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The classic story of Moby Dick, by Herman Melville, has been filmed at least a dozen times over the years with variable results. My own favourite being the John Huston version from the 1950s with Gregory Peck cast as the crazed Captain Ahab, who survives an attack by the titular whale, but loses a leg in the process and then spends the rest of his life obsessed by his quest to find and kill the huge whale.
In this modern reworking of the classic tale Captain Ahab, played here by cult icon Barry Bostwick (of Rocky Horror fame), is a captain of a state-of-the-art nuclear submarine, which he diverts from its real purpose for his own quest to find the prehistoric whale that attacks a sub he was a radar officer on during the pre-credits sequence. It quickly becomes apparent to all his crew and a marine biologist, he kind of kidnaps, that he is prepared to sacrifice everything, including his life, the lives of his crew members, and even his ship, to find and destroy his nemesis, Moby Dick, and get payback for his metal leg.
Having seen a few Asylum films before (they churn out such delightful titles, e.g. Mega Piranha, Meteor Apocalypse, Snakes on a Train and AVH: Alien V Hunter), I have to admit I wasn’t expecting much from this underwater version of Moby Dick, but I was pleasantly surprised. The film has its flaws – the acting is very mixed, the dialogue often corny and the CGI special effects are not so special, but it held my attention and made me laugh out loud a few times so it can’t have been all bad.
I think its main problem was that the producer’s ambitions were obviously a lot greater than their budget, hence short cuts had to be made with regard to SFX and set design and, unfortunately, at times this is blatantly obvious. For example, when supposedly submerged underwater, many metres down, there is clearly natural light helping to light certain scenes on board the sub, which kind of takes away from some of the tense, claustrophobic moments the director was obviously trying for!
The ending is also a bit of a cop out too with our civilian hero, Dr. Michelle Herman (geddit?!), managing to survive a double nuclear torpedo strike when the submarine attacks the atoll the final battle is set around. Alas, as you’d probably already guessed, Captain Ahab isn’t so lucky and is bound for a watery grave – well, unless they do a sequel. Now there’s an idea!
Metrodome will release this film on DVD on 25 July 2011. Additional extras to be included on the disc are a brief ‘making of’ documentary, which includes various sound-bites from the director, producer and some of the actors, plus a blooper reel, which must be one of the most bizarre I’ve ever seen, with very random music thrown in and lots of shots of cast and crew doing jazz hands! The making of itself is quite humourous and includes members of the crew talking about the lead actor, Barry Bostwick, making his own prop – a massive harpoon gun (which looks like something out of a toy shop) – and Barry also compares his role in the film to doing Shakespeare, I kid you not!