HTF REVIEW: "Moby Dick The True Story" (Discovery Channel) (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Aug 2, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    [​IMG]

    Moby Dick: The True Story




    Studio: Artisan
    Year: 2002
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: 52 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: Full Frame



    One Whale. One Ship.
    One of the things I am going to start doing over
    the next few weeks is to start reviewing Special
    Interest product from the likes of National
    Geographic, Nova and The Discovery Channel. Hopefully
    through these reviews I can help expand the knowledge
    of members of this forum in addition to my own.
    The first special interest DVD I chose to watch
    was Moby Dick The True Story, an original
    documentary from the folks at the Discovery Channel.
    I am sure everyone is aware of Moby Dick the
    timeless Herman Nelville novel about a man's
    remarkable encounter with the forces of nature at
    sea. This documentary not only explores the actual
    events that inspired the novel, but actually goes
    a step further in explaining what happened to the
    surviving crew members of the Essex ship months after
    they encountered the giant whale.
    One of the principal factors that enabled this
    entire story to be told was the discovery of a
    notebook written by the Essex's cabin boy, Thomas
    Nickerson. This notebook was recently found in
    an attic -- long forgotten -- and its words tell
    an epic story of survival.
    [​IMG]
    Using leading-edge CGI and actor re-enactments,
    the entire story of the Essex is retold starting
    in August of 1819 when the Essex left the port of
    Nantucket with a crew of American hunters setting
    out to find whales. Whales became a prime target
    for their clear lubrication oil that was used for
    the new machinery that was now becoming part of
    America's industrial age.
    [​IMG]
    With whale population disappearing in the Atlantic
    waters, the Essex set sail for the Pacific. Little
    did the crew know that something else was also
    heading for that area -- a huge 80-ton sperm whale.
    [​IMG]
    What happens next has become part of history and
    novel. The 8-ton whale attacks the 300 ton ship.
    The whale is almost as long as the Essex itself,
    just short of the size of a tennis court. When
    the ship capsizes, the crew abandons into three
    lifeboats.
    This is where Melville's famous novel ends, but
    where the documentary continues....
    [​IMG]
    Trapped in their pummeled boats for 90 storm-tossed
    days, the dwindling crew is stranded at sea, a
    thousand miles from shore in all directions. They
    initially land on an island, but quickly use up
    that island's resources of food and water. While
    a few stay on the island, others set back to the
    sea in hopes of being found by a ship.
    A leading survival psychologist tells the story
    of how the crew survived, some resorting to
    cannibalism -- some going completely mad.
    How is the transfer?
    [​IMG]
    These special interest DVDs are hard to rate
    on visual and audio quality since they are meant
    to be a learning tool rather than a theater going
    experience.
    I was actually pleased that the Dolby Digital mix
    pleasantly added to the viewing experience, putting
    the film's musical score in the rear channels as
    well as the adding many effect sounds.
    Final Thoughts
    I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It's
    re-enactments made you feel like you were watching
    a movie. I was just riveted to watch the gruesome
    tests of human spirit that the crew was subjected to.
    Over the next few weeks you are going to be
    seeing more reviews of Special Interest DVDs.
    I have made a decision to start reviewing this
    kind of product because simply, this becomes
    a learning experience. I think any DVD collection
    falls short without something educational to watch.
    Anyone that has any interest in learning about
    Moby Dick, owes it to themselves to either rent
    or buy Moby Dick The True Story, a first-rate
    production that immerses you into the strory with
    its re-enactments rather than making you feel like
    you are actually learning something.
    Release Date: NOW
     
  2. Marc Carra

    Marc Carra Supporting Actor

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    So how was the transfer, visually?


    Marc.
     
  3. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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  4. Chris M

    Chris M Second Unit

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    It looks to be letterboxed is it 16:9 enhanced, or is it letterboxed in some places and full screen in others?

    Chris.
     
  5. Adam Tyner

    Adam Tyner Screenwriter

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    The way Ron worded it is confusing, but I think he means that the disc is letterboxed to 1.78:1 and not 16x9-enhanced. That's what the screenshots seem to indicate, anyway.
     
  6. Chris M

    Chris M Second Unit

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    From the looks of it I agree with you Adam.

    Chris.
     
  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Here's the situation...

    The box says 16x9 widescreen

    It shows up as full frame on my television.

    At first I thought perhaps the setting on
    my television were off. They were not.

    I don't know what the verdict is, as to why
    the indicates box widescreen, but yet I have
    a full-frame picture.

    I left the information as is till I got the
    opiniuon from someone else who owns this.

    The transfer looks fine, visually. Again,
    ythis was not a major factor here. If it looked
    bad I would have indicated so.
     
  8. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Folks,

    I have been offline for the past few days
    due to a storm that came through here.

    I just wanted to update this review. Although
    the box states that this presentation is 16x9,
    the transfer is actually full-frame.

    I wanted to double check on another piece of
    equipment before I updated this thread. I have
    indicated the changes in my review.

    Thank You.
     
  9. Greg Krewet

    Greg Krewet Stunt Coordinator

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    Another excellent review. Hopefully your upcoming
    special interests reviews will include Ken Burns The Civil War, Ken Burns Statue of Liberty and the PBS production
    of Grant. Again, thanks for branching out into this too
    little explored area of Documentaries and special interest.
    Best
    Greg
     
  10. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    I saw this documentary on UK BBC tv not too long ago and really enjoyed this. I had no idea this would be released on dvd. Thanks for the review Ron
     
  11. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Ron, thanks for the heads-up on this. I wasn't aware that they'd made a documentary on the Essex story. While I've read a book on the subject, I'll be sure to check out the disc as well.
     

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