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.
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
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
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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