Monday, October 18, 2010

History in Film: Master and Command (2003)

Set in nineteenth-century Europe, during the Napoleonic Wars, Master and Command almost entirely takes place on board the ship, HMS Surprise. The story focuses in on two friends, Captain Jack Aubrey and the ships surgeon Stephen Maturin, whose opposing viewpoints on war and life allow for a fascinating juxtaposition. The driving force of the plot is the pursuit of a French privateer Acheron.

The director Peter Weir does a masterful job at paying strict attention to the details of what life was like at sea in the nineteenth-century. A vast majority of the production actually took place at sea on a replica nineteenth century ship which they later named the HMS Surprise in honor of the filming of this movie. I was very big fan of this movie. The story was well put together and truly captivates your attention from beginning to end. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone you enjoys a solid action film and especially for those that like a period piece. I felt that the portrayal of a life at sea during the Napoleonic Wars was spot on. They stayed true to language and form from beginning to end and allowed for the story itself to guide the movie and your imagination and not any special effects or dramatic licensure.

I was speaking with a friend of mine recently who mentioned reading the first few books of this series written by Patrick O'Brian. He stated that by far the books are better and dive deeper into a telling story about the two main characters and their involvement during the Napoleonic Wars fighting for the British Navy. My goal will be after reading the couple books I am currently involved with to pick up the first book in the series and find out what I am truly missing.

Entertainment Rating: 4 out of 5
Historical Value: 3 out of 5 (being historical fiction I'm basing this solely on their portrayal of the time period)

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