• Publication date: December 11, 2009

Fighting Against All Odds & Determined To Win Outnumbered & Underpowered They Must Battle For Their Country

Peter Weir, director of acclaimed films such as �Dead Poets Society� (1989) and �The Truman Show� (1998) once again exemplifies his skill in �Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World� (2003), starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. The film is an adaptation of author Patrick O�Brian�s three novels in the Aubrey�Maturin series of books.

Peter Weir, director of acclaimed films such as �Dead Poets Society� (1989) and �The Truman Show� (1998) once again exemplifies his skill in �Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World� (2003), starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. The film is an adaptation of author Patrick O�Brian�s three novels in the Aubrey�Maturin series of books.

Crowe portrays Captain Jack Aubrey who mans a 17th century British ship named Surprise. Viewers may recognize Crowe from pictures such as �Gladiator� (2000) and �A Beautiful Mind� (2001). Complementing the Captain is Dr. Stephen Maturin depicted by Paul Bettany, whose resume also includes �A Beautiful Mind� where he again starred opposite Crowe as John Nash�s invisible companion, Charles Herman.

Though Dr. Maturin and Aubrey are friends, they are also philosophical opponents. While the doctor believes his mission is to further science, Aubrey operates out of patriotic duty, with a hint of vengeance upon his enemies. For example, at one point Maturin is eager to approach an island with untouched, rare, and possibly new organisms. Given the era of the story collecting such specimens is especially important, since the following century would welcome the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin, which rely upon the idea of biological missing links. But rather than fulfill the doctor�s wishes Aubrey opts instead to seize an opportunity for battle, and turns the ship around. Since the captain�s preference for fighting often overpowers Maturin�s scholarly pursuits this creates constant tension on the ship.

The Surprise is being trailed by a more superior French ship named Acheron, manned by none other than soldiers of Napoleon Bonaparte. Fearless of France�s nautical might, the captain dreams of firing upon the ship, destroying it, and seizing its booty. In this quest the crew encounters a number of tight situations, yet with Aubrey�s ingenuity, they generally escape without major harm. However when injuries do fall upon the crew the doctor is quick to assist, even if it means utilizing a coin in open skull surgery, or operating on himself with the use of mirrors.

With so many men on one ship and varying personalities conflict is bound to happen. One crewmember is suspected of being cursed and he is blamed for the men�s misfortunes; he is scorned by many and eventually commits suicide.

Adding to the story is the apprenticeship between the captain and a 13-year-old boy, who models himself after Aubrey and hopes to achieve the same status in time. In fact, during one critical mission the boy is put in full charge of the ship and performs excellently.

The film�s special effects and visuals are stunning. It was shot on the same set as 1997�s �Titanic.� With one of the largest budgets in the history of Hollywood ($150 million to be precise), �Master and Commander� delivers what one would expect from such an investment, plus much more. Audiences agreed and the picture earned a substantial $212 million worldwide and was awarded two Oscars and nominated for eight more.

�Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World� is rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences, related images, and brief language.