Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Movie Reviews | Nov 3rd, 2003

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Starring Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, James D’Arcy, Billy Boyd, Edward Woodall, Chris Larkin, Richard McCabe and a bunch of others who played seaman.
Written By:
Directed By: Peter Weir

The trailers for this movie were iffy because one moment it looked like a drama with some action in it, and then next it looked like this huge action sea epic. It’s more like a sea epic with some action in it haha. It’s a good, well-acted drama though.

The movie takes place during the Napoleonic Wars and focuses on a British Sea Captain, Jack Aubrey or Lucky Jack (Russell Crowe) and his friend, Ship’s Surgeon/ Scientist Dr. Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany). The rest is the ship consist of people ranging from 10 year olds to 60, and it’s the younger shipmates that are the ones in charge and doing the bossing around. The Beginning of the film shows the British Navy ship being under attack by some new state of the art French Ship, and then Lucky Jack wants revenge and chases after them. That’s basically the story right there folks. Pretty straight forward.

Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany both did awesome jobs on this film and they will probably get nominated for some awards this year. You can barely recognize Paul Bettany with all the makeup and that brown wig he has on. It was nice to see Billy Boyd in an acting role where he wasn’t a hobbit haha. For a lot of the kids, this was their first featured film and they did a decent job. I felt the movie was very slow but I was expecting that. I knew there was gonna be some action in the film, and when that happened, it was exciting. Seeing two ships right next to each other trying to blow one another out of the water is entertaining to me. It’s too bad that there wasn’t enough of that on screen.

When I see two ships firing at each other, I just think of Looney Tunes with Bugs Bunny vs. Yosemite Sam haha. “You’re gonna blast my ship to smithereens” ha! The movie was kind of an introduction to the series, I think there’s like 20 books or so. But the movie really deals with the hardship of being on a boat that long and living out in the sea. Sometimes it drives people mad, others makes them home sick or depressed and others thrive on it. But when it comes down it, everyone has respect for Lucky Jack and will stand by their Captain.

One part of the movie that I liked was that Jack and Stephen played their instruments in the Captain’s corridors. Showed that they weren’t these big fighting machines and had a love for something else as well, like music. Russell Crowe and Bettany trained to play the cello and violin but I think they probably overdubbed their music with someone classically trained for it so it didn’t sound so bad. I liked how there was a lot of classical songs in the movie as well as the film score. It fit the movie well, but I kind of wish the score had some sort of theme to it but with Peter Weir’s movies, I don’t think he likes that. He wants to use the music as less thematic as possible.

I’m a sucker for a theme I guess. What makes this movie work so well is the detail of everything. Like the ship jargon, the detail of the ships, clothing, etc. Well I’m assuming that’s how it was done back in those days. Even if you don’t understand what they are saying in the film half the time, you still get the idea. If you are expected some Gladiator type movie, than you will be disappointed because this is mostly a drama. It does have some exciting, intense battle scenes but it’s sporadic throughout the film. The movie kind of felt like it was in the middle of the story, ya know? Maybe if they decide to do a sequel there will be more action and adventure and less talking. But I still liked the movie and thought it was well done.

Favorite Scenes: The Battle at the end was cool. It made up for the slowness of the film.
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 138 minutes
Overall Rating:


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