Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World 2003

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(189) IMDb 7.4/10
Available in HD

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.

Richard Mccabe, Chris Larkin
2 hours 18 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices

Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World

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Product Details

Genres Action & Adventure, Historical
Director Peter Weir
Starring Richard Mccabe, Chris Larkin
Supporting actors Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany
Studio Twentieth Century Fox
BBFC rating Suitable for 12 years and over
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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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53 of 55 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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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By S. Polling on 4 Feb 2004
Format: DVD
I have had several discussions with friends about this film, none of whom seem to be able to agree on whether this is the greatest film of the year, or a collection of boring anecdotes about Lord Nelson to accompany the slowest chase film ever made. I would personally fall somewhere between these two perspectives, but I can see why Master and Commander polarises opinions - it is a very unusual film.
Several reviewers have already outlined the plot of this film in much greater detail than I intend to - a British boat, outgunned by a larger French vessel, is initially defeated and then hunts for the opportunity to gain revenge for king and country. However, the interest in the film is in the details - the relations of the seamen to their captain, the doctor as confidant and even mentor to Crowe. The action is sparse, but dramatic, and there are some memorable performances, particularly from some of the younger members of the cast.
I said that this film was unusual, because despite the large budget and Hollywood backing, I dont think I have ever seen a film like this one. The action is almost a sideshow to the personal relationships that develop, and even plays second fiddle at times to the doctor's love of zoology. The dialogue is unashamedly corny at times (I'm thinking of the Nelson anecdote again) but somehow it seems forgiveable because it is realistic at the same time - what else would you talk about with a man who had served under Nelson?
Overall, the story left me with the same feeling that I have when I have read a good book, rather than watched a Hollywood blockbuster. The pace is measured, even slow at times. It is the kind of film I would recommend to anyone who hasn't seen it, but again I could fully understand why some people would hate it. I will be buying this film, largely on the grounds that I suspect it is a film which will improve with subsequent viewings. And I may even read the book as well.
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