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Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

2003 motion picture starring Russell Crowe

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Multi-Dimensional Entertainment

  • Mar 1, 2004
  • by
Those who enjoyed the various Horatio Hornblower films (one of which stars Gregory Peck) will especially appreciate this adaptation of material from a series of novels written by Patrick O'Brian. Directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe as Captain "Lucky" Jack Aubrey, Master and Commander examines life aboard a British warship during the Napoleonic Wars as it encounters and is battered by a French privateer, the Acheron, and then pursues its enemy from the coast of Brazil southward around Cape Horn to The Galapagos Island until the final, inevitable and decisive encounter. The acting is first-rate, beginning with Crowe but including Paul Bettany (who previously appeared with Crowe in A Perfect Mind) as ship's surgeon, Dr. Stephen Maturin, and Max Pirkis as Lord Blakeney, one of several midshipmen aboard H.M.S. Surprise. Weir brilliantly juxtaposes violent battle scenes at sea with quiet, at times tender moments aboard ship. There is also a fascinating sequence during which Dr. Maturin and two youthful companions leave the ship to gather scientific specimens until unexpectedly....

The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards, receiving one (Russell Boyd for cinematography). Given the competition, it probably did not deserve others but suggesting that in no way damns with faint praise. (Praises with faint damnation?) This is a delightful, stirring, and on occasion moving account of a charming and resourceful captain and his loyal crew who, when necessary, summon exceptional courage with style and grace. I was surprised to learn how self-sufficient such ships must be, especially in terms of repairing damage resulting from combat. Because all of the film is set aboard the British warship, I also realized how confining, if not claustrophobic it must have seemed at times to crew members. On occasion, I did have a problem catching some of the dialogue but that may be more indicative of my hearing ability (or loss thereof) than of the quality of the soundtrack. This was an especially entertaining film which I plan to see again soon, joined by a large bowl of hot buttered popcorn and a cold beverage or two.

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October 22, 2010
This was much better than I thought it would be.
More Master and Commander: The Far ... reviews
review by . February 07, 2010
Russell Crowe is brilliant in the role of Captain
The year was 1805 at the height of the Napoleonic Wars.  France and England were in a seemingly relentless life and death struggle for control of the seas.  In those days the oceans were where the major battles were fought.  Captain "Lucky" Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) has drawn an especially difficult assignment.  As Commander of the British man-of-war "Surprise" he has been ordered to pursue the bigger, faster and highly elusive …
review by . September 21, 2010
There are not many movies that actually enhance the reading of a good book, much less books, but Master and Commander does exactly that.     Patrick O'Brian's Aubery-Maturin series is the kind of literature that sucks you in and won't let go. While telling the story of a charismatic British Naval sea captain and his ships surgeon, O'Brian recreated the whole world of the 19th century British seaman. But as wonderful as those books are with thier nautical language and exciting …
review by . May 25, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
"Master And Commander" is a masterpiece of a film. It shows an accurate description of Napoleonic-era nautical warfare, as well as the bonds shared between a group of men on the sea. Russell Crowe plays Captain "Lucky" Jack Aubrey, leader of the HMS Surprise. Paul Bettany plays the ship's doctor/Aubrey's confidant. The entire cast does an outstanding job.The story begins with an attack on the Surprise by the Acheron, a French warship that Aubrey is hunting. The rest of the film plays out with Aubrey …
review by . April 28, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
The best that can be said of this movie is that the special effects, realistic sea battles, and cinematography are fantastic. They really make the movie. Unfortunately, the story itself is rather plodding and does /not/ do Patrick O'Brain's novel justice. The plot is essentially a cat and mouse game between Captain Aubrey (British) and a French ship in 1805. There are subplots-such as leadership, bonding of the crew, superstition, and the brilliant seamanship of the Captain. The ship's doctor is …
review by . June 06, 2004
Pros: Superb acting; attention to detail; sweeping ocean vista’s.     Cons: Not long enough.     The Bottom Line: In the final analysis, as the credit rolled I felt cheated; I wanted more or this suburb movie about naval action in the 19th century.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. I love the ocean; the smell of seaweed in the morning as it is carried in one a cool ocean breeze full of freshness. …
review by . November 17, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Crowe, Weir, and the great Visuals.     Cons: None     The Bottom Line: Master and Commander The Far Side of the World is one of the best films of the year and a likely Oscar contender not to be missed.      In 1805, control of the seas was key to the wealth and power of a nation. With rich trade routes and colonies at stake, France and England found themselves locked in a bloody war for control of Europe and the high seas. On board …
About the reviewer
Robert Morris ()
Ranked #168
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir, starring Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey, with Paul Bettany as Stephen Maturin and released by 20th Century Fox, Miramax Films and Universal Studios. It is adapted from three novels in the Aubrey–Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian. The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Academy Award for Best Picture, and won in two categories, Best Cinematography and Sound Effects Editing. The movie is also notable for being on the list of most expensive films of all time, adjusted for inflation.
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Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: November 14, 2003
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 2hrs 19min
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