Moby Dick (2011 miniseries)

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Moby Dick
Ethan Hawke played the role of Starbuck in the 2011 adaptation of Moby Dick
Based onMoby-Dick
by Herman Melville
Screenplay byNigel Williams
Directed byMike Barker
StarringWilliam Hurt
Ethan Hawke
Charlie Cox
Eddie Marsan
Gillian Anderson
Billy Boyd
Donald Sutherland
Theme music composerRichard G. Mitchell
Country of originGermany
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes2
Producer(s)Rikolt von Gagern
CinematographyRichard Greatrex, B.S.C.
Editor(s)Dean Soltys
Running time191 minutes
91 minutes
Production company(s)Tele München Gruppe
with Gate Film
In association with RHI/ORF
BudgetUS$25 million
Original networkEncore
Original releaseUnited States:
August 1 (2011-08-01) –
August 2, 2011 (2011-08-02)

Moby Dick is a Canadian-German television miniseries based on Herman Melville's 1851 novel of the same name,[1] produced by Tele München Gruppe,[1][2] with Gate Film,[2] In association with RTH[3]/ORF. Starring William Hurt as Captain Ahab, it was directed by Mike Barker with a screenplay by Nigel Williams; the cast also includes Ethan Hawke as Starbuck, Charlie Cox as Ishmael, Eddie Marsan as Stubb, Gillian Anderson as Ahab's wife, Elizabeth[3] and Donald Sutherland as Father Mapple.


The plot adaptation to this version of Moby Dick is fairly faithful to the novel as written by Herman Melville; the length of this particular adaptation, the longest as of 2019, was approximately 100 minutes longer than the previous miniseries of Moby Dick done 1998 titled Moby Dick (1998 miniseries) including details of plot not dealt with in the shorter miniseries from 1998.


Film property in Hamburg


A "reimagined" version of Melville's book,[4] Moby Dick was shot primarily in Lunenburg and Shelburne, Nova Scotia respectively as well as Malta during late 2009.[4][5] Costing US$25 million, it is Tele München's most expensive production to date;[5] this adaptation gives Ahab a wife named Elizabeth, although Melville's story lacks female characters.[4] In 1998, producer Robert Salmi Sr. worked on a similar miniseries for the USA Network, starring Patrick Stewart.[6][7]


Moby Dick aired on the U.S. pay-television network Encore on August 1 and 2, 2011. It is the first program to air under the Encore Originals brand,[3] as well as the network's first miniseries.[8] Prior to this airing, it was broadcast in Australia and some other countries.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

The miniseries received fairly positive reviews, with an average score of 68/100 assigned by Metacritic.[10] Linda Stasi of the New York Post gave the miniseries three stars out of four;[11] Nancy DeWolf Smith of The Wall Street Journal also gave it a positive review, but warned that "Purists [of the novel] may go wild" over changes from the original story.[12] Likewise, Hank Stuever of The Washington Post called it "a lavish, exciting, well-acted and admirably thorough movie adaptation";[13] the New York Daily News' David Hinckley awarded it three stars out of five, remarking: "The action will hold your attention, though [the miniseries] is really more a drama of character and flaws and faith. At times, in fact, it lapses into melodrama."[8] Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times wrote that while "[it] is not entirely silly or even half bad", "it’s an ambitious, beautifully made adventure tale that seeks to be respectful of the book while still making the characters and story accessible to modern viewers." She called the creation of scenes involving Captain Ahab's wife the "most startling" change to Melville's story, noting that the wife was "only fleetingly mentioned" in the original book. Stanley further commented on a few modernized lines in the script, and added, "Some shortcuts and substitutions are useful. Too often, however, the improvisations fall back on clichés that don’t visually distill Melville’s words as much as they forcibly remind viewers of other books and movies."[4]

Home media[edit]

The miniseries was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in October 2011.[14][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Program information for Moby Dick". Starz Entertainment. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Staff (July 13, 2011). "Encore Dives Into Original Programming With Miniseries 'Moby Dick' And 'The Take'". Deadline Hollywood. PMC. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Kenneally, Tim (July 13, 2011). "Encore Goes Original With 'Moby Dick' Adaptation, Jerry Lewis Doc". The Wrap. Reuters. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d Stanley, Stanley (July 31, 2011). "Ahab Has a Wife and a Heart. Oh, and a Whale". The New York Times. p. C1. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Fischer, Russ (September 28, 2009). "Donald Sutherland and Gillian Anderson Join William Hurt for TV Moby Dick". /Film. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  6. ^ Lloyd, Robert (August 1, 2011). "Television review: 'Moby Dick' / William Hurt stars as Captain Ahab in the new version on Encore, but Herman Melville seems to be missing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  7. ^ Russo, Tom (March 13, 1998). "Captain My Captain: Patrick Stewart takes the helm of a new ship in 'Moby Dick'". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner (422). Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Hinckley, David (August 1, 2011). "'Moby Dick' review: Ethan Hawke, William Hurt and Gillian Anderson tackle Encore's obsessive series". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  9. ^ Pennington, Gail (July 30, 2011). "Encore sneaks 'Moby Dick' onto schedule". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Tube Talk. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  10. ^ "Reviews for Moby Dick (2011)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  11. ^ Stasi, Linda (July 30, 2011). "Whale war: Hurt, Hawke lead assault on [Moby] Dick". New York Post. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  12. ^ Smith, Nancy DeWolf (July 29, 2011). "Adventures on the Seas of Life". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  13. ^ Stuever, Hank (July 31, 2011). "Encore's lavish new 'Moby Dick': There whale be blood". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  14. ^ "Moby Dick (DVD)". October 4, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  15. ^ "Moby Dick (Blu-ray)". October 4, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2011.

External links[edit]