Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (DVD, 2008, Canadian; Single Disc Version; Widescreen)

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Russell Crowe Commands in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Nov 28, 2003 (Updated Nov 4, 2007)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Acting. A few beautiful locations. Some interesting scenes.

Cons:Several boring scenes. Very gory at times. No explanations for some things.

The Bottom Line: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World was all right, but it isn't a movie for everyone.


As the holiday season approaches, more movies are being released. I want to see several movies that are out now, and I have been able to go see a few recently. After going to a string of kid or family type movies, I headed off to see one for adults, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. When I first saw previews for the movie a few months ago, I thought I wanted to see it. Then after the movie opened, I read some things, and I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to see it anymore. But my mother wanted me to go see it with her, and she did go see some with me that she wasn’t too enthused about. So I went.

Jack Aubrey was the captain of the British Naval ship H.M.S. Surprise. His orders were to find the French ship Acheron and stop it some way. One morning a man on watch briefly saw something in the fog. It was a ship and it started to fire on them. The other ship turned out to be the Acheron. The Surprise was badly damaged, but managed to get away. Several men were injured and some were killed. The doctor, Stephen Maturin, had to perform several medical procedures. He and Jack were good friends. Several people thought that they should return home, but Jack was determined to continue on to finish his mission. They stopped to make repairs and then continued after the Acheron. That ship was newer, larger, and faster, but Jack was determined to continue. One day a ship was spotted following the Surprise, and it turned out to be the Acheron. Jack came up with a unique way to get away. Jack used some unique ideas again later in his pursuit of the Acheron.

Jack would get drunk with some of the crew and joke at times. Stephen thought that the men were drinking too much and that the rations of alcohol should be reduced. Jack didn’t agree with that. He wanted to keep the crew happy, but he did discipline men if he thought it was necessary. Stephen disagreed with some of Jack’s decisions. Stephen was very interested in science and studying nature and was excited about the thought of discovering some new species of animals. The Surprise had some bad luck during the pursuit of the Acheron, which caused some problems with the crew. Some men were convinced that one of the men was a jinx.

CAST

Russell Crowe - Captain Jack Aubrey
Paul Bettany - Dr. Stephen Maturin
James D’Arcy - 1st Lt. Tom Pullings
Edward Woodall - 2nd Lt. William Mowett
Chris Larkin - Captain Howard, Royal Marines
Max Pirkis - Blakeney
Jack Randall - Boyle
Lee Ingleby - Hollum
Richard Pates - Williamson
Robert Pugh - Mr. Allen
Richard McCabe - Higgins
Billy Boyd - Barrett Bonden

Peter Weir - Director

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World was released on November 14, 2003. The movie was rated PG-13 and 138 minutes long. It was based on books by Patrick O’Brian. I think there was a series of books featuring Jack and Stephen, and that Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World was one of the later books, but I’m not completly sure. I did look at two Master and Commander books at the bookstore and it seems like there were things related to Stephen that were left out of the movie.

For me, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World was an all right movie, but I didn’t love it like so many others seem to. I didn’t hate it though. I just feel sort of blah about the movie. There were some things about the movie that were interesting, and there were things that bored me. There were some things that weren’t explained, so I was left confused. I did enjoy some of the movie, but I would have rather seen something else.

There were a lot of people on the Surprise that I really didn’t know who they were or why they were there. There were several young boys on the ship and I had no idea why they were there for a long time. I think they were in some sort of training to become captains later, but I’m not really sure since it was never really explained. Those boys were in the middle of battles and some were injured or even killed. Every so often I would notice some men in red coats on the ship and I kept wondering who they were. Near the end of the movie, I found out they were marines. A lot of the things related to how things were done on the ship didn’t always make sense to me. I don’t know how things are done in the Navy in the United States now, let alone how the British Navy worked 200 years ago. It would have been helpful, to me at least, if there was some more explanation about some of that stuff. Some scenes that just focused in on the life of the men on the ship were boring to me.

There was a lot of violence in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. I thought it was very violent for being rated PG-13. There were two battles depicted in the movie, and they were very graphic. A lot of damage was caused by cannons, but guns were also used at times. Some men, including Jack, also used swords. Many men were injured and a lot of blood was shed. There was some action in the movie, but it was really just in a battle scene at the beginning of the movie and another near the end of the movie. There wasn’t as much action as I thought there would be from the previews. I found the majority of the movie to be slow moving. Stephen was shown doing different medical procedures, including amputating an arm and brain surgery. The scenes with the medical procedures were bloody. I could have done without seeing those scenes. With the amputation scene, as soon as it was clear to me what was going to happen, I covered my eyes, so I don’t know exactly how much of that procedure was shown. But I saw more than enough. I also either closed or covered my eyes during a few other scenes involving medial procedures. This movie will probably be too violent for some people. I do think it is too violent for children. Though I don’t think children would enjoy this movie anyway since it is so long and it was very slow at times. I don’t think it would keep children’s attention too well. I’m an adult and I was bored at times. I even saw some people sleeping in the theater. I’ve never seen that before.

Almost all of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World took place on the Surprise. The ship went through many weather conditions like fog, a horrible storm, freezing cold, extreme heat, and a lack of rain on their journey. The weather did influence the mood of the men at times. Some times everything looked rather dreary. At other times, the ship was in a beautiful location. Men were climbing up and down on the ship in all kinds of conditions to deal with sails. I noticed that some of the men were running around on the ship, and climbing up the ropes, in their bare feet. There were some different camera angles used at times. The cinematography was wonderful for this movie.

There were a lot of characters in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. I had trouble keeping them all straight at times. I’m still not sure of the names of some of the characters, even ones that were in more of the movie. There wasn’t a lot of character development, even for Jack. Many of the characters seemed to be flat to me. There were too many men on the ship for them all to be developed. Things about life on the ship were shared, but that didn’t help the development of the characters that much.

I thought that the acting in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World was very good. Russell Crowe was wonderful as Jack. He was very believable in the role. His face was very expressive at times. I’ve seen him in some other movies, and I thought he was good in those movies as well. Jack was different from the other parts I’ve seen him play. He is a versatile actor. I haven’t seen Paul Bettany in any other movies. He was also good in his part. He and Russell Crowe had good chemistry in the scenes they had together. Besides Russell Crowe, the only other actor I recognized was Billy Boyd. He played Pippin in The Lord of the Rings movies. His part in this movie was small and he didn’t have too much to do. When I was double checking the cast, I discovered that there were several actors in this movie that haven’t been in any others. I think those were the actors playing the young boys, but I might be wrong since I can’t remember the names of all of those characters. I’m not even sure I heard names for all of them. They all did well with their parts. I thought one was really good as one of the young boys. I think that one was Blakeney.

CHARACTERS

Jack Aubrey - Captain of the Surprise. He was devious at times and did some sneaky things to get away from or catch up to the Acheron. Jack had been on the Surprise when he was younger, so he was very familiar with the ship and what it could do. He played the violin in his room at times. He didn’t have a problem with his crew getting drunk. He got drunk right along with them at times. He did discipline crew members when he thought it was necessary. He was determined to complete his mission. He could be stubborn at times.

Stephen Maturin - Jack’s best friend. Stephen was the doctor for the ship. He played a cello when Jack played the violin. Stephen didn’t always agree with Jack, and didn’t hesitate to speak up in those cases. Stephen was interested in studying nature.

I’m not going to mention any of the other characters since I’m not sure I remember the names of them right, or what they were doing on the ship.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World was a good movie, but I didn’t enjoy it that much. Parts of it were all right to me, but there were other parts that I found to be very boring. Someone who is more interested in the British navy from 200 years ago may find the movie more interesting. Even people that are more familiar with the modern navy may find it more interesting.

Related Reviews
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring ~ The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers ~ The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ~






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