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    Re: Celestial Navigation in the Movies
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2019 Oct 4, 12:45 -0700

    Sailors find "All Is Lost" frustrating, exasperating, awful. They want to throw their popcorn at the screen. But that's mostly because sailors are geeks. :) Some reviewers who are not sailors consider it a great work of art. I can set aside the sailors' complaints (arrogant, low-competence amateurs with no excuse to be out there do, in fact, go to sea!). But speaking as a fan of film, I'm not impressed with this as art as much as some of the critics. They make a big point out of a "limited" script, but I don't buy it. He should be talking to himself. In fact, he should be ranting and raving and filling in his backstory. Who is this "man"? Also, I have had the distinct impression that the production ran out of money. Yes, it's reserved and subtle, but I just don't believe that all of that "subtlety" is intentional.

    The celestial navigation aspect is handled reasonably well. It's clear that someone had given him a sextant (yes, Davis plastic sextant) as a present. He had clearly opened the box before the emergency. He starts playing with it, reads a book from scratch, and we see him working with pencil and paper trying to get his position. But why? They have us believe that he is going to get into a shipping lane and perhaps there's some small sense in that. But as we have discussed many times in NavList conversations, there's really no need for celestial in a modern lifeboat scenario. Even if he lost his EPIRB or he was too touch to invest in one, his navigation doesn't have much value from the point of view of survival. As we have also discussed, at least it keeps him busy.

    Frank Reed

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