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Master And Commander (2003)
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Review Date: November 10, 2003
Director: Peter Weir
Writer: Peter Weir, John Collee
Producers: Peter Weir, Samuel Goldwyn Jr., Duncan Henderson, John Manulis
Actors:
Russell Crowe as Capt. Jack Aubrey
Paul Bettany as Dr. Maturin
Billy Boyd as Barrett Bonden
Plot:
It's 1805 and the British ship "Surprise" is looking for the French ship "Acheron". When they finally meet, the stronger and more modern French ship delivers heavy damage onto the Brits. So what do the English do in return? Well, they keep on truckin' as Captain Lucky Jack pumps his crew up in search of the French ship once again. The audience, on the other hand, falls asleep.
Critique:
Can you say "boooooooooooooooooooring"? Yeah? Well, now repeat it for about two hours and you pretty much get the gist of what I felt like while watching this movie. Yipes! I don't mind uneventful movies as long as they have something interesting to say, but this flick didn't even have that! They should have renamed its already cruddy title to "One Week Aboard a Ship with a Bunch of Boorish Men Who From Time to Time Run into the Enemy and Do Battle, but Mostly...Don't Do Much" Consider the length of the film, which runs over two hours but brings very little to the table. Consider the old-time cheesy dialogue, which on top of being hard to understand at times, was just plain stale ("You have more chances of finding an honest man in Parliament"? Pleaaaaze) Consider the characters, many of whom are interchangeable, other than the two leads and two kids, with folks dying here and there, and me not caring, there and here. And finally...consider the plot, which I could have drawn out for you before even stepping one foot into the theater. Unexpected...it is not. Even Russell Crowe, whose characters usually command any screen, bored me with a decent showing of a dreary captain who ultimately comes up with a strategy of attack from a source so ridiculously stupid, that I can't believe folks actually let that pass through the rewrites. Top that with a dry score, a handful of "battle scenes", the last of which is about unmemorable as my last four dates combined, with choppy editing and little originality, and the film just sits there, staring at you, hoping that you might give a shit about a bunch of guys who slowly float across the ocean, with stops to drink, eat, play violin, eat some more and feature one too many close-ups of one guy's fingers that read "Hold Fast" while ultimately bringing very little of interest or excitement to the forefront.

The film wasn't so bad as it was just a "technically sound" re-creation of days gone by and to credit it for that, would be something, if it was actually created as a documentary, which is what it often felt like. Human drama? I didn't feel it. Exhilarating action? Not here. Well-developed characters? I beg to differ. And if Crowe's uninteresting character wasn't the whole ball of wax, consider Paul Bettany as the doctor/naturalist whose apparent hobby for collecting newfound insects takes over chunks of the film. Is this supposed to engage me? I don't know, maybe this film is just out of my age range, maybe you're supposed to be "into" the whole battleship thing and care to stare at a bunch of smoke and ropes or listen to bellows and grunts for two hours+, but in the world in which I live (and no, I'm not on the Far Side of it-maybe that's the problem!), you actually need to give me a reason to give half a rat's ass about the characters on the screen, or at the very least, toss some memorable action sequences in there, or interesting personalities, etc... Looking back, the film looked pretty, the opening sequence was a jolt, the time period was recreated authentically and even the performances were good enough to consider worthy of praise, but I was looking for depth, something interesting, some reason to keep watching and yeah...an answer to how an 8-year old child can be given command of a ship at the drop of a hat! Needless to say, this film did very little to impress me and instead, provided me plenty of rest, plenty of questions about its actual purpose and plenty of reasons NOT to recommend it to anyone who, like me, isn't interested in spending over two hours with a bunch of half-assed characters traveling through one dull sea adventure (and I use the term "adventure", loosely).
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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10:36PM on 11/27/2007

Master and Commander: Needs To Be Retooled

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
Director: Peter Weir

Plot: Master and Commander follows the tale of Captain Jack Aubry and his crew during the Napoleanic as he sails after an elusive ship, the Acheron, that keeps sneaking up on them and attacking. He is in command of the aptly named HMS Suprise, fighting for the British against the Napoleon led French. The French ship is a new build, faster, stronger, more advanced than the Suprise. For this Aubry has to use his wit
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
Director: Peter Weir

Plot: Master and Commander follows the tale of Captain Jack Aubry and his crew during the Napoleanic as he sails after an elusive ship, the Acheron, that keeps sneaking up on them and attacking. He is in command of the aptly named HMS Suprise, fighting for the British against the Napoleon led French. The French ship is a new build, faster, stronger, more advanced than the Suprise. For this Aubry has to use his wit if he decides to battle it. He self appoints the ship as his target because it is his "duty" to England.

Review: Overall, it is a decent film, but has many issues. Usually, I am all for Crowe, and his performance is there 100% of the way through, yet here I felt he was only trying at certain times, the remainder just acting on autopilot. He is not "terrible", but I didn't feel he was his usual great self.

The other actors in the film were almost just decoration, not doing anything worth mentioning. Some died and I didn't care because I didn't even remember their names, much less feel I had to care. They were still nameless unfamiliar faces by their departure. But the worst of them was the doctor. He was more definitly annoying than empowering to the film. I thought the doctor dragged the film the most, consistantly unhappy with how things work out.
The plot was pretty bad beyond the premise. A captain trailing a more powerful ship sounds great, but the execution was lacking as it was too involved in the nothingness that happened on the ship in between events. And none of it was useful or enlightening. I don't mind slow films, in fact I have many slow moving films I love, but they have substance, meaning, or some bit entertaining value whatsoever, whereas this leaves you craving. I do not wish to spend hours with boring crew as they wait around. The dialogue was for the most part okay when it exists, excluding the doctor's unhappiness, or mindless filling.

Alright, there are some good things to the film, and I do applaud it for these. One thing that particularly tickles my fancy is the score. What a great score! It stuck out! I noticed it for most of the film, and not always having it drowned out by effects or dialogue was a great decision. Also there are some beautiful shots in this film. Weir and his DoP do have some skill, and it shows. Also, the action is top notch sea battles. The best I've seen to date. No issues also with the CGI/Visual Effects, looked spot on. I also read somewhere it was filmed in a 6 acre tank, not at sea. Couldn't tell. Well done.

Replayness is not that great. I might watch it again, but I'm gonna try to avoid it until I forget it......and then maybe keep avoiding it.

In closing, I really wanted to like this film more than it allowed me to do so. I still think that it is better than a lot of what Hollywood churns out, but I think it could have been SO much more.

Why I Saw it?: A few friends recommended it to me.

Acting: 5/10
Plot: 6/10
Dialogue: 4/10
Action: 7/10
Visual Effects/CG: 9/10
Musical Score: 8/10
Direction: 7/10
Replay Value: 2/10
Final Rating (Avg.): 6 (B-)

Recommend?: It's probably worth seeing at some point, but there's so much more out there to put in front of it, and be ready for a long 2 hours.
Your Reply:



11:48AM on 01/19/2006
This movie has great bookends but the reading in between is duller than watching paint dry while doing laundry and babysitting a corpse.

I love epic pirate movies with great acting and adventure. Captain Blood is a great example of a pirate movie where swashbuckling, sword fighting, battles on the high seas, and even a love story make for a great epic adventure that I would love to sit through with a bowl of popcorn. Now, I wouldn't call Master & Commander: etc. etc. a pirate movie, but
This movie has great bookends but the reading in between is duller than watching paint dry while doing laundry and babysitting a corpse.

I love epic pirate movies with great acting and adventure. Captain Blood is a great example of a pirate movie where swashbuckling, sword fighting, battles on the high seas, and even a love story make for a great epic adventure that I would love to sit through with a bowl of popcorn. Now, I wouldn't call Master & Commander: etc. etc. a pirate movie, but this flick could've been a whole lot more interesting if it got rid of 75% of all the crap in the middle. I really couldn't have given a crap about the good doctor and his interest in finding some damn flightless bird on an island. Or the wimp of an officer. Or some damn little boy who had a career as an Errol Flynn impersonator. Get to the damn fighting. And when it did in the end, it was kind of a letdown.

(Oh and by the way, the finale was a rip off of Captain Blood. Practically the same ending.)

It's a damn find piece of cinematic achievement and all, but the story itself is disappointing. Russell Crowe does do a good job as the lead, but the other supporting characters I could've given a crap about. I didn't really buy the tense moments in the captain's and doctor's friendship. And the scenes where the doctor and his people were on the island looking for animals was probably the most boring thing I've ever sat through. Now I'll give the movie a little credit because I watched it on a plane heading for another country. But I saw other movies during similar flights on this trip and had much more fun watching those. You want a good epic swashbuckling adventure flick, watch Captain Blood.
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6:39PM on 08/21/2005

What film were you watching Joblo?

I really don't understand the review for this film! Normally I feel the same, or close enough about a film as Joblo, but in this case I don't think we could be any different!

Its a remarkably enjoyable movie which manages to marry both historical fiction with action on a par with anything modern day whilst making a number of characters interesting and a number of pretty cool asides.

I mean, the whole doctor and naturalism thing - its cool in that he's there working out Evolution before
I really don't understand the review for this film! Normally I feel the same, or close enough about a film as Joblo, but in this case I don't think we could be any different!

Its a remarkably enjoyable movie which manages to marry both historical fiction with action on a par with anything modern day whilst making a number of characters interesting and a number of pretty cool asides.

I mean, the whole doctor and naturalism thing - its cool in that he's there working out Evolution before Darwin makes his trip, but he doesn't get a chance to fully form his theory due to the call of the service etc. - thats why thats cool!

As for the kids etc. odd I agree but maybe there is precedence for that, or maybe it was purely a fictional device which provided more feeling for the characters as they were young? I dunno.

The action scenes were especially cool and as far as my limited knowledge of naval warfare goes, they seemed pretty much how things would have happened. Nice.

Suffice to say I was very impressed; Joblo - maybe you should give it a second chance?
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