It was here that the seeds of the imfamous mutiny on the Bounty was sewn. And in particular, the relationship between once friends Bligh and masters mate Fletcher Christian breaks down entirely. The film tells the great story of the Bounty voyage, from the time of it's first vision, to collect Breadfruit plants from Tahiti and transport them to the West Indies for food to feed the slaves, the time spent on Tahiti, the mutiny, Blighs long boat voyage, right through to the founding of the first settlement on Pitcairn island of the Bounty mutineers.
Added to that this DVD has a making of documentary, a 50 minute film tracing the Bounty story, both in cinema, and the actual voyage, and interviews with Anthony Hopkins, who gives his thoughts on Bligh. Even an extensive booklet, which interestingly, relates plans for a sequel, featuring the aftermath of the story, in particular, what happened to the Bounty mutineers on Pitcairn, a story long over due, in view of the popularity of the Bounty story. But, as this film goes back to 1984 and so far no sequel, don't hold your breath!
All in all, on the surface, a great buy DVD, but for one thing only; The quality of the DVD transfer is very poor indeed, quite the worst DVD quality I have seen so far. It is out of synch, with the voices ahead of the actors mouths, and in places, grain is prevalent. For a film of such stunning beauty, this is a dissapointment, to say the very least.
During the voyage, the viewer sees the tension build amongst the crew, as well as amongst the officers. The innate savagery and baseness of some of the seamen is personified by Charles Churchill (Liam Neeson), a seaman who needs little provocation. The disdain of the officers for the crew is best exemplified by John Fryer, the ship's master, who seems to relish the cruelty of the punishments meted out to those crewmen found guilty of infractions. Tension then spills over between the crew and officers, as the rigors of the voyage eats away at morale. By the time the ship reaches Tahiti, the die is cast. Months on the lovely island creates a false reality and an indolence that sets the stage for what is to come. Fletcher's erotic romance with a Tahitian princess further erodes discipline and strains the friensdhip between Bligh and Christian. By the time they finally shove off and set sail back to England with the breadfruit plants that they had sought, the end is near.
Mel Gibson does a superb job with the role of Fletcher Christian. The viewer first sees him as an ambitious, yet kindly young man, who, having weathered the rigors and cruelties of the voyage, finds romance and peace on the idyllic island of Tahiti. Setting sail to return home and once again encountering the rigors and reality of a sea voyage, Christian seems to be a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown. With morale low among the crew, he makes a life defining decision. The rest is history.
Anthony Hopkins is simply brilliant in the role of William Bligh. Playing him as a hard working, by the book captain, he creates a three dimensional character that is sympathetic. Betrayed by friendship and beset by the fates, Bligh manages to pull together and save those men who were cast adrift in a dinghy with him. Masterful and mindful of his professional obligations, he makes an astounding voyage, believable because of the qualities of character infused in him by Hopkins' portrayal. The viewer senses, however, that he will forever be at a loss to comprehend Christian's actions.
This is a visually beautiful film, with stunningly lush island scenes. There is an original musical score by Vangelis that is wonderfully atmospheric. The performances by the cast are superlative. What more could a film lover ask for? Bravo!