Title: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Release Date: November 14, 2003
Director: Peter Weir
Production Company: 20th Century Fox | Miramax Films | Universal Pictures |
Samuel Goldwyn Films
From time to time, someone on Twitter asks “What movie do you think mosts deserves a sequel that never got one?” My answer is always Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. The 2003 film is based on details from several of Patrick O’Brian’s novels in his 20 book series about Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin (I read about half of them before my interest petered out). I personally think The Fortune of War, which is primarily set in Boston during the War of 1812, would make for great source material for a movie sequel.
I saw the movie on the big screen in December 2003 and it’s the subject of one of my earliest movie reviews. Despite being wowed by the movie on the big screen, I haven’t revisited it until now, partly inspired by a recent episode of The Cine-Files podcast. Well, I have to say that this movie is still impressive on the small screen. The special effects and sound design are amazing. But best of all the movie really gives one a sense of everyday life on the ship – the drudgery and the terror of battle as well as camaraderie and beauty. It’s a movie with a lot of action scenes but not afraid to slow down to set the mood and establish good character moments.
Russell Crowe seems perfectly cast a “Lucky” Captain Jack Aubrey, while Paul Bettany is great as the scientific and introspective (albeit ignorant of anything nautical) Dr. Maturin. While they are the big stars, this is really an ensemble movie and everyone is well cast. The historical detail of young boys of noble families serving as officers in training is well represented, especially by Max Pirkis who steals scenes as Lord Blakeney. Of course, the ship HMS Surprise is a character as well. While I’m not really someone into war and masculinity as presented in this movie, it really is an excellent work that deals with themes of leadership, friendship, and persistence very well.