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Master And Commander - The Far Side Of The World [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Richard McCabe, Max Pirkis, Chris Larkin
  • Directors: Peter Weir
  • Producers: Peter Weir, Todd Arnow, Samuel Goldwyn Jr., Duncan Henderson
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Oct 2005
  • Run Time: 139 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000B4EWVS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,005 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Peter Weir's adaptation of one of the 'Master and Commander' novels by Patrick O'Brian; O'Brian's novels are set during the Napoleonic Wars and feature the character Captain Jack Aubrey. After conquering much of Europe already, Napoleon's forces have set their sights on taking Britian, so Captain Aubrey (Russell Crowe) and the crew of his ship, the HMS Surprise, take to the Pacific to intercept any attacking ships from the French fleet. When Aubrey eyes a renegade French super-frigate, the Surprise pursues, leading to an adrenaline-charged chase through the distant reaches of the sea.

From Amazon.co.uk

Aside from some gripping battles and a storm sequence to rival anything seen on screen, Peter Weir's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is as much about daily shipboard life during the Napoleonic era--especially the relationship between Captain Aubrey (Russell Crowe) and Doctor Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany)--as it is about spectacle. Aubrey is a powerful figure whose experience and strength of character commands unwavering trust and respect from his crew; Crowe seems in his element naturally enough. Bettany, though, is his match on screen as Aubrey's intellectual foil. Director Weir successfully translates their relationship from novel to screen by subtly weaving in their past history and leaving viewers--whether they've read Patrick O'Brian's books or not--to do the thinking.

Although the film's special effects ate up a huge budget they never overtake the drama, with careful characterisation and painstaking attention to historical accuracy taking centre stage. Matching action to detail, drama to humour and special effects to well-sketched characters, Master and Commander is a deeply satisfying big-screen experience, breathing a bracing gust of sea air into Hollywood megabuck filmmaking.--Laura Bushell

On the DVD: Master & Commander's single-disc edition displays the full glories of the big screen experience, with Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS sound options that make the most of the resounding battle scenes as well as the small but vital details of creaking planks and lapping waves, while the sweeping CinemaScope (2.35:1) photography anamorphically formatted for 16:9 widescreen splendidly reproduces Peter Weir's painterly compositions. It's a tad disappointing, then, to note the lack of a director's commentary (surely such an insightful director as Weir would have plenty to say) and the excessive promotional material--cinema trailers and plugs for Fox DVDs-- that plays even before the main menu screen appears: anyone who has bought this title for repeat viewing deserves not to be subjected to such a broadside of soon-to-be-out-of-date advertising. --Mark Walker --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. J. Marsh on 26 Feb 2004
Format: DVD
Yes, even that strange, disparate group of people who are incapable of talking about anything when they meet other than weevils, soused pig's face and tincture of laudanum, even they love this film. I should know, I'm one of them and most of the people I know are too.
Having seen a couple of excerpts of Crowe as Aubrey, I was absolutely dreading this movie but was totally enthralled from the outset. In fact, it wasn't until near the end of the movie when Aubrey & Maturin were walking on deck next to each other that I noticed that Paul Bettany is almost a foot taller than Russell Crowe (stilts for Crowe were in order for that shot).
It's not a word-for-word rendering of the novel onto film by any stretch of the imagination (nor should it have been) but it absolutely captures the spirit of the books and conveys life aboard the Surprise brilliantly. The detail is breath-taking from the ship itself to the behaviour of the crew and on to the wonderful storm and battle action scenes.
To give you an idea of just how pedantic I was being, I was absolutley delighted to see Maturin - like the good Catholic that he is - stopping short of the line "For thine is the kingdom..." during the Lord's Prayer near the end of the film (yes, I know it's sad to actually expend mental energy on such minutiae but, clearly, someone else did too).
My only disappointment was that no allusions were made to Maturin's secret life as an intelligence agent but I guess there's a limit to how much character exposition one can expect in, what I hope, is the first in a series of films. However, other aspects of his character - as Aubrey's best friend, as a great physician and as a fanatical naturalist - are depicted to great effect and humour.
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Odysseas on 1 Sep 2006
Format: DVD
Like all O'Brian fans I was eager for this film to appear at the cinema, but was half expecting to be disappointed, as so easily happens when books are adapted for the screen. But I need not have worried. Every care has been taken to keep to the spirit of the books, although not the letter, and the attention to detail is astonishing.

The story itself is very simple. Jack Aubrey's ship Surprise is attacked by a much more powerful ship - the French privateer Acheron - in fog off the coast of Brazil. The ship's company manages to rescue the ship by towing her deeper into the fog, and the rest of the film involves the Surprise chasing the Acheron round the Horn to get her revenge. So, very much a "blokish" film, with no romantic interest (in fact the only time women appear is when some Brazilian boats pull out to trade with the ship, and even then they don't speak). This won't be to everybody's taste, and you will probably get the most out of it if you love the sea and sailing ships.

Put so baldly, the film doesn't seem to have much to recommend it, but its success resides in four things. Firstly the social relations on board ship, especially the friendship between Captain Aubrey and the ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin, which is as central here as it is in the books. Secondly, fine acting by the whole cast. Thirdly the astounding attention to detail. And fourthly the delight in discovering natural wonders.

And for O'Brian devotees, how does it stack up? Well, the story is very much a pick and mix of scenes and events from books throughout the series. The novel The Far Side of the World involves a chase with a US Navy ship.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Gavin Wilson on 12 April 2004
Format: DVD
Warning! Every time you want to watch this DVD again, you'll have to waste 10 minutes of your life going through the mandatory trailers before you come to the main menu. This is marketing gone mad. The films previewed look to be mostly tat. One certainly confirms the Dennis Pennis observation that Steve Martin is no longer funny. But what really bugs me is that MASTER AND COMMANDER is a class film. To force viewers to sit through these rubbishy previews is a terrible miscalculation by the advertising folks.
But get past that and you have a wonderful movie before you. Where SAVING PRIVATE RYAN gave you an idea of what it was really like being the target of German machine guns, MASTER AND COMMANDER gives you the feel of cannonballs coming straight at you through the woodwork. (You really should play this on a 5.1 system with sub-woofer, by the way.) For those of you who worried that seafaring could be a tad boring, Peter Weir thankfully abbreviates the waiting-for-wind phases in between the ER-like episodes of makeshift amputations and surgery.
Paul Bettany, who first came to our notice as a slightly weird Geoff Chaucer in the altogether weird KNIGHT'S TALE, just keeps getting better and better. Russell Crowe is also excellent as the superhero commander whose only flaw is that he is too ambitious.
Coming at this from an utterly non-aquatic background, one gets the impression that the nautical detail in this movie is as accurate as it possibly can be. Weir, working from Patrick O'Brian's novels, gives you great confidence that this is exactly how it was in Napoleonic times. My only concern is how many more episodes Weir could make in this series!
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