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

Russell Crowe , Paul Bettany , Peter Weir    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
Price: 6.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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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 (181 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000B4EWVS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,883 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

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

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
91 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even O'Brian fanatics love it! 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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! 22 Oct 2004
Format:DVD
Being a fan of the Patrick O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin novels, I approached this film with a little caution, as anybody familiar with the books will tell you that the film title is an amalgamation of two seperate books from the series. I am pleased to say that my fears were, for the most part, misplaced. The casting of the two main parts is inspired, both bringing to life there respective characters with a warmth and depth that becomes apparent in the books, but I doubted could be brought to the big screen, with the obvious time constraints allowing only a finite amount of time for "character building".
The attention to detail, the sound and sweeping cinematography are truly breathtaking, whilst the inclusion of several smaller plot lines from various books in the series make even the "quite" times in the film alternatly gripping and, at times, very moving. The exciting scenes of sudden battle, (with the excellent sound effects), rounding cape horn, and long sea chases are tempered by scenes of Nelsonian period surgery, loss of shipmates and the psychological stresses that months at sea could produce.
There are a couple of things that do detract a little (for me). Why was it necessary to amalgamate two fine books into the one movie, when any of the books in the series, given this kind of treatment, would make for a superb film in its own right, and why do the Americans now feel that they have to re-write historical FICTION, as well as FACT. The enemy ship being hunted in the novel The Far Side of The World is an AMERICAN frigate, the NORFOLK, as the action occurs during the war of 1812.
This aside, Master and Commander is an excellent movie, just sit back and allow yourself to be taken back in time!
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film and great value 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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