Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
This film captures the magic of Patrick O’Brian’s “Aubreyad” perfectly and beyond that, it is a great historical fiction film that beats out even Gladiator as far as the feeling of immersion. Set aboard the HMS Surprise, a frigate who is in her Prime. The environment, ship, attire, and speech of the time period is recreated in painstaking fashion. From the moment the film opens to the closing scene, you are transferred to the Napoleonic Era.
This story offers rich character development and touches upon many themes in the few hours we get to spend on the deck of the HMS Surprise. The friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin is a great balance of respect, perspective, and common interests, yet is strained when promises made as friends are always “subject to the requirements of the service”. In other words, work before play.
I highly recommend this movie and it will forever be one of my favorites.
[Dinner in the officers’ mess. The captain is inebriated, but asks apparently seriously]
Capt. Jack Aubrey: Do you see those two weevils doctor?
Dr. Stephen Maturin: I do.
Capt. Jack Aubrey: Which would you choose?
Dr. Stephen Maturin: [sighs annoyed] Neither; there is not a scrap a difference between them. They are the same species of Curculio.
Capt. Jack Aubrey: If you had to choose. If you were forced to make a choice. If there was no other response…
Dr. Stephen Maturin: [Exasperated] Well then if you are going to *push* me…
[the doctor studies the weevils briefly]
Dr. Stephen Maturin: …I would choose the right hand weevil; it has… significant advantage in both length and breadth.
[the captain thumps his fist in the table]
Capt. Jack Aubrey: There, I have you! You’re completely dished! Do you not know that in the service…
Capt. Jack Aubrey: …one must always choose the lesser of two weevils.
[the officers burst out in laughter]