Re reviewed Feb 5, 2022
I saw a heavily butchered version of the picture in Netflix which continues to disfigure glorious films like the Pride & Prejudice, The legend of the fall etc. I have originally seens these flicks in full length without edit. If Netflix is to continue with this horrible trend of editing/cutting reels off pictures, I am planning to unsubscribe from them. Watching these pictures in Star Movies or HBO with commercials but in full unedited version is still better. At least the time I can save time for reading apart from saving 500 bucks every month. I shall wait for these pictures to be shown in satellite channels.
Sperm whale and the Elephant both reign supreme in their respective territories. The former roams the oceans as the world’s largest mammalian predator and the counterpart rules the forested lands as the earth’s surprisingly herbivorous and gentlest giant. The duo though have a mind of their own. They neither forget nor forgive, almost blessed with a sixth sense and emotion akin to human beings. Most endangered species today, the two also continue to be hunted down ruthlessly to extinction. Quite like whale hunting, culling of tuskers also has been in practice for centuries. While the whales yielded the precious burning midnight oil (literally) to the then darker world devoid of electricity and gas, the elephant tusks became trophies and intricate and expensive jewelry, the most coveted treasure of the wealthiest of the world. It is now proven scientifically that both these mammals have an extraordinary perception far and above the human race: they can communicate in the meta physical in very low frequency across fathoms of the sea and miles of land. Which explains the white whale in the picture.
Whaling goes on in present times unabated as we see in Scandinavian seas/countries and also Japan/China.
The greed of the mankind is menacing but at the same time the adventurous spirit of the human race in reaching beyond, daring, challenging, going out the last mile driven by sheer instinct and guts breaking boundaries and shackles, is amazing. May be the future Homo Sapiens will evolve with mutations to breathe in carbon-di-oxide and breath out oxygen who knows !!!
The period flick is a whale hunting tale, not to be compared with the likes of the ‘Jaws’, ‘Anaconda’ or ‘Lake Placid.’ These are creatures of our imagination, brought to life in silver screen. Set in Nantucket in the early 19th century where whaling is roaring business, the film is about the whaling crew sailing far east aboard ‘Essex’ chasing schools of sperm whales in the Pacific.
The brave expedition gets published when a fortunate survivor Nickerson who happens to have joined the whaleship as a ‘green horn’ (novice), is approached by author/novelist Herman Melville. And thus is born America’s own epic saga the ‘Moby Dick.’
Period film dating back to 1820, the film opens with teen survivor Thomas Nickerson who lives onto ripe old age agrees reluctantly to narrate his story to Melville for a fee. The mysterious whale hunting voyage is unraveled of its hidden and buried secrets locked away forever in the memory of the deck hand Nickerson. Inspiration for Moby Dick is the hundred foot big white, the most ferocious of all to wander in the seven seas.
What follows is an unbelievable and daring account of harpooning of whales in the Atlantic and Pacific, many leagues far from the coasts of South America, as whale oil was largely in use as fat for lighting as well as in industrial works fetching gold in bullion markets, in a time before the discovery of the fossil fuel was made in the landfall (to drive the world ever since).
Whaler Chase who has earned the distinction of wearing his whale badges is easily the natural leader denied the command of Essex which is captained by pedigree and political appointee Pollard. Although the two strike an uneasy companionship, the harrowing months at the seas away from homes and hearths and the common hardships faced together foster an understanding relationship between them. What ensues is a touching tale of humanity in the midst of inhuman living conditions, the fighting spirit conquering lethargy and the will to survive. Friendship and team work and companionship cannot be any better.
The teenager Nickerson is live witness to the whaling expedition as the whalers hunt successfully for whale oil hooking and reeling in to death many a mammoth blue whale from the fathoms of the oceans in bold and nerve-wracking escapades after the captain makes an unwise decision about a squall that renders the whaleship weak and battered to face the perils of the sea in full force at the very start of the voyage. The initial grave slip does its damage as drama unfolds in the depths of the Pacific and beyond as the whalers go in search of schools of whales. In a bizarre turnout, the whaleship gets pursued and hunted down by the massive and legendary 100 foot white whale. Ship wrecked and oil lost, the crew is washed ashore to survive and refit in a tiny and deserted island, from whatever is left over to start their return voyage empty handed.
Absolutely stunning visuals of schools of whales deep in the Pacifics. Hopefully it is not photoshop. The whalehunting is excellent picturization. The walk Nickerson takes like kind of initiation in the entrails of the culled whale is astounding, flabbergasting! Can’t believe humanity lived and evolved through this stage of barbarity!
The narrator stops midway with serious misgivings over the abominations the men committed in order to survive when they run out of food and water as they make their return voyage, sun-baked and thirsty and famished. On prompt from his interviewer, he finally bares terrible secrets that had plagued his conscience for years that make for an incredulous real life story. Moby-Dick is born.
Liked this one better than the ‘Titanic.’ Or may be even ‘Avatar.’ Or the ‘Everest’ or ‘Below Eight’ yet another daredevil real life drama filmed entirely in the Antarctic. Many Himalayan stories nowadays that you actually get to think that Mount Everest is no big deal !!!
My two cents on the film being the best in the category; and more realistic may be because it is true story. The take away from the film is, ‘have the courage to go for what you will not want to go after.’