Just watched the 1998 TV version, with the delightful Patrick Stewart as Ahab (and a little cameo from Gregory Peck, Ahab of the 1950s). I thought I recognised Ishmael, but it wasn’t until nearly the end when there was a shot of him looking particularly astonished, that I realised who he was. Henry Thomas: better known to those of my generation as Elliot, little boy who finds ETs and helps them go home.
It’s a good movie – heck of a lot more interesting than the book, which manages to have a whole chapter on why a whale is actually a fish. The CGI was a bit average though; either it’s improved a lot in a decade, or Hallmark and Channel 9 couldn’t schill out for the good stuff. Stewart was great; Ted Levine as Starbuck was magic, and Mr Stubbs – whom I recognised from FarScape – was also excellent. It was a bit weird to have a Maori as Queeqeg, though, I thought: surely he’s meant to be Native American? Or is it unclear what sort of ‘savage’ he is, in the book? It’s been a looong time since I read it.
I don’t think I’m mad enough to have a white whale. I’m not quite obsessive enough.