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

232 customer reviews

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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 (232 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000B4EWVS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,178 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


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.


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 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 100 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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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Odysseas on 1 Sept. 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kona TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Mar. 2005
Format: DVD
This exciting swashbuckling epic takes place aboard the British frigate, HMS Surprise. Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) has orders to destroy, or take as prize, the French warship Acheron, off the coast of Brazil. Most of the film concerns the day to day life aboard ship and we get to know the men very well. The Captain is a warm, intelligent man who enjoys puns and playing the violin as much as he loves the sea. There is the ship's doctor (Paul Bettany) who is the Captain's friend and confidant and Midshipman Blakeney (Max Pirkis), one of many young boys who are learning about the sea and will one day be captains of their own ships. The crew engage the Acheron in battle, and the Captain asks the men to defeat the enemy for England, for home, and for the prize.
This is Russell Crowe's best role to date, and he rates a 10 on the Macho-Meter. He is gallant, brave, handsome, and kind in a very appealing performance. The story is told at a leisurely pace, allowing us to feel the rolling of the ship, the camaraderie of the men, the adventure of it all. The battle scenes are exciting, but not gory. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and recommend it to those who want heroic, sensitive characters that you care about, a literate script, and masterful direction.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Craig HALL OF FAME on 4 May 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Even for Weir, this film is something special. Adapted from Patrick O'Brien's cult series (but with the villains changed from the Americans to the French)it offers a near-perfect combination of thrilling action with deep feeling for the inter-dependence of the men on board the HMS Surprise. Every character, no matter how small, plays his part. This is a world wholly without women, beautiful, maddening, moving - a masterpiece of film.
The oceans are battlefields in which England fights for supremacy. A ship is half-glimpsed in the mist, but the timid young officer on watch doubts his own judgement, and crucial seconds are lost until Captain "Lucky Jack" Aubrey takes command. Russell Crowe has recently fallen out of favour due to bad behaviour in real life, but here he shows what a great acotr he is. One can think of no other who could carry such authority, and even if he is shown doing absurd things like standing heroically on the prow of his ship, his conviction is absolute. Cannon-balls fly, carnage is terrible, and in one oif the film's most distressing scenes, a small cadet's arm has to be severed by Dr. Maturin, Paul Bettany also giving a performance of exquisite humour and brilliance. These three- Captain, cadet and doctor - form a relationship of mutual trust and support that gets tested to its limits as Aubrey pursues the French ship round the storms of Tierra del Fuego, past ice-floes and under burning suns, to the Galapagos Islands. Maturin, a man of science, is fascinated in this pre-Darwinian age by the extraordinary animals he finds ther, but frustrated in his wish to study them by Aubrey's savage desire to hunt down his enemy. Only when Maturin is wounded does he get his wish- and discover a vital secret.
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