Captain Jack/C+,C
Lance/1998/96/FS 1.33

     Setting sail with curmudgeonly Captain Jack on a Quixote adventure has lots of possibilities. Based on a true adventures of  local Yorkshire character Captain Jack Lanniman, the film fails to put much humorous winds to the sails. Harking back to a familiar structure set for fans of the Ealing comedies of the fifties, Captain Jack doesn't quite find the right rhythms or madness of those lean and zany comic tarts. 

Hoskins plays Jack with lovable grubbiness.  ©Lance

     Whitby is the Yorkshire fishing hamlet where Captain Jack, owner of a ramshackle local boat takes tourists out around the port and regales them with stories of Whitby's arguably most famous sailor, 17th century whaler Captain Scorseby.  Contrary to Jack's gospel, most residents consider legendary explorer Captain Cook to be the first seaman of Whitby. When inspiration takes hold of Captain Jack, he decides to make a voyage to an Artic island in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Scorseby's most famous voyage. 
    Captain Jack runs into problems with the local harbor authorities breaking his shoes, but Jack is determined to set sail and takes on the most unlikely crew imaginable. The motley misfits can't possibly make the 1300 hundred mile voyage. There's some mild fun in character interaction, but the seagoing is all wet, and doses of sentiment are waterlogged to be sure. The sweet nature of the film is its strongest asset.
    Bob Hoskins is benignly ingratiating in the role of Captain Jack. Hoskins tries to turn up the charm, but the thin plot and limited character definition. Gemma Jones has some nice moments as Jack's lady love and Sadie Frost takes innocence to the extremes as Tessa. 
     The transfer from open matte source material doesn't feel pinched or cropped. The picture is consistently unremarkable with variable sharpness ranging from good to slightly soft. Color intensity is an off and on affair. There some delicious reds and some too pale blues. Shadow detail is all right, but night sequence punch is not maximized. Dialogue on the Dolby Digital 2 channel mono soundtrack is sometimes difficult to understand and takes getting used to. The score is well balanced. 




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