Finally saw “Master and Commander: Far Side of the World” yesterday night. I’m glad it was re-released due to the Oscar nominations, so that I can see for myself if it is good.
And, yes, quite a good movie – a good old fashioned yarn, starring Russell Crowe as British Captain Jack Aubrey of the HMS Surprise against the French ship Archeron during the Napoleonic war. British actor Paul Bettany played Dr. Maturin, Aubrey’s erstwhile sidekick and chief medical officer/naturalist (in the pre-Darwin era). The movie adapted two of the Aubrey/Maturin book series by the late Patrick O’Brien. The movie had it all: ship to ship battles to excite the viewers; graphic violence and major pain tolerance, for those poor early 19th century sailors; loaded with male bonding (although, Russell Crowe wasn’t too bad for the female eyes, even if he had to pack in some weight to play Aubrey).
I haven’t read the books, so it wasn’t like I could make a comparison of accuracy or whatnot. Time magazine had done the rundown on the comparison awhile back (the big quibble for the Aubrey/Maturin fan base was that Maturin wasn’t his spy self, but I thought he was all right anyway; Aubrey wasn’t shown as being bigger (physically) or a womanizer, but this wasn’t that kind of movie). No big heterosexual romance or big debate about how wrong war is – it’s all about fighting the enemy (the French); that the world is black and white and right and wrong; and friendship is grand, in spite of or due to bonding through the hard times.
I don’t know if “Master and Commander” will win the Oscar for best picture, but it’s a good movie.