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Master and Commander

  • Jan Boehmermann (2426 posts)
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    Master and Commander

    I’ve never seen the movie.  But this review from History Buffs has piqued my curiosity.

    donDonE, Enthusiast, Haikugal and 3 othersBabel 17, Wood, MissDeeds like this

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13 replies
  • MissDeeds (831 posts)
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    1. It's wonderful!

    My husband and I have watched it a zillion times. I highly recommend it.

  • Babel 17 (2193 posts)
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    2. If you like the Hornblower books for their sense of veracity

    I think you’ll like this. Though it’s more about the action, which is done very well.

  • TwilightSporkle (1502 posts)
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    3. it's a VERY good movie.

    And as you can hear in History Buff’s video, has a grade-A soundtrack to boot.

    The only drawback is that it stars Russel Crowe. But he actually does a really damn fine job of portraying an officer i nthe Royal British Navy, so, cudos to Crowe.

    What if I want to tell you to leave me and my beloved ones in peace

    But you only understand the language of the sword

    I let the blade do the talking

    So my tongue shall become iron

    And my words the mighty roar of war

    • Jan Boehmermann (2426 posts)
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      7. Gawd! I love that song!

  • Calico (391 posts)
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    4. I love seafaring movies…

    The original Mutiny on the Bounty has been my favorite since forever. But it was supplanted by Master & Commander right away. I never get tired of watching this!

    And there are no villains in it, wonder of wonders!

    • TwilightSporkle (1502 posts)
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      5. I do the same thing!

      When I’m poking through the channels and I see “master and Commander,” I stop there, and watch it. Even if it’s like the last half hour. It’s just such a well-made, complete movie.

      What if I want to tell you to leave me and my beloved ones in peace

      But you only understand the language of the sword

      I let the blade do the talking

      So my tongue shall become iron

      And my words the mighty roar of war

      • Calico (391 posts)
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        6. It's begging for a sequel…

        Russell Crowe Asks Fans To Demand A Master And Commander Sequel

        In my mind Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is almost without question the best, seafaring adventure movie ever made. Better still, unlike a lot of the movies Hollywood tries to force into a franchise mold in pursuit of more money, it naturally lends itself to a sequel. In fact it’s based on a lengthy series of books by Patrick O’Brian. The sequels are already written, just sitting there waiting for someone to do something with them. Unfortunately the film achieved only modest results at the box office when it debuted in 2003 and despite a lot of initial enthusiasm for the project from everyone involved, there’s been no real movement to do anything with it. But Russell Crowe hasn’t given up.

        • Peace Patriot (1256 posts)
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          8. While "M&C" gets a lot of things right, it gets the main thing wrong –

          – that is, the character – and very important to the character – the appearance of the other main character in Patrick O’Brian’s 19-novel saga: Dr. Maturin.  I’m afraid that Patrick O’Brian is too erudite, too subtle and way too wry for Hollywood filmmakers.  They missed just about everything that is important in the Dr. Maturin character, and in the relationship between Captain Aubrey and Dr. Maturin.  A more unlikely friendship and a more delightful friendship has never been created among fictional characters.  The friendship of these completely ill-paired characters raises the O’Brian opus from mere good seafaring adventure to something approaching Shakespearean brilliance.

          Maturin is, above all, short and swarthy – an almost “Abbott & Costello” contrast to the tall, blond, Viking-like Captain Aubrey.  Maturin is extremely awkward at sea and often falls into the sea when boarding or departing from ships.  Maturin is also a spy for the British Empire and one of their deadliest weapons against Napoleon, a fact that Captain Aubrey only gradually discovers.  Aubrey, by contrast, is a straightforward and even dolphin-like man of the sea, who often plunges into the cold ocean, with his yellow hair streaming about him, as part of his daily shipboard routine.

          Aubrey has simple, straightforward values of unparalleled seamanship (so Viking-like), courage in war, brilliance in tactics, and directness and honesty in personal relations, and simple, straightforward personal flaws (he’s a womanizer; he can’t tell a punning-type joke no matter how hard he tries and he is a simpleton on land especially in the hands of financial sharks).

          Maturin, by contrast, is the most complex character one could imagine – a guerrilla fighter in an Irish uprising (against the British), a Catalan patriot with a long noble lineage and an estate in Catalonia, an extremely shrewd reader of character and analyst of human nature, a linguist, an expert swordsman and duelist, and a master of duplicity.

          Further, the entanglements of these two with their future wives is worthy of “All’s Well That Ends Well” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  And the female characters are as strong and unforgettable as any Shakespeare ever created.  That part of the story, which runs throughout the saga, is completely absent from “Master and Commander.”  It is a riveting tale in itself and deeply informs the Aubrey-Maturin friendship.  Without it, the movie seems strangely shallow – just a sea adventure.

          The movie only glances briefly at this complex relationship – in the music scene.  (They are both amateur musicians.  That’s how they meet – in one of the most amusing tales I’ve ever read.)

          Then there is O’Brian’s comprehensive understanding of sailing ships, of seamanship, of the language of sailing and of ship’s crews of that era (fully detailed and compelling characters), his amazing details of the medical practices of the era – through Maturin, an innovative, thoughtful medical doctor and surgeon – and his almost uncanny revelation of European culture at that time, on land and sea – as if he had actually time-traveled there.  Add to these his details of the culture of the native peoples and colonials whom Aubrey and Maturin come across in their sea travels, AND Maturin’s botanizing and his sympathy with animals, it is rather like having David Attenborough and the Encyclopedia Brittanica in story form.  O’Brian’s eclectic knowledge is amazing!  ( – so like Shakespeare!).

          And all of this – all of this! – intertwined with some of the best sea stories ever written.

          No, I’m afraid Hollywood didn’t come close to doing Patrick O’Brian justice.  Russell Crowe is ok, but he’s one-dimensional.  Can we picture him trying to learn trigonometry as an adult (as Aubrey does) or failing in a pun joke and trying again and again?  Crowe is too self-involved.  And Paul Bettany is vacant as Dr. Maturin – a huge failure of the movie!   He is woefully mis-cast.  He might have been able to pull it off, with his Nordic good-looks (Maturin is described as small, dark and “ugly) but it seems like nobody asked him to, because the filmmakers themselves never understood the genius of the books.

          There aren’t many stories that improve from novel to movie.  I can think of only one (“Lost Horizon” – the old Ronald Coleman movie is better than the book).  So I wasn’t surprised.   It was better than I expected but still very disappointing to a fan of Patrick O’Brian’s writing genius.

          • RadicleFantast (1082 posts)
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            9. Agree. Maturin is the star of O'Brian's series

            They put more of C. S. Forrester than of Jane Austen in the movie.

            For you who dwell on many waters, rich in treasure, wide in fame, who bow unto your god of gold: your pride of might shall be your shame.
            • Peace Patriot (1256 posts)
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              10. You got it! It's a Hornblower adventure, and that's all right, but…

              …it ain’t Patrick O’Brian.  Too bad.

          • Haikugal (4641 posts)
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            12. Wow, thanks for this!

            I’m going to have to read the books now! I still liked the movie….

              Be the bird.....       Hey DNC! Up Yours! It's ON!!
  • faultindicator (571 posts)
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    11. The scene ending with the lesser of two weevils

    is a riot, but so true too often. A character that many watchers miss seeing is the sailor with a wooden peg-leg. He uses the peg-leg to feed the fire in a scene where they’re making black smoke to attract the Acheron. It’s a lengthy film, not quite as long as Mutiny On The Bounty.

    A malfunction causes an FI (fault indicator) to light up on the dash. It flashes in code saying what to fix. Simple and straight forward. Just like this place - causes and solutions without the bullshit.
  • Ohio Barbarian (1240 posts)
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    13. I like the movie enough I own the DVD.

    One of the best ever in the genre of warfare in the Age of Sail, in my opinion. There’s an old classic, Damn the Defiant!, which has a great cast and was very well done by the standards of the time, but the very best war footage is to be found in a recent Dutch film, Admiral, which is about de Ruyter, arguably one of the best tactical geniuses of all time, during the Anglo-Dutch Wars.

    That one has whole fleet battle scenes in it which are actually historically accurate. I highly recommend that one to all and sundry.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."--Voltaire