Posted by : Stephanie | December 14, 2015
Mother nature can be a beast when you’re a-whaling, nineteenth century style. All that stormy salt water and close quarters and months a’sea… but fear not. The hero of In the Heart of the Sea, Chris Hemsworth, still manages to look sexy as hell. The End. Oh you wanted to know more about the movie?
Well that’s gonna be tough because when I wasn’t gazing longingly at the hottest Australian Nantucket whale hunter east of Cape Cod, I was kinda sorta smooching the guy next to me. His fine kisses drew me under waves of a different kind. Lucky for you, dear readers, I read the book first!
In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, is one of the greatest books ever. Please everyone get it for each other for presents immediately. It made the rounds among our group of friends and everyone adored it: Men, women, bankers, artists, Chicagoans and Portugueezers! Oh what an unforgettable tale of high seas adventure. And it’s all true!
Then along comes Ron Howard. He reads the same book we did, jam-packed with all the same human drama that enthralled us. And what does he do? He surgically removes the most dramatic human moments, and I mean the moments that our group STILL talks about, and replaces them with some CGI whale nonsense. A Frankensteining of a story gone horribly awry. WTF, Red?
I am frankly shocked and dismayed by his filmmaking choices. The most gut-wrenching, horrifying experiences that the wildly unlucky crew of the capsized Essex faced, well they must be lying at the bottom of the cutting room floor, unfathomably at fathoms deep. Ron, baby, the book was FULL of drama. All you had to do was just make a film exactly like the book.
I was in the Galapagos Islands when I read this book. And let me tell you, a’sea in the Pacific is exactly where you DON’T want to read this book! I was so scared for the integrity of my ship. We survived! But yeah I was bopping around the islands enjoying those famous gorgeous tortoises reading about how the whalers needed to stock up after rounding the cape and would head straight to where I was and grab a few dear tortoises for the voyage! Cuz they’re good eating and last a long time, just wandering around the ship like a meat fridge. Oh poor babies!
(Tortoise sidebar: Though he’s since sadly passed, adorable Lonesome George was the last of his kind of tortoise. And he was over 100 years old. And the scientists were desperate for him to breed. They brought in all these lady tortoises to no avail, they showed him porn, and they even brought in a sort of lady scientist fluffer to, er, stimulate the fella. Alas, no success. Until scientists just found a way to revive George’s bloodline omg read this here!)
I’ll tell you what the book did not need: A CGI maniacal whale popping up all over the place. You fully Sharknado-ed this epic tale of American adventure, Ron Howard, a true story so vivid and profound that it inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick! The only thing I could think of is that Ron Howard was trying to weave a part of Moby Dick itself into his movie, so that it’s part historic sea adventure, part Hemsworth-as-Ahab. Even so, if that was his interesting take, it’s not seamless stitching and does quite an injustice to both great books.
But again, Chris Hemsworth looks gorgeous throughout 80% of the movie. My advice to you: Go grab the book and enjoy every fascinating word. What did the faithful wives of the Nantucket whalers do while their husbands were at sea for years, hunting ever farther afield as they decimated nearby whale populations? The book’s fine author treats us to historical records of sex toy stories! Like I said, this is a thoroughly researched book. I feel like there’s a dirty limerick in there somewhere about how there once was a wife from Nantucket…
Tags: Ahab, Chris Hemsworth, Essex, Galapagos, Gregory Peck, Herman Melville, In the Heart of the Sea, Lonesome George, Moby Dick, Nantucket, Nathaniel Philbrick, Ron Howard, s5, tortoise, whaleship Essex, whaling