Master and Commander

2003 / cinema

SF elements: "associational squared" -- Weber's Honor Harrington books are (partly) Hornblower homage, and this is based on Patrick O'Brian 's Jack Aubrey books, also enjoyed by Hornblower fans :-)

Master and Commander

[Captain Jack Aubrey] Several things raise this above the typical "Napoleonic sea battle" film. Nearly the entire action (except for a short sojourn on the Galapagos Islands) takes place aboard a single ship, and no action takes place from the point of view of the enemy ship. This lends a great immediacy to the film. [Captain Jack Aubrey] Also, atypically for this style of drama, there is very little brutal naval discipline -- there's one minor flogging, but most of the time it's a "hard but fair" life. The battle scenes are terrifyingly realistic, with shattering violence, destruction, and death, but not with loads of horrific on-screen gore. Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey seems a bit out of place on one of His Majesty's ships whilst piratically posing on the foremast, but the rest of the time he portrays a believable sea captain.

And, from an Honorverse perspective, two or three scenes have very strong resonances with Honor's battles (although her Captain's Dinners are rather more decorous).

Rating: 3

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 12 December 2003