't just obsession; it is rebellion against the infinite.
In psychological terms, Ahab gave all of his power to the whale, and enslaved his life and destiny to it when it was not rationally necessary for him to do so. He is like a small child who has had his lollipop taken away, and who has thrown himself on the floor, absolutely determined to be inconsolable by anything or anyone. Stewart captures that aspect of Ahab perfectly, and it led to some very constructive paper writing and classroom discussion.
I only withhold the fifth star because I wish this film was a longer "Director's Cut" version, covering more of the book than it currently does."
Wonderful, adventure on the high seas
Danielle Muller | Sailing, sailing o'er the deep blue sea :) | 03/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Eversince my dad bought this movie four years ago, I have been hooked. Hookline and sinker. It is a wonderful, emotional movie that leaves you dreading the moment that it will come to an end.
Captain Ahab(Patrick Stewart)is a man that is waging a constant war with his inner demons eversince the day that his leg was bit off by his arch Nemesis Moby Dick. Believing Moby Dick to be satan in disguise, and he, Ahab, Gods own avenger against such a creature. Ahab charters a ship, whose crew must unknowinly follow Ahab on his journey through the hellish darkness of his madness.
There is one man who dares to defy the utter madness of Ahab, and that is Starbuck(Ted Levine) who pleads with Ahab to forgo his passion for revenge. The Quaker in him being struck senseless by such a blasphemous outrage against God and nature. It is a mariners tale of men against nature, and forces that he cannot, and should not try and control. It is a story of how deep one man's madness can influence others. It is a tale of one's man desire to become a god, to hold the life and death of a scant few people in the palm of his hand.
But his madness does not lead him to glory, or even the menial triumph of his victory. Instead, it leads him and his crew to a watery grave, Ahabs lust for revenge nothing more than a death sentance for those that needed not die. A wonderful, but sad movie nevertheless. The music also gives it depths that could probally be not achieved otherwise. Definitaly a must see."
E.Q. Brueton | Britain | 09/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The obsessed Captain Ahab travels the sea in relentless search of Moby Dick, the white whale that took his leg. Through the duration of his personal hunt, Ahab acknowledges nary a thought of responsibility or regard to his ship and crew. Directed by Franc Roddam (who also adapted the script from Melville's novel), this newest screen treatment of Moby Dick rearranges many of the sequences of events from the book, and even mixes up the dialougue between characters in some spots. Nevertheless, despite these odd changes, Roddam's effort is an entertaining piece of work. Patrick Stewart is simply remarkable in his portrayal of Ahab. Ted Levine, Henry Thomas, and Hugh Keays-Byrne also turn in fine performances. Originally aired on USA Network as a three-hour miniseries. The DVD version of this movie comes in at 145 minutes. The first VHS edition had a running length of 120 minutes and was later re-released at 145 minutes. Gregory Peck, who played Captain Ahab in John Huston's 1956 film version of the novel, won a Golden Globe Award here for his cameo role as Father Mapple"
C. Gunter | Zachary, La | 07/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just like any movie produced from a book, if you compare it to the book, it will most certainly fall short. If you take the movie in the context that its a dramatic movie made to enthrall you for a couple of hours, than you'll find this movie exceptional. I watch it about twice a year and find it one of the better movies in my personal collection."