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Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

Director: Peter Weir
Writers: Patrick O'Brian(novels), Peter Weir(screenplay)
Cast: Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

In 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars, a legendary British Captain known for his boldness pursues a much more powerful French war ship in the stormy seas around South America.

What a great film! This is based on two novels by Patrick O'Brian, Master and Commander and The Far Side of the World, hence the unwieldy title of the film.

Looking at the poster with the ship, raging sea and Russell Crowe one might not guess that this is a film about comradely, friendship and duty...all set aboard a British sailing ship the H.M.S. Surprise. It's the characters and how they interact and show us life abroad ship that makes this film very special. Yes it does have some thrilling moments, many in fact. Yes there's plenty of action and good old ship broadsides with roaring canon blast and shards of ship boards a-flying. But this film has something more, heart and that makes it much better than the average sailing ship movie.

Director Peter Weir went to great lengths to create authenticity and believability in his film. He chose to make a very personal story and the viewer gets a feeling of what it would be like to live, work and fight in the British Navy circa 1805.

The director had his cameramen fly to the replica of Captain James Cook's ship, HMS Endeavour as it was undertaking a historic sailing voyage around the globe. The footage of the stormy seas as the ship sails around the Horn of South America are real.

The first movie to ever film on the Galapagos Islands, where a scene in the movie takes place.

Russell Crowe who's often criticized as an actor, does a splendid job here. He's personable, amicable and genuine and he extrudes the idea of a proper British Naval officer. The onboard ship's naturalistic and surgeon, played by Paul Bettley, gives a sense of wonderment to the film. He is scientifically inquisitive and desperately wants to visit the Galapagos islands to discover new species....this brings the two men at odds and adds a good subplot to the already emotion packed film. The naturalistic gives us a window onto the great British naturalist Charles Darwin. I was reminded of his legendary visit to the Galapagos aboard the HMS Beagle.

Capt.Aubrey (Russell Crowe) and Dr. Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany) on board the HMS Surprise.

The film was Academy nominated for 10 awards including Best Picture and Best Director. It won 2 Academy Awards including Best Cinematography.

Realistic, tou
ching, exciting and very well done!