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Old 3rd Dec 2003, 10:43   #1
Colyngbourne
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Default Master & Commander: the Far Side of the World

Whew! :D Master & Commander was excellent sea-faring stuff! I’ve never read any of the O’Brian books or anything other regarding that period of naval history so going on general knowledge alone, it looked pretty authentic – the close cannonade tearing apart the ship in ways you’ve never previously thought about, the storms, the permanence of scars and blood on uniforms, the cramped conditions. It sounds all rather obvious when I’ve written it down but there was so much attention to detail.

Only a few corny lines here and there and a few unrealistic bits – Aubrey coming into the stern cabin to see Maturin’s cello precariously propped against a chair (having played a cello for some years myself, no-one ever leaves it standing up, and surely onboard it would be tucked away in a cubby until played), Aubrey reading the Lord’s Prayer out of the section of the bible that would have been Revelation, and a bit of shifty finger-work generally playing the cello/violin.

As a story it worked very well and I especially enjoyed the lack of a resolution – what happens to Capt. Pullings on the Acheron etc. Paul Bettany was superb as Maturin – Best Supporting Actor Oscar, I think. Russell Crowe didn’t do a bad job either and was appropriately stocky in his costume. The balance between man of Warfare and man of Intellect was nicely handled and Maturin especially managed to reveal his 'warfare side' at points. The only wincing for me came from seeing Billly Boyd (is it Merry or Pippin, I always forget) as Bonden, looking so LOTR-like with bad teeth, that he might as well give up acting as anyone else.

(Two of us went to see this, the others to see 'Love Actually', and it appears we got the better half of the deal :) )
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Old 3rd Dec 2003, 14:41   #2
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Being a bit blonde, I thought this film was called Sea Biscuit, until my partner enlightened me last night. Apparently that one's about a race horse.
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Old 3rd Dec 2003, 14:49   #3
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:wink: Well, there was an instance in the film with a couple of biscuits on a plate; and some early C19th cheese toasties.
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Old 4th Dec 2003, 10:19   #4
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I saw this at the weekend too -and loved every minute of it :D :D

Thankyou so much for telling me where I recognised Bonden from! I have been meaning to hit IMDB as there were so many people I half recognised (took me a while to realise that Paul Bettany was Chaucer in 'A Knight's Tale')

As to the lack of conclusion - there are many many books in this series (my dad was a fan - and I think I might give them a go myself) and I hope that this will mean many many more films in the series <fingers crossed>

I am now threatening to take my mum to see it as it is such a good film

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Old 4th Dec 2003, 10:36   #5
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I think Sea Biscuit is the game the cabin boys play.
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Old 4th Dec 2003, 13:06   #6
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:) Yes, there was not a single hint of cross-cabin fraternisation in the film as there apparently is in the books.

And yes, isn't Paul Bettany clever for disguising himself so well (though the nekkid Chaucer compereing [sic] in A Knight's Tale was one of the best things about that film)?
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Old 4th Dec 2003, 14:40   #7
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The trailers hadn't actually inspired me to watch the film, and I'm afraid I hadn't heard of the books, but I guess you lot know better and I will try to fit it into my busy December schedule.
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Old 19th Apr 2004, 13:40   #8
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I finally got to see this on DVD over Easter, and as I suspected, it was never going to live up to the esteem in which I hold O'Brian's books. Perhaps the comparison is unfair, but the film for me lacked the sense of time and place that the books have in abundance. Equally, Crowe didn't convince as Aubrey, and Bettany was far too young to be Maturin, although I enjoyed his performance.

Perhaps it was that the film felt like a montage of the books, and I prefer the rather more drawn=out pleasures that they have to offer.
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Old 21st Apr 2004, 10:12   #9
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I have just sent off for the 2 books in question (The Far Side of the World and Master and Commander) - I will post a review when I have finally read them!

Am seriously considering getting the DVD ... I did like the film so much ....

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Old 21st Apr 2004, 13:44   #10
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I think you're making a mistake there. I read them all in the wrong order in 1997, and had to read them all again in the right order in 2001 to straighten my brain out.

So, my advice'd be: Start with M & C by all means, but keep back "The Far Side..." until it's in sequence, and do "Post Captain" etc. first.
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