Tuesday, December 02, 2003


If you want to see a movie based on a historical event with interesting characters and great action, go and watch Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World. Here is a review by Edward Cline (posted on HBL, 11/18/03):

"As an antidote to "The Day After Tomorrow" and films of that ilk, I would like to recommend the new Russell Crowe film, "Master and Commander: At the Far Side of the World."

The plot is fairly simple: A British warship pursues a French warship twice its size across the Atlantic and into the Pacific during the Napoleonic Wars. The production values, including dialogue, are for once on an intelligent adult level -- and I emphasize intelligent -- and for the first time in years I actually enjoyed seeing a movie in a theater. Although Peter Wier, the director, moved the time from the War of 1812 to tan earlier stage of the Napoleonic War (from the British perspective, the American "War of 1812" was a side-show), and combined the plots of author Patrick O'Brien's first two Jack Aubrey novels, the result was surprisingly effective and true to O'Brien's characters and story lines.

I went to see this movie chiefly because Crowe's warship, the HMS Surprise, was actually "The Rose" (no HMS, not until 1787), which is the reconstructed mid-18th century British frigate (built with private funds in the 1970's, as a cruise ship) I used as a model for my own "Sparrowhawk." So, not only was I able to see the "Sparrowhawk" in action, but I liked the movie. It gets four out of my five stars, because some of the close-up action scenes were a little too quick."

Ed Cline is adding the following comments in an email: "Crowe portrays a purposeful officer who will not be turned away from his goal, which is to sink or capture the French warship, not even for his best friend, Stephen Maturin. Some of the action scenes were a bit confusing -- it was difficult to know who was shooting whom or which vessels were firing -- but overall this is a nominally "romantic" movie."

For more information, go to the Patrick O'Brian Compendium. Buy Patrick O'Brian's book, Master and Commander at Amazon.com and get the poster at AllPosters.com.

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