Crashing waves, booming cannons, pony-tails and silly hats
Running Time: 138 minutes
UK Certificate: 12A
Country: United States
Crashing waves, booming cannons, pony-tails and silly hats. Thats whats on the menu in Master and Commander, 2003s sea-faring epic from Truman Show director Peter Weir and theres nobody more suited to being underneath a ponys tail than Russell Crowe. Based on the overwhelmingly popular series of novels by Patrick OBrian, this loud, bustling were-men-and-damn-fine-ones-at-that tale showcases Crowe at his rumbly-voiced best. Hes Captain Jack Aubrey, stubbly-chinned commander of the HMS Surprise, and he likes nothing better than to bark orders at his shipmates, recount endless anecdotes of life on the ocean wave, and toast his own jokes. He couldnt be more of a man if he pulled down his alarmingly tight tights and dangled his danglies over the stern of the ship. This 140-minute beast of a movie takes us back to 1805, where Aubrey and crew are intent on chasing down a bigger, stronger Napoleonic vessel in order to teach those French a lesson. Those aboard rest only to praise their swashbuckling captains capabilities (My God, thats seamanship!), with the one exception of ships doctor Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany), who enjoys a strange, bickering almost flirtatious friendship with this overly-manly leader. Oooh, behave. As an example of how to put realistic battle scenes together, Master and Commander is right up there with Braveheart. Technically this is an awe-inspiring film, that drags the viewer right into the eye of the storm and the heart of the action. Unfortunately, plot-wise its a turgid old tale. Weir spends a lot of time developing his characters, but then gives them very little of interest to actually do. Ive heard this film described as Gladiator on water, but it lacks the engrossing storyline of its Roman counterpart. As a result, I was left largely unengaged and disappointed by its unfulfilled potential.
It's Got: A trip to the Galapagos Islands to examine strange animals like oooh, I dunno. How about a 10-foot tall peccary and a chicken shaped like an apple.
It Needs: A stronger plotline.
Alternatives:Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Big, brash and powerfully performed but it only sporadically holds the interest.