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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is why you don't cast Johnny Depp as a pirate,
This review is from: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Widescreen Special Two-Disc Set) (DVD)I have to admit that I am a bit of a sucker for both this time period in general, as well as nautical adventures as a whole. Taken in this context, this film does everything just about right. There is lots of action - from exploding cannon shot tearing mizzenmasts apart, to frenetic hand to hand combat (almost too frenetic - shades of the battle against the Germanians in "Gladitaor"). Lots of gore (two difficult scenes to watch for someone as girlie as me were where a young officer's arm is amputated, and another where the doctor removes a musket ball from his own stomach). Lots of comraderie (the crux of this manifests itself in the friendship between Capt. Aubrey, and the doctor, Maturin, who also played Russell's imaginary bud in "A Beautiful Mind"). Perhaps most impressive, in this day and age of CGI, are the special effects. This was obviously shot on a real ship. I don't know if the ship was actually bobbing on the waves or not, but it sure looked like it was. Obviously there were some computer effects here, but I couldn't catch them. Usually CGI is exposed by its weightlessness (when Spiderman bounds from building to building, he looks like he weighs nothing - and he doesn't in computerland) - however, here, the HMS Surprise doesn't coast through the waves (as in the A&E "Horatio Hornblower" series, or even in "A Perfect Storm" and "Pirates of the Carribbean"), it plows! For 2 hours and 18 miniutes, I believed that I was on the open sea.
The two faults one might find with this film, were to my mind strengths. For one, a lot of time is spent watching the men working. Hauling on this, keeling on that, tying, pulling, and speaking in a language that might as well be foreign. But I love that stuff. There is very little in the way of a musical soundtrack, and the audio is mainly devoted to the constant sounds a ship makes. The creaking of the boards, the sounds of men sleeping in uncofortable bunks, the lonely tolling of a ship's bell. Wonderfully evocative sounds. This will sound great on DVD, and deserves a DTS treatment (when there is a musical score, it is great - mainly punctuated by the duet of cello and violin).
The other fault is that it is hopelessly earnest. Life on the ocean isn't glamorised, but the service is. Aubrey is a man of honour and bravery, who wholeheartedly believes in the service he has devoted his life to. There is never any question that God has ordained England to be on His side against that dastardly Napoleon. It is a time of the perfect english gentleman - genteel and refined on land, yet savage to one's enemy at sea. There is little cynicism in Capt. Jack. His companion, Dr. Maturin does add some balance. He is not 100% devoted to King and country. There are definite shades here of Star Trek - the intrepid captain, being counseled by his somewhat disenfranchised, but brilliant doctor (Star Trek was based on Horatio Hornblower, although I don't recall if there was a doctor in that or not - I have only read one book). Together they argue, debate, and play classical music together.
I am almost loathe to say it, but Russell Crowe has done it again. The man knows how to pick material. I don't know that this is an Oscar-worthy performance but he has yet again strapped himself boldly to a part where he is allowed to carry the film almost entirely on his own. He did it in The Insider, Gladiator, and A Beautiful Mind (and arguably, Proof of Life, which I quite liked, even though no one else did - particularly Dennis Quaid), and he's done it again here.
The film probably isn't perfect. It's not Star Wars. Or Jaws. Or The Godfather. But it is everything you really need from the movies. Solid, fun entertainment.
Now, back to my original warning. Why be wary? Well, they've obviously establishes the premise and characters that could be long running. There could easily be a sequel (or prequel) to this film. Unlike the Matrix, or Back to The Future, which produced not one, but two unnecessary sequels, one easily believes that there are endless adventures in store for Aubrey and Maturin. Why? Well, because this film is based on one of the books by Patrick O'Brien - specifically "The Far Side of the World", which was actually the 10th in the Capt. Jack Aubrey series (the first was entitled "Master and Commander". The film semi-follows the 10th book only but studio execs were wary of the title, so they also used the first one). And there were 10 that followed that one! From what I have read the books are just excellent. So while Miramax-Universal-20th Century Fox (was the movie really that expensive that they needed THREE studios to finance it?!?) may indeed plan a sequel, I don't think I can wait that long. I plan to delve into the first book. But then, what if I like that? Then the second...then the third. And I'm not done until I have read 9,000 pages about the 19th century British navy!!!! Previously I have only read "Commodore Hornblower" and "Mutiny on the Bounty".
What have I got myself into?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It actually lives up to the hype. A great movie.,
This review is from: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Full Screen) (DVD)Quickly- lots of hype out there, and it is all right! Damn good movie.
Summary: Rusel Crow plays ship captain Lucky Jack aboard the British Frigate Suprise. The scene is set with a battle against a French Frigate with twice the guns, twice the speed and twice the range. The Suprise is quickly defeated. The rest of the movie follows the relentless quest to catch the French ship and get revenge (as well as completing orders). Tons of crew interaction, tons of man vs man, tons of man vs the elements.
The Good: Pretty much everything. This is the best Privateer movie I have ever seen. The acting was award worthy. The cast was perfect. The story was great. You got right into it and forgot about reality. The effects were so good you forgot they were effects, heck I am just assuming there was some digital work done in there, maybe not. Heck to quote a friend: "It's all good but the bad parts" which you can see below.
The Bad: The DVD didn't have much on it besides the Movie. Just the usual commentaries and one of those Made to Make You Go See the Movie featurettes. The movie ends without the story quite coming to a close which was a bit of a disapointment. Not one of those There Will Be a Sequal kind of things, but it leaves the end open.
The Ugly: Hmmm.... I just kept thinking of the Doctor as Hyde from League of Extrodinary Gentlemen and thinking Pipin looks odd tall with huge sideburns. Really not a poblem... but I had to think of something. Oh actually - there is a lot of realistic gore in this, it's all fitting with the movie but as Pandora said at the time "the begining put me off my popcorn"
Overall: I really enjoyed this. This is probably the best movie I have seen in a long time. There isn't much bad to say, pretty much everything is good. Just don't go into it expecting a Swashbuckling Pirate movie. It's more like a War movie at sea. If you don't like gore you may have to squint in a few scenes but other then that, I would call this a must see.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine rendition of a masterful series,
This review is from: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)Based on the books by the Master of the sea-faring adventure, Patrick O'brian, Master and Commander brings together the books
into one incredibly well done story. This movie will please history buffs who wish they could have been there, men who want swash-buckling adventure, women who want to see a man handle a violin bow as deftly as he does a sword, aspiring entomologists and naturalists who wish they could have stowed away on the Beagle and anyone who wants to experience the hardships of ship-board life from the comfort of thier easy chair.
The commaraderie and gentle humor of Lucky Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin make this movie as much about friendship and loyalties as it does to naval tactics and duty.
Although there are a few scenes that make the movie unsuitable for the younger crowd, there is nothing here that would make a grandma blush or cringe. The movie also contains a wonderful soundtrack of concertos for violin and cello. If I could take only ten movies with me to the cottage, this one would be in the suitcase.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never a dull moment,
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This review is from: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (DVD)This is one of my favourite movies. You never have a boring moment in it. Lots of action as the Captain of a British navel ship (Russell Crowe) chases an enemy around the tip of South America, determined to catch him. There are some brilliantly done scenes in this award winning film with very well done acting. You'll laugh, cry, cheer but one thing you don't get... bored. There's no bad language in this, no nudity... just a damn good movie that you'll want to watch over and over again. I have nothing bad to say about it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As advertised,
This review is from: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Full Screen) (DVD)Thank you, dvd delivered promptly and in good shape. Good price, prompt delivery and clean dvd. A pleasure to do business with.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Quality,
This review is from: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)I did see good quality in this blu-ray; I have a good colection rigth now and the worst one is Underworld; this pass the blu ray quality video and audio are good.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best movie I've ever seen...,
This review is from: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)If you like realistic history/adventure movies, this is a great one! WARNING-It has no nudity and very little bad language, it doesn't need it.
Well done, very realistic and interesting. The kids liked it, the construction worker loved it, history major has watched it dozens of times. We need more like it! :)
5.0 out of 5 stars Aboard a Man O'War,
This review is from: Master & Commander: Far Side of World [Blu-ray] [Import] (Blu-ray)The defining characteristic that sets "Master and Commander" apart as one of the best films of its kind is authenticity. Viewers are transported completely into a world aboard a British frigate, HMS Surprise, during the Napoleonic wars in the age of sail. Enthusiasts of historical naval fiction will warm to the detail in everything from weevily biscuits and wardroom banter to the weather gage and sound of chain-shot through rigging.
The story, adapted from the novels of Patrick O'Brian, is essentially a cat-and-mouse adventure on the high seas involving HMS Surprise and her illusive French adversary, Acheron. It's the sort of film in which, thankfully, the action supports the story and not the other way round. Plentiful battle scenes, with "broadsides" and boarding parties, are balanced against a sensitive humanity in the friendship between the audacious and resourceful Captain "Lucky" Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) and the ship's doctor, Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany), a compassionate scientist.
Peter Weir's experienced directing brings out interesting questions on the nature of duty, the importance of scientific inquiry and value of human life while never allowing the film to wallow in sentimentality or moral philosophy. It is a balanced approach which allows for believable character development from a fine screenplay. Weir's singular ability to create atmosphere is also exhibited to good effect here, whether it is an eerie creaking of timbers as the "Jonah" walks the deck at night or the emergence of a ghostly enemy vessel from a fog bank.
Other highlights are the classical music which includes the beautifully poignant Tallis Fantasia by Ralph Vaughan Williams and spectacular footage of the Galapagos Islands, the first time the Ecuadorian authorities had allowed them to be photographed for a feature film.
While it will be of particular interest to those familiar with the works of O'Brian, Alexander Kent and C.S. Forrester there is something for most tastes in this production except perhaps fans of the romantic love affair. It should not disappoint.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie,
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This review is from: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Widescreen Bilingual Edition) (DVD)Great movie, historically accurate. Good acting. Never bogs down, always interesting.
Russel Crowe always does a good job in his films
5.0 out of 5 stars "For England, for home, and for the prize!",
This review is from: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Widescreen Special Two-Disc Set) (DVD)This magnificent, swashbuckling epic takes place during the Napoleonic Wars, aboard the British frigate, HMS Surprise. Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) has orders to destroy, or take as prize, the French warship Acheron, off the coast of Brazil. Most of the film concerns the day to day life aboard ship and we get to know the men very well. There is the ship's doctor (Paul Bettany) who is the Captain's friend and confidant and Midshipman Blakeney (Max Pirkis), one of many young boys who are learning about the sea and will one day be captains of their own ships. The crew engage the Acheron in battle, and the Captain asks the men to defeat the enemy for England, for home, and for the prize.
This is Russell Crowe's best role to date, and he rates a 10 on the Macho-Meter. He is gallant, brave, handsome, and kind in a very appealing performance. The story is told at a leisurely pace, allowing us to feel the rolling of the ship, the camaraderie of the men, the adventure of it all. The battle scenes are exciting, but not gory. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and recommend it to those who want heroic, sensitive characters that you care about, a literate script, and masterful direction.
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Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World [Blu-ray] by Blu-Ray (Blu-ray - 2007)
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