Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Master and Commander

2003 - Dir: Peter Weir

Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 31st March, 2007
It’s April, 1805. Pint-sized French fascist Napoleon is "master of Europe", but Britain is still scrapping on the high seas. The ship HMS Surprise is defending the Empire on "the far side of the world", chasing a French frigate along the coast of Brazil. Now watch on....
Russell Crowe, playing sea-dog Captain Jack Aubrey, climbs the rigging of his fighting ship, his eyes gleaming like the fanatic he is. The world of Jack Aubrey has been rendered in vivid historical detail by director Peter Weir, the captain of films as diverse as Gallipoli, Witness, Dead Poets Society and The Truman Show. In adapting two of the twenty novels that Patrick O'Brian wrote about Captain Jack, Weir and co-screenwriter John Collee are faithful down to the splinters in the ship's wood.
· The movie combines two novels - "Master and Commander" and "The Far Side of the World". Both deal with chasing down a privateer, and the movie combines the long chase of the latter with the furious climactic battle of the former.
· Although the book upon which this film is based is set in 1812, the movie is set 7 years earlier. This afforded the writers the chance to make the enemy of the piece not the United States but France, England at the time having declared war against Napoleon. Some new form of political correcteness?!
· The production used two ships. One was a replica of HMS Rose (built in 1970), dressed up to be the HMS Surprise, which could be put to sea within 45 minutes at any time. The other was a replica of the replica, built on a gimbal in the giant tank at the Baja Studios, Mexico. Construction of the replica took approximately three and a half months.
· To create an authentic sense of camaraderie among the cast, they were all housed in special quarters, away from the rest of the crew. Designed like a gentleman's club, there was no TV, and no crew member was allowed in without being invited.

One must always choose the lesser of two weevils

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