I watched the Ron Howard film the other day. I would rate it as an “OKAY” film. Nothing earth-shattering, and certainly not one of the best films I ever made.
It was disappointing on a couple levels. The CG, especially of the town of Nantucket, was weak. As soon as I saw the the town in the backdrop I thought, “That looks fake.” Computer graphics should look natural. They shouldn’t draw attention to themselves, and when a normal movie viewer can tell that something doesn’t look natural, well, someone didn’t do their job.
Besides that, it seemed shallow on a personal level. There wasn’t a character that I ended up rooting for. There lacked an emotional connection, which is strange for a Howard film. I’m wondering what a re-edit and re-write could have accomplished. Perhaps a look at the first mate’s wife and daughter while he was out at sea may have added to the longing and personal connection that was missing.
But it wasn’t a bad movie. It just wasn’t one that will live on in my memory for much more than a couple weeks.
But there was one scene that, as an indie author, really resonated. When Herman Melville is talking about his insecurities as a writer, it sounded very familiar and right. He looks at the old man he’s interviewing and says, “I’m not a great writer. I’m no (Nathaniel) Hawthorne.” How true did that sound? The person who went on to write the great American epic compared himself unfavorably to a “real” writer.
Well, that’s the life of any author. Doubt and despair about their own writing.
Good for you, Melville. It rang true. Good for you, screen writer. You got that right!