Reviews: Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World

  By Rider, 30 October 2006; Revised
  Category: Early Modern Era
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Master and Commander Movie Poster
Master and Commander Movie Poster
I can’t say that I am much a specialist in shipping, nor do I know the correct English terms for sails; neither am I specialized in medicines, but I am still trying to write of this movie? Well, I hope that any common person, like me, can understand this text, lathough I am afraid that a specialist would find lots to comment on.

Overall great efforts have been already made by the makers to make the film as authentic as one could expect. The main object has been to appeal to the publicity and that usually demands sacrifices. Still, nothing extremely maior cannot be said about this movie’s accuracy. It has successfully portraited men at sea who deal with fighting for their land. There are many movies that are worse and few are better - after all, great efforts were laid, I have heard of few other producers and directors who have had their actors stay on ships to get a better shot.

The Maps

In many different shots, you can see maps of different areas. I am not entirely suitable of speaking of the coastline of Brazil, although it seems accurate compared to the today ones. The problem is, that it might not have been yet mapped so well for those times (around the Napoleonic Wars). On the other hand, I am very sure that the Pacific coastline of South America wasn’t mapped so well. The maps show that coastline with some 5% of differences compared to the today’s ones.

The Cannoneers

There is a good scene about the Captain having his men try to train for quicker loading and shooting. I would consider such training a little late for an experienced Captain and a vessel that has been in service for a time and has certainly seen some battles. Also, it seems a little weird for me to see firstly men shooting with accuracy equalling almost nothing and later 95% of the shots went for the main mast? It might be of the distance but I am not certain if that is the correct answer.

Whalers or Warriors?

The trick of masking your warship as a whaling ship was commonly used, so I would believe that the French captain should have suspected it. Or perhaps he did and he just pretended to be defeated? Well, in any case, it is certain that the trick was known to Captains of that time. It seems to have succeeded too, the people dressed into simple clothes, lost all connections to discipline and retied the sails and lighted a fire? But it worked, and the battle that followed was better than what you would expect.