Heart of the Sea: 2

I’m not sure how long this blog is going to be here. I’ve having huge problems since I moved. Please check out my new blog www.captainjillsjourneys.com where you’ll see all of my stuff!

I took a little break and went to the movies yesterday. I’ve been wanting to see the movie “In the Heart of the Sea” since I first saw the commercials for it a couple of months ago.

I’d read the book (by Nathaniel Philbrick) a couple of years ago. I LOVED it. It’s a fantastic sea story (which I always love).The movie tells the story of the Nantucket whale ship “Essex”.

“In the Heart of the Sea” showcased adventure, suspense and even horror mixed in with the wonderful depictions of the sailing ship and life on the sea 100 years ago. Then there was the whole Moby Dick thing. The whaling and the incredible idea that there might be a whale out for vengeance!

I admit, I don’t remember much about the book ‘Moby Dick‘. Yeah, we all read it in high school. I had no idea it was based on a true story. I don’t remember being all that impressed with the book. I’m pretty sure the ending was not the same as in this movie, (if it had been I’m sure I would have remembered it better)! Like a lot of those ‘classics’ we had to read in high school, I remember thinking “what the hell’s so great about this book?”.

They did a good job with the film. It wasn’t as good as Philbricks’ book (movies almost never are). Still, it was good.

It started right off by following the Chief Mate, Owen Chase (played by Chris Hemsworth), leaving his pregnant wife behind and heading into town for his next assignment. He’d been promised a captains position on his next voyage and was pretty ticked off when he found out he got screwed out of it in a case of ‘office politics’. I hadn’t realized they were even doing that way back then. 😉

Captain Pollard (Benjamin Walker) gets the job instead, simply because he comes from an old time, respectable family.

This creates a situation on board between the Master and Mate where they are constantly butting heads and is NOT good for the ship (it never is)! The tension between the 2 characters is evident throughout the entire movie. They could have done more to show the interaction with the rest of the crew, but the focus was on these 2 men (and the whale).

The movie, directed by Ron Howard, uses the story device in which Herman Melville (working on his book Moby Dick) is interviewing Thomas Nickerson, who went to sea as a young boy on that disastrous voyage. Nickerson is ashamed by what he did to survive and has never spoken to anyone about it. It’s been eating him up inside. His wife finally convinces him to speak to Melville in exchange for much needed funds.

It works as a way to tell the story. You can still see the effects the incident had on Nickerson, even all these years later. It was well done, not disturbing the story too much with the returns to the scenes of the late night story telling over drinks.

I really enjoyed the movie. I loved all the scenes of the everyday work aboard the ship. I felt for the sea sick cabin boy. I yelled at the captain that he was an idiot to sail into the storm like he did. I was thrilled to see the whales and caught up in the chase when the boats were launched. I cried when the ship was lost. (I’m glad it was dark in the theater). 😉

I suppose todays environmentalists would be cheering for the whale the whole time, but I found myself wavering. Sometimes I felt like I imagined the whale felt. Angry at men for destroying so much innocent beauty. Coming to murder my family for money! Sometimes I felt like the men. Just out to make a living, to survive however they could. This was a survival story in the end. On both sides.

I’m glad we discovered petroleum oil, or we WOULD have wiped out all of the whales. OK, I have been working in the offshore oilfields the last few years (so maybe I’m prejudiced), but I wonder what would have happened if we had NOT found an alternative to whale oil. Would we still have been able to progress? Or would we have gone back to the ‘dark ages’ when everything stopped when the sun went down? Yeah, even tho we have a few oil spills, I’m still glad we have petroleum.  The whales are recovering now.

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