SiStan ChapLee

Monday, January 6, 2014

Off Topic: Mobile Deck

The 2011 movie Age of the Dragons, directed by Ryan Little, reworks Moby Dick by shifting the story to a fantasy setting, the Whale being changed into a huge White Dragon chased among snowy mountains on board of a sort of Medieval tank. Good special effects, but the greatest intellectual pleasure consists in seeing how the original Melvillean roles and events are remixed. A flick that would probably deserve more interest.

Alessandro Sanna's Moby Dick [Verona, IT: ABE - Alessandro Berardinelli Editore, 2012, euros 39] lies halfway between an illustrated book and a comic book, with big, unnumbered pages full of wonderful pictures, but no balloons. Here the process of reinterpretation goes much deeper than in Age of the Dragons. The story can be read in two directions, starting from the beginning or from the end, with 26 and 26 plates and a double splash page at the meeting point. The - conventionally - first story is drawn the Western way, left to right, and it even involves ( . . .  inwolves . . . ) lycanthropy from a surprising and surprisingly fitting viewpoint. The second story is drawn like Japanese comics, right to left, and tells the birth, life, and adventures of Moby Dick before his uncertain face-off against the Pequod. Sanna's style masters the very difficult technique of watercolors creating evocative, dynamic scenes with quick, essential strokes. A successful meeting of Western and Eastern art, far from the boring electronic perfectionism now prevailing.

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