I love classic literature. There was even a period of my life in which I mostly read and collect classic literature. But there is one of these novels that I admit I can’t seem to like at all: Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville. It’s an iconic story and is considered a Great American Novel, but I really find the book itself to be boring. I didn’t even finish it. Either I’m not sophisticated enough to enjoy it, or it’s really a pretentious novel, as I believe it is. I’d rather struggle through Shakespeare than read Moby-Dick (at least, with Shakespearean literature, it’s pretty rewarding once you finally grasp it).
In the Heart of the Sea is an adaptation of the non-fiction book of the same name by Nathaniel Philbrick, which is about the real-life incident that inspired Melville to write Moby-Dick. The movie tells the story of the crew of the whaling ship Essex as they undergo a horrific voyage for survival after their ship is sunk by a colossal, vengeful white sperm whale and are left adrift in the ocean.
I personally find In the Heart of the Sea as pretentious as Moby-Dick. It aspires to be profound and epic, and it does have the potential to be so, but the execution felt really messy. The characters are so dull and infuriating that I wished the whale killed them all. And though there were moments and aspects that I liked – especially when the whales are around – these were quite few and weren’t stressed enough. I was yawning all throughout this movie.
In the Heart of the Sea is a forgettable, insipid movie that fails in achieving the heights it was obviously aiming for.