Saturday, December 20, 2003

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Peter Weir 2003) - I guess the double title is for somebody thinking, "Well, I've read the first book so there's no reason to see the movie but y'know I haven't gotten to The Far Side of the World so maybe this is worth a look." At any event, it's no surprise that the film watered down the book but it is a surprise that it was to this extent. Admittedly, it's a bit tough to get much of the historical detail into a movie (and to be honest much of the detail in the novels is just decorative anyway) but the film ends up as merely a decent action film, not even as good as the barely passable Hornblower film with Gregory Peck. The characters jump this way and that, generally the way you'd expect and with the slightest hints of what's in the books. Jack is merely the stern but just commander, worldly but sentimental, while there's nothing left of Stephen's espionage activities. Inexplicably, the film has gathered rave reviews which says more about the quality of America's film critics than the film itself.