“ Genre: War & Western - War / Suitable for 12 years and over / Director: Peter Weir / Actors: Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd, James D'Arcy, Edward Woodall ... / DVD released 2004-04-05 at Twentieth Century Fox / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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Master and Commander, the far side of the World. I approached watching this film with great trepidation as for many years I have been an ardent fan of the series of books written by Patrick O'Brian
His main characters are Jack Aubrey , whose Naval career we follow , and his friend and Naval Surgeon, Stephen Maturin. I was thankfully not dissappointed as the film, directed by Peter Weir, is faithful to the spirit of the books as it would be almost impossible to reproduce in detail Naval warfare of the war of 1812.
The film hinges on the long and ardous chase of the French ship"Acheron" across the South Atlantic and "Lucky" Jack Aubrey must use all his considerable skill and leadership in it's pursuit to outwit his worthy adversary and inspire his crew who undergo storm and hardship under his command. An added plus is the dynamic of the relationship between the cranky Irish Maturin and his strongly held democratic views and the traditional Aubrey who must enforce his will on his floating command to capture and destoy an enemy who has become almost an obsession.
The film captured me from the first moment, it's portrayal of life on board is superb and atmospheric bringing you in to the closed world of a ship at sea in treacherous conditions in a time where GPS did not exist and you cant phone the coastguard! Russel Crowe , (although he should be a lot taller) portrays Jack wonderfully bringing many dimensions to his character. Paul Bettany as Maturin, is I feel a little weaker but the diverse characters of the two main characters add greatly to the whole of this action packed film. The sound track is a joy consisting of music that Jack and Stephen actually play together in the great cabin of HMS Suprise as she pursues the Acheron around The Cape and onward. Having lived and worked at sea for many years myself I was totally impressed by the whole seagoing atmosphere whic was not spoilt by, for example, seeing an exhaust or an engine outflow rom a ship built in the 18th century. I was also reninded of how hard a life it was and how very young the majority of the crew, press-ganged or otherwise who made up the majority of the crew of The Surprise. I am glad it stayed faithful to the spirit of the books and would thoroughly recommend it.
5 stars from me , I love it!
My version is 132 minutes long and is not recomended for children under 7 years old. Prices vary but I think mine cost about 8pounds about six years ago.