Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
4.11

Awesome45.86%
Worth A Look: 34.81%
Just Average: 8.29%
Pretty Crappy: 6.63%
Sucks: 4.42%

9 reviews, 127 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Fortress, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

MFA by Jay Seaver

You Only Live Once by Jay Seaver

November (2017) by Jay Seaver

Friendly Beast by Jay Seaver

Foreigner, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

Tom of Finland by Rob Gonsalves

Happy Death Day by Jay Seaver

78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene by Jay Seaver

Death Note: Light Up the New World by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"Yo Ho, Yawn Ho-Hum"
2 stars

I’m sure that Master & Commander represents a rather accurate depiction of what its like to be floating at sea for months at a time. At war, away from your family, torn between battle and boredom, any majesty that the seas hold in your memories can’t possibly live up to another day of masting and waiting. The same holds true in the movies, a medium that can advocate to an audience the pleasures and downfalls of any profession or situation when done right. I’m sure somewhere out there an interesting story about an accountant exists, but what happens if nothing much occurs in the eight months before tax season?

Peter Weir’s new seafaring epic is based on the first and tenth novels (at least, in title) in a series by Patrick O’Brian. Set during the Napoleonic wars in 1805, we open on the H.M.S. Surprise who are about to have one sprung on them by the French ship, Alcheron. Capt. Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) is already well past his call back to port and will further the journey in his attempts to destroy the Alcheron or take it as his prize. “This is the second time he’s done this to me. There will not be a third.”

But there will be a third and we will wait about 105 minutes to get to it. In that downtime, we stay aboard the Surprise and will get to experience Aubrey’s interaction with his crew. His best friend on board is the ship’s doctor, Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany), who is hinted to have some experience in the spy game and suggests the possibility of an informant cluing the Alcheron, but like many elements is a pick-your-ear-and-you’ll-miss-it point that is quickly forgotten. Maturin becomes Aubrey’s voice of reason at times, urging him to reconsider his White Whale obsession against the expense of the men.

The rest is a hodgepodge of not clichés, but a collection of interchangeable faces that only give us passing thoughts to their character and call-to-duty. There’s a mutton-chopped old cod who is intelligible about 50% of the time. One officer whose most defining characteristic is his facial scar and another with an all-too-shy attitude towards his shipmates show up to look concerned when called upon. The film’s most interesting character may just be the young boy (one of many in service) who early on has his broken arm amputated and through the course of the film, has the ear of both Aubrey and Maturin before becoming somewhat of a leader himself. Why couldn’t we see a film about this kid?

Following a Chicago screening of the film, Russell Crowe was in attendance to do a rather lengthy Q&A. During it, he articulated much of Aubrey’s background that he picked up from his few encounters with the O’Brian novels. There’s a whole history about his family and his relationship with several of the crew members that was quite fascinating. Unfortunately it’s nowhere to be found in the film.

I’m not naïve to think it’s possible to cram in every scrap of biographical info in a 20-book series. Most filmmakers struggle with a single edition. But Weir and John Collee’s adaptation doesn’t do much justice to Aubrey beyond the traits of a leader we’ve seen from countless war films to Star Trek. His obsession with the defeat of the French ship isn’t much more than a passing thought that goes away the minute Maturin is injured in a freak accident. Aubrey has one crewman flogged for disrespecting an officer but does nothing to rectify the man who recklessly shoots his friend trying to nail a seagull. Even his drunken enthusiasm during every dinner is dismissed as more comic relief than an insight either to his popularity with his men or a symptom of his off-balanced mania with his enemy. For a better take on man’s obsession vs. nature, check out Weir’s overlooked 1986 effort, The Mosquito Coast, with Harrison Ford.

Peril on the open waters goes with the territory and when the crew isn’t singing songs from Jaws, they suggest curses and even hint at mutiny. Try to get used to hints devoid of follow-ups pretty early on. What is troubling about the ship’s experiences is not their lack of engagement with the enemy but just how unengaging their adventure is to the audience. A lack of cannon-blazing action does not concern me (it opens and closes with a battle and in-between there’s a big storm) but we never once get the true feeling of the toll such a journey takes on a crew. The film offers cause-and-effects without making it seem all that treacherous or laborious. It’s really hot, so they pray and get rain. It’s snowing, so they head for the Galapagos. A friend gets hurt and all of a sudden the French don’t seem as important.

This is hardly Bligh, Nemo or even Henrich Lehmann-Willenbrock/Das Boot territory here. Hell, Capt. Jack Sparrow was a richer character even before Johnny Depp got to him. It gets pretty frustrating that we can see Aubrey’s offensive strategy coming before even he does. Why else would such attention be paid over-and-over to that chameleonic bug? Cut him some slack though for not realizing yet that one of the keys to French survival throughout history would be playing dead. Technically the film is impressive looking and the battles are mounted nicely, but it’s an overly flat picture with neither the excitement, peril or conflict we expect when boarding such a big ship.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8323&reviewer=198
originally posted: 11/14/03 01:00:19
[printer] printer-friendly format  
This film is available for download or online viewing at CinemaNow.com For more in the CinemaNow.com series, click here.

User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell good needs 2 be shorter tho 4 stars
5/01/14 Qqypfvih The prices with the pills in these and then back once more as about all of pounds by curbin 3 stars
9/19/10 Jan Patterson I fell in love with the Sea and the ship. Direction, acting, sound, camera- all A+ 5 stars
6/24/09 Dan One of the best movies I've ever seen. If you enjoy history, this film is for you . 5 stars
1/09/09 Anonymous. i don't usually watch this sort of thing, but i actually enjoyed this. 4 stars
12/01/08 Chris Stunningly well-made modern classic, gripping intellectual drama 5 stars
11/02/08 Shaun Wallner Well made. 5 stars
9/25/08 Annie G My guys love this film, but I’ve never managed to stay awake through it. 3 stars
5/21/08 PAUL SHORTT THIS EPIC ADVENTURE STEERS A TRUE COURSE THROUGH STORM AND SACRIFICE AND ARRIVES TRIUMPHANT 5 stars
11/20/07 G. Webster loved it! visually beautiful.great acting by russell crowe 5 stars
9/24/07 Joe Kacmarynski One of the BEST films I have ever seen. A real Swashbuckler, but yet poignant. 5 stars
7/07/07 crombie excellent-to those with a brain, not a joystick 5 stars
4/21/07 Tarik WOUNDERFUL FILM , Best scene is the scene with the fog when the acheron attacked the Surpri 5 stars
3/10/07 Roy F. Moore Special effects and music made this film soar...or sail, as the case may be. 5 stars
1/05/07 Watch This Movie! possibly one of the greatest depictions of life on a ship of war ever. 5 stars
1/01/07 MO very gripping and exciting. good characters mostly. 5 stars
9/27/06 BadBoy Fantastic scenery and massive sets,a lot of wrk has gone into this film.Russle Crow ws GR8! 5 stars
9/12/06 Bitchflaps Exciting, but dumb. Would have benefitted from the omission of its talkier segments. 4 stars
8/21/06 jeanne You've got to love a man who can perform abdominal surgery on himself! Bravo! 5 stars
6/24/06 MP Bartley Terrific attention to detail, great characters, super action. Weir does it again 5 stars
6/10/06 Dan One of the best movies my eyes have ever had the good graces of grazing. 5 stars
5/20/06 Kcaj ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
5/03/06 R.W.Welch Runs on a bit but well captures the era of wooden ships and iron men. 4 stars
2/25/06 Quigley the movie is a bore most of the time, with really choppy confused action. russell was great 2 stars
1/07/06 gerry dunne best movie of this decade so far (jan 20060 5 stars
11/25/05 Joe Z Its not just an adventure film for adults its incredible for everyone my second favorite mo 5 stars
11/20/05 tatum The best seafaring movie ever 5 stars
11/10/05 Bob Paddington 4 stars
11/05/05 Ken Schroeder It's a slice of life on the salty seas; it's all about the journey. 2 stars
9/29/05 Jessica An AMAZING Movie......I Love Watching It! 5 stars
9/18/05 Jonathon Holmes zzzzzzzzz 2 stars
8/18/05 ES lesser of two weevils = priceless 3 stars
6/17/05 Hasanin Abdelsamad an excellent film,i almost lived among the details 5 stars
5/23/05 Nathan Westfall one of the greatest movies I have ever seen 5 stars
5/06/05 smitty A truly breathtaking film, but bloody beastly trying to decipher what the hell's being said 4 stars
4/24/05 Quigley this awful movie screams "STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE!" Even Russsell Crowe can't save this oyster 1 stars
4/03/05 Ric A thrilling journey, this is a sweeping adventure that matches the best of naval cinema. 5 stars
2/16/05 kathleen4691 Good film, but don't expect the book. 4 stars
1/28/05 Don GREAT! 5 stars
1/21/05 Tjalda L. Schiel Terrific rendition of O'Brien's work. 5 stars
11/16/04 Danish Cookie Two thumbs way down. Crowe worst movie 1 stars
11/11/04 anti - russell crowe this movie should be banned!!! It gave me a panic attack from the gory scenes! terrible! 1 stars
10/31/04 Charles S. Lewis by far..and outstanding film! When does the adventure continue? 5 stars
10/12/04 Marilee An absolutely splendid film. I was pulled into the world of the sailors and swept along. 5 stars
9/11/04 Dan Wtf? Pwnt. 5 stars
8/13/04 Daveman Terrific fun. Paul Bettany is outstanding, Crowe is pretty damn great too. 4 stars
8/08/04 Ron Good but the novels by Patrick O'Brian are even better. 4 stars
7/30/04 DJ Wtf? Pwnt. 5 stars
7/29/04 Phil boorrriiiiinnnngg!!!!!!! too long, not enough action.....*sigh* 2 stars
7/20/04 Harry J Pretty good. Seeing it once is enough though. 4 stars
7/19/04 Stephanie I loved this movie more than life itself. James D'arcy was fabulous! 5 stars
7/12/04 Dan I'm a 16 year old kid, and let me tell you. This movie rocks. 5 stars
6/30/04 Mikey Crunt But the books had gay sex scenes. Where were they?? 3 stars
6/22/04 Phil M. Aficionado Well crafted, acted, and filmed. Engaging character (Crowe). Needs subtitles for accents. 4 stars
6/20/04 Jim Pretty good sea battles and performances, like "Star Trek" on the ocean. 4 stars
6/18/04 Denise Duspiva good but i would have liked a little more story 4 stars
6/07/04 Ron Miller Good.... but Best movie nominee... don't think so! 3 stars
6/06/04 Caroline LOVED the music, scenery, and acting- will definitely buy DVD 5 stars
6/04/04 Gregmond Liked it :) 5 stars
6/02/04 Littlepurch Kid whose arm was amputated is my gran's, sister-in law's, friend's grandson! I'm so proud! 5 stars
5/31/04 Nobody Great with a capital G!!! 5 stars
5/30/04 Frazier Worth a look, a one time see, but surprisingly boring. 4 stars
5/28/04 Irene fantastic and wonderfully historical 5 stars
4/28/04 Taylor Fladgate Grandiose scenery, thin plot & script. 3 stars
4/24/04 Shams Huque Good looking film - overrated though. 4 stars
4/19/04 ALI HBOUS the cinematography is a work of art 4 stars
4/17/04 Albert H. Taylor Jr. I've read the book and I like the movie. 4 stars
3/08/04 holly awesome! 5 stars
3/06/04 Goofy Maxwell Refreshing adventure, driven more by curiosity than character. 4 stars
2/09/04 Jenny Tullwartz Another super-hyped "What's all the fuss about" film. Galápagos scenes only intresting part 3 stars
2/02/04 Alexia Katz Thin on plot, yet so compelling that it is impossible to look away 5 stars
1/19/04 Suzi Mitchell loved every minute 5 stars
1/10/04 Angela The film's exciting indeed, but not deep enough...another typical hollywood piece?! 3 stars
1/05/04 Chris Alittle too long and not enough plotlines but still very good. Crowe is oscar worthy. 4 stars
1/02/04 Tony Mazzeo Read the books Movie works 4 stars
1/01/04 OnlyChild Storm scenes were amazing, other than that, it was bordering on boring 3 stars
12/30/03 John Bale Crowe is no Laughton, but gritty creation of 19th c. Naval life is excellent 5 stars
12/28/03 Michael Strauss Re: "Master and Commander/ The Far Side of the World" I cannot take it any longer. How can 1 stars
12/26/03 Elizabeth Loved it! History on the high seas. 5 stars
12/26/03 Jon Fine except the plot was terrible. I found myself not caring about the characters. 3 stars
12/25/03 PATRICK Very realistic battles, good story, good soundtrack 5 stars
12/19/03 Martha Cast A fine rendition of some excellent books, although they put too many of them in one movie 5 stars
12/18/03 Zanthan A movie about men taking action and making their own destiny, not just fulfilling one. 5 stars
12/18/03 alien assassin Grow up and get a life, Mike. This is one of the BEST films of 2003 !!!! 5 stars
12/11/03 Mike This film was boring and awful in every respect 1 stars
12/10/03 ira crowe undoubtedly, an oscar contender 5 stars
12/05/03 Helen Bradley great photography, poor acting/script 2 stars
12/04/03 katsat Well-made, lotsa action but character development was sacrificed. Not my cuppa tea. 3 stars
12/04/03 Terry Stewart One of the best this year 5 stars
12/03/03 CK Better sea battle sequence than Pirates of the Car..whatever 5 stars
12/03/03 Koitus "Okay." Pity the woman in my row .. she was "tappity, tappity" at "those" two scenes! ;-) 3 stars
12/01/03 moira I thought it was very enjoyable! 4 stars
12/01/03 Dan the Man Really great sea adventure 5 stars
11/30/03 KingNeutron Deserves better reviews. Some grim scenes, but enjoyable anyway. 5 stars
11/29/03 john a sensational adventure movie - 5 stars
11/26/03 Lord Chu Love it. 5 stars
11/25/03 Gi Gi the amputation scene was awesome 5 stars
11/24/03 nancy I loved it! Plenty of character development plus action. 5 stars
11/22/03 Mary I saw 3 awesome seconds, some really fake scenes, the rest was average.. 4 stars
11/21/03 Walton This is a complete piece of trash. 1 stars
11/21/03 Fitz This movie expects more out o f the viewer, then most movies. Enjoyable! 4 stars
11/20/03 Artist Freak Good solid high seas adventure. Not great art, but good fun. 4 stars
11/20/03 homer simpson Great battle scenes, other wise it sucked 3 stars
11/20/03 horndog huh? oh I just woke up after my nap during this turd! 1 stars
11/20/03 Andrew The name is enough - I refuse to pay money to see this turd baby! 5 stars
11/19/03 Brian Lutz Most overrated film of 2003...or ever 2 stars
11/19/03 Jack Bourbon A classic a la Shawshank. Not GREAT filmmaking, but solid and entertaining for sure 4 stars
11/19/03 Josh Standlee It was okay, but not Oscar worthy. 3 stars
11/18/03 john excellent , fun, sound fine 5 stars
11/18/03 Johnny's Been Rotten I saw it. I loved it. 5 stars
11/18/03 Buffalo Mike Very good, excellent cinimatography. However, will dissapoint video game freaks and cats. 5 stars
11/18/03 Joe Entertaining, but felt like a mishmash of highlights of incidents in the books. 3 stars
11/17/03 gioconda alberi aw c'mon guys this is pretty great compared to the malarkey that's been released this year 4 stars
11/17/03 Alonzo P. Tucker i thought it was "Masturbating Commander", but nun the less enjoyed it. 5 stars
11/17/03 Elizaveta lots of fun! strong cast, plain good entertainment 5 stars
11/16/03 Lord Jiggy Lacked something...but still fairly compelling 4 stars
11/16/03 paganchyk High action and subtle character interplay - gorgeous 5 stars
11/16/03 Margaret Zumas Naval history with heart 4 stars
11/16/03 Bitty Art film meets documentary 4 stars
11/16/03 Ryan Beautiful, sometimes exciting, nice detail... 4 stars
11/16/03 malcolm a guy movie in the caliber of 'Shane' 5 stars
11/15/03 Aaron Shore Just like being there in 1805 4 stars
11/15/03 Cameron Slick An extremely realistic, high seas adventure. 4 stars
11/15/03 Rikyrah Snow I don't usually watch Russell Crow movies. But, I LOVED this one. 5 stars
11/14/03 RLBucko very solid but for an O'Brien reader the plot is drawn from several books - causing literar 4 stars
11/14/03 Farker it's not a "massive galleon", Scott!!! 5 stars
11/14/03 Zengator very true to the books = great action + characters 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  14-Nov-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Apr-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  04-Dec-2003


Directed by
  Peter Weir

Written by
  Peter Weir
  John Collee

Cast
  Russell Crowe
  Paul Bettany
  Billy Boyd
  James d'Arcy
  Lee Ingleby
  George Innes



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast