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Master and Commander

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The other night, as I was sitting and watching TV, I decided to informally keep track of the number of portrayals of men as incompetent, bumbling idiots in either advertising or programs. The results were not encouraging. It seems that the typical male, as portrayed on TV, is slightly-to-grossly overweight, has irresistable attractions to beer/salty snacks/pizza/babes, has the intellectual capacity of a below-average neanderthal, and is either utterly incompetant when it comes to women or has an amazingly (and totally unrealistically) hot wife. Said wife, though, makes up for her beauty with a corresponding amount of demands on her hapless hubby. There’s only one real exception to this rule, and that is the gay man: he is fit, intelligent, and witty to a fault.

Movies, at least, tend to give us a bit broader spectrum of representative males. One of the latest, Master and Commander, gives us quite a spectrum, indeed. Within this spectrum, however, one thing is clear: every man is a man. No whipped males here, no sir. In fact, the fairer sex makes only one brief appearance in the film. This film is very much a character study, and there are a variety of characters with assorted strengths and flaws, but by the end of the film, one very much wishes that there were more portrayals like this one. The cast is exceptional, well-suited to their parts and delivering excellent performances. While the plot and action is crucial, this is definitely not an (at least typical) action movie.

I enjoyed M&C a great deal…perhaps partly because I’ve always been intrigued by this period of history, but also because of the reasons above. One of InstaPundit’s readers echoes the thoughts about the portrayal of men, Josh Claybourn didn’t seem to enjoy the movie quite as much, and National Review’s Michael Leaser has a similar take to mine.

Bobby Allison-Gallimore enjoys historical epics, sailing, and rum. He writes at TheRattler.net.

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