Barnes & Noble - Ed HulseFans of seafaring sagas along the lines of Horatio Hornblower will be duly enchanted by Master and Commander, a rousing adventure in the grand tradition of Hollywood's Golden Age. Australian filmmaker Peter Weir wrote and directed this magnificent adaptation of two of Patrick O'Brian's bestselling novels, set during the Napoleonic period, when Britain still ruled the seas. Charismatic Russell Crowe is perfectly cast as O'Brian's larger-than-life hero, "Lucky Jack" Aubrey, one of Her Majesty's most able sea captains. Spotting the French warship Acheron in the waters near South America, he decides -- against the urging of his close friend, the ship's doctor, Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany) -- to pursue the phantom raider that has been laying waste to British vessels, calculating that the element of surprise will help him offset the Acheron's superior speed and armament. While Weir's adaptation offers its share of thrillingly staged open-seas combat scenes, he unfolds the yarn at a leisurely pace and lavishes a great deal of screen time on the supporting characters, particularly delineating Aubrey's relationship to his loyal crew. O'Brian's characters aren't mythic archetypes -- they're believable, flesh-and-blood entities driven only by their duty to Queen and country. Loyalty, honor, and patriotism aren't often celebrated in contemporary movies, but Master and Commander reminds us that these qualities still fuel entertaining tales. It's a gripping film with just about everything you could want: action, suspense, drama, and even a bit of humor.
Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World
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