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The lesser of two weevils
Master & Commander (DVD)
Member Name: melodysparksuk
Master & Commander (DVD)
Date: 06/10/10, updated on 08/10/10 (189 review reads)
Advantages: Swashbuckling historical nautical adventure with Russel Crowe
Disadvantages: Not for those who dont like history or nautical themes
This dramatical seafaring adventure adapted from the 10th Patrick O'Brian novel about British naval hero Capt. Jack Aubrey, is set in 1805 and the war between the British & French. Off the coast of Brazil, the HMS Surprise is patrolling the South Atlantic waters searching for the elusive superior French man-o-warship Acheron with the orders to sink or claim her as prize.
When Acheron materializes out of the fog like a phantom attacking the Surprise damaging her badly and injuring many of her crew, Aubrey is torn between a sense of duty to his injured crew and his duty to the Crown sets sail and engages in a battle of wits, seamanship and will against his unknown foe in a high stakes chase across the Atlantic in a mission that could turn the tide of the war. Blond haired Crowe portrays outstandingly Lucky Jack Aubrey as a witty, strong and charismatic Captain, a naval hero who once served as one of Nelson's junior officers with a reputation and well-earned respect from his men who will follow to the end of the earth and back again.
Paul Bettany his co-star from Beautiful Minds is his loyal friend and confidant and ships surgeon / naturalist, Dr. Stephen Maturin. He is highly respected by the crew, and trusted to a point where many will pretend imaginary ailments to seek him out, to teach them to read or just to talk. Bettany's portrayal of this caring and gentle individual is exquisite. Their unique bond takes them through arguments and battles of their own and at the end of each day in a simple diversion to their cruel world their joint love of music. Crowe and Bettany spent weeks learning to play the stringed instruments you see them using in the film to give the scenes a realism although the music heard on screen was played and recorded by a professional each had to be movement perfect to match each note played. Their close friendship is proven when Maturin is shot and Jack returns to the Galapagos Islands so his fevered and bleeding friend can recover and all under the pretense of a good place to relax, at the whalers watering station and perhaps capture the rare delicacy, turtle meat without admitting his fear for his friends life.
The officers and crew are eager for battle and an opportunity to distinguish themselves. However when battle comes, and once more the Surprise is out gunned and out witted by the French man-o-war the ships crew with their superstitions believe their luck is turning bad they are convinced they have a Jonah on board. One of the Officers, Hollom, the indecisive and timid Midshipman played by Lee Ingleby. Whispers spread around the ship as one unlucky event afte the other occurs. Soon paranoia sets in and Hollom finds himself an outcast from the rest of the crew with the exception of Maturin and young Blakeney played by Max Pirkis. Rounding the maelstrom of Cape Horn from east to west in a week long passage full of ice and snow and the continuous strong winds and current make it pure wretched gloom and finally sailing into the deep blue waters of the Pacific to archipelago of the Galapagos Islands.
Maturin, sees the islands as a rich font of scientific information and exacts a promise from Aubrey to be allowed to explore the bleak yet bountiful archipelago. His naturalist interest is enthusiastic where he desires nothing more than to seek out and understand the small flightless cormorant like birds, the unusual black beetles or the iguanas that can swim is a herald of the future of scientific exploration. Later in 1833, the H.M.S. Beagle would later bring Charles Darwin to the island, where he would diligently monitor and examine the varied species, and ultimately lead him to publish his theory of natural selection. With superb performances from the large ensemble cast of young British actors from stage and screen including James D'Arcy and young Max Pirkis and Billy Boyd (Pippin from Lord of The Rings) as Barrett Bonden the Coxswain in this richly detailed and exciting nautical adventure of everyday life onboard ship reveals the gruesome and hardships of sailors during Napoleonic warfare where discipline on the ship is tight but although seemingly harsh, where failing to salute an officer earned you a flogging and on the sea where even children as young as 10 could not escape injury, amputation or even death in apprenticeships to become officers. Life on a war ship was harsh by modern measures.
It's a story of friendship, camaraderie, trust and survival in a harsh environment where one minute a calm ocean can change into a maelstrom in a blink of the eye and only teamwork and trust in one's fellow shipmate will bring them out the other side. The Captain is irrevocably responsible for the well being of his ship and crew, during one scene Aubrey must choose between saving one man and saving his crew when a storm tears away part on a mast that could drag the ship to the bottom of the ocean.
A powerful film with real characterisations and unique realism that gives you the feeling you are standing right there alongside the captain as a member of his crew feeling the fear and anxiety and excitement of the chase across an ocean.
A commanding performance from Crowe with an excellent supporting cast in an admirable adaptation from Weir. Bravo for Peter Weir a well made and produced movie. The cinamatography is breathtaking the action scenes unbelievable and the effects out of this world.
Russell Crowe .... Capt. Jack Aubrey
Paul Bettany .... Dr. Stephen Maturin, Surgeon
James D'Arcy .... 1st Lt. Tom Pullings
Edward Woodall .... 2nd Lt. William Mowett
Chris Larkin .... Capt. Howard, Royal Marines
Max Pirkis .... Blakeney, Midshipman
Jack Randall .... Boyle, Midshipman
Max Benitz .... Calamy, Midshipman
Lee Ingleby .... Hollom, Midshipman
Richard Pates .... Williamson, Midshipman
Robert Pugh .... Mr. Allen, Master
Richard McCabe .... Mr. Higgins, Surgeon's Mate
Ian Mercer .... Mr. Hollar, Boatswain
Tony Dolan .... Mr. Lamb, Carpenter
David Threlfall .... Preserved Killick, Captain's Steward
Billy Boyd .... Barrett Bonden, Coxswain
Bryan Dick .... Joseph Nagle, Carpenter's Mate
Joseph Morgan .... William Warley, Cpt. of Mizzentop
George Innes .... Joe Plaice, Able Seaman
William Mannering .... Faster Doudle, Able Seaman
Patrick Gallagher .... Awkward Davies, Able Seaman
Alex Palmer .... Nehemiah Slade, Able Seaman
Mark Lewis Jones .... Mr. Hogg, Whaler
John DeSantis .... Padeen, Loblolly Boy
Ousmane Thiam .... Black Bill, Killick's Mate
Thierry Segall .... French Captain Cert: 12
Running Time Approx 132 Minutes
Language : English
Subtitles available for the hearing impaired
Directed by Peter Weir
Music composed by Iva Davies, Christopher Gordon and Richard Tognetti
Master and Commander is available in both single disc and Box set, Collector's Edition double disc format
Box set, Collector's Edition double disc format Disc 1
First look at I, Robot
Disc 2 Making of Featurette
Peter Weir on Directing "In the wake of O'Brian" Documentary
2 Special Effects Documentaries
6 Deleted scenes
Multi-angle Scene Studies
Thank you for reading
Christine Preedy (c) 2010
You can also find this review published in Ciao uk under my username of melodysparks
Summary: This dramatical seafaring adventure adapted from Patrick O'Brians novel about the British navy