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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Moby Dick'
(Ethan Hawke, Donald Sutherland, William Hurt, Gillian Anderson, Eddie Marsan, et al / DVD / NR / (2010) 2011 / Vivendi Entertainment)

Overview: Ishmael sees his dream of a whaling voyage come true when he joins the crew of the Pequod, a sailing vessel leaving port in Nantucket. Unbeknownst to Ishmael and the mates, the Pequod's monomaniacal Captain Ahab is taking them all on a mad and personal mission to slay the great whale Moby Dick, an obsession that will open their eyes to the wonder and spectacle of man, of beast, and the inescapable nature of both.

DVD Verdict: The cast of 'Moby Dick' is impressive. Hurt does a terrific job with Ahab. Some of his insanity is filtered out in this version as are some of his speeches, but Hurt makes the most of what he's given. Ethan Hawke is somewhat less successful. As the voice of reason, he lacks a bit of power and fire.

Cox is effective, but seems out of place and far too modern. Gillian Anderson is nice in a brief stint as Ahab's wife. Strangest casting--Donald Sutherland in a blink and you miss it role. Many of the smaller supporting roles are handled ably, but there are far too many people to single out.

The screenplay of this 2011 version takes some fairly large liberties with the plot, and certainly the tone, but still manages to keep the general feeling intact. As a result, this is a solidly constructed work that succeeds for the most part. It may not satisfy the purists, but for those without preconceived notions - this is an entertaining and well made adventure.

In conclusion, I liked this a lot more than I expected. All the open sea action looks great on the BD, widescreen transfer. And the great white whale is a frightening and sympathetic monster that looks just fine in its digital iteration. [RS] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.