There is much interest here in the new Russell Crowe sea epic, Master and Commander, which did well at the box office last weekend and has received very positive reviews:
- “Master and Commander” received generally rave reviews and, depending on box office and the vagaries of Hollywood, could lead to sequels for Crowe and 20th Century Fox.
But quality and box office potential were not what was making Crowe nervous. As he confided to reporters at recent news conference, he is not very good with heights.
And that was an issue for the actor who plays “Lucky” Captain Jack Aubrey of 19th century sailing vessel HMS Surprise because he must climb the ship’s rigging to prove he is the real man he claims to be. What’s more, the actor who won an Oscar for “Gladiator” said he was worried about his family’s history of motion sickness.
“It was very important the captain didn’t throw up on the voyage,” Crowe quipped.
“Master and Commander” is an epic movie based on the series of 20 novels by author Patrick O’Brian detailing the high seas travel of Aubrey, his best friend and ship’s doctor, Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany), and the 197 sailors aboard Surprise.
Audiences expecting the roar of cannon and the glint of sword-fighting will be surprised. “Master and Commander” does have action but like the novels, it attempts a more noble look at naval life in a time of exploration and scientific discovery. “Think of us as the Admiralty’s film unit, and we’re aboard to document,” director Peter Weir said he told his crew.
The movie draws from many of O’Brian’s 20 books, but the main plot centers on a singular adventure when the Surprise becomes prey for the French battleship Acheron.
The Acheron sneaks up on Surprise in foggy seas off Brazil, pummels her with cannon fire and sails away. The Surprise puts in for repairs, then gives chase around the treacherous Cape Horn seas and up the Pacific through the Galapagos Islands to meet her nemesis Acheron in a final battle.
Yet the major portion of the film takes place in between the conflicts as “Master and Commander” looks at the rivalries and friendships that develop between brothers-in-arms. If successful, the movie, which longs for Oscars this year, will likely become a franchise for the 20th Century Fox film studio. Crowe and Weir both said they have not yet been signed to a sequel contract, but that could easily change. [Reuters]
Why Master and Commander is so good
The idea of the lone ship on the far side acting on its own on simple but direct general orders is mostly a notion for bygone era. The fact that navy ships once roamed the planet free from communication and orders, yet a mission somehow remained is pretty remarkable.
Posted in Blogcritics on November 20, 2003 02:31 AM
Master and Commander
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…
Posted in Blogcritics on November 19, 2003 12:59 PM
A Review of Master and Commander
This story revolves around Capt. “Lucky” Jack Aubrey and ship’s surgeon Stephen Maturin. Aubrey played by Crowe and Stephen Maturin played by Paul Bettany (Crowe’s imaginary roomate from A Beautifual Mind”.
Posted in Blogcritics on November 18, 2003 10:00 PM
Master and Commander
Master and Commander does for early 19th Century naval warfare what Saving Private Ryan did for D-Day. It is gritty, nuanced and spectacular without being forced. It never plucks the wrong note. It doesn’t beat you over the head with…
Posted in Blogcritics on November 17, 2003 12:13 AM
Master and Commander
A movie that lives up to the hype.
Posted in Blogcritics on November 15, 2003 09:20 PM
Looking forward to Master And Commander
The Patrick O’Brian novels on which the new Russell Crowe movie is based were rollicking, lively tales of British naval officer Jack Aubrey and his friend, surgeon Stephen Maturin. Filled with the violence of the Napoleonic era, well-written and captivating,…
Posted in Blogcritics on November 6, 2003 12:43 AM