Hollywood loves shorthand. It makes movie pitches ever so much more digestible for the besuited blokes who hold the purse strings. No matter how complex the story, they want to be able to describe it as “Something in/on/at a something.” Now the latest installment in Hollywood Synopsis Theater: an upcoming science fiction thriller that is described as “Moby-Dick in space.”
I’m sure many savvy genre fans out there will join me in asking, “Didn’t they already make that and call it Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan?” Dubbed Mobius, the project is set in deep space and follows “a captain consumed by revenge takes his crew on a death mission fueled by his own ego and will to control an enigmatic alien.” We’re presuming the alien is named Mobius (we’re clever like that).
The Hollywood Reporter says that the project is being written by Lynne Ramsay and Rory Kinnear, who collaborated on last year’s bad-seed thriller We Need to Talk About Kevin.
It will be interesting to see exactly how they adjust the Moby-Dick concept — an obsessed captain chasing a person/entity/alien at all costs, even if that means the death of his whole crew — to the specifics of the science fiction setting. Will the parallels to Melville’s book be more direct than they were in Khan, with the captain actually tracking some sort of enormous critter that lives in outer space? Or could Mobius just be another humanoid? If the latter, I imagine they’ll have to work even harder to avoid comparisons to Wrath of Khan. And when you’re playing in the same sandbox as one of the best science fiction films ever made, you’d better do something to make yourself stand out.