Sea Legs

Russel Crowe’s new movie is out! “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”. I’ve heard the review on NPR this morning. It sounded very interesting then. Now I just read Anthony Lane’s review on the New Yorker: RULING THE WAVES by ANTHONY LANE, Patrick O’Brian’s epic series comes to the screen. Anthony Lane is ever so entertaining. I was having a ball reading this review. Listen to this:

The year is 1805, the Royal Navy is in its pomp and prime, and what Jack commands is not so much a vessel as a floating town: a kingdom in miniature, governed with sage severity and equipped not merely with cannons and muskets but with everything from violins to goats. “This ship is England,” the Captain enjoins his men as they prepare for conflict, and there is a ringing Shakespearean clarity to his call.

Based on this paragraph alone, I want to see this movie already. What’s more, Paul Bettany, who played Russel Crowe’s imaginary roommate in “A Beautiful Mind” is once again playing Crowe’s best friend in this movie, as the ship’s surgeon–Stephen Maturin.

Another funny narrative by Lane…

So it is at the start, with the Surprise off the coast of Brazil, easing through the kind of sea that would cause Homer to nudge you in the ribs and whisper, “Wine-dark. Told you so.” Through the fog come the French, and battle is shortly joined, with the British ship caught unawares, wounded down to her rudder, and forced to turn tail. After a refit, carried out afloat, the chase is on, and the Surprise must pursue and trap her assailant, the Acheron, which is preying on defenseless whalers and generally being too French. [snip] At which point conspiracy theorists everywhere will splutter into their black coffee, aghast at the thought that Hollywood is doing Washington’s bidding and throwing mud at France.

If all these still can’t convince you to go see it, how about the ending paragraph of Lane’s review?

What the novels leave us with, and what emerges more fitfully from this film, as if in shafts of sunlight, is the growing realization that, although our existence is indisputably safer, softer, cleaner, and more dependable than the lives led by Captain Aubrey and his men, theirs were in some immeasurable way better/richer in possibility, and more regularly entrancing to the eye and spirit alike. As Stephen says of the Iliad, “The book is full of death, but oh so living.” Just so; if you died on board the Surprise, it would not be for want of having lived.

Since so far I haven’t heard one good review, either from movie critics or just people around me who have seen it, on Matrix III; I’d much rather go see this “anti-chick” (since the entire movie has no woman, who is not allowed on Royal navy ships) movie. What does that say about M3? 🙁

2 thoughts on “Sea Legs

  1. This reminds me of a Churchill quote:

    “You say that I am ignoring the time-honored traditions of the Royal Navy? And what might they be? I shall tell you in three words: rum, buggery and the lash! Good morning, sirs!”
    -Winston Churchill addressing the Sea Lords, 1912

    I read this in the Toronto Star’s review:

    “In Master & Commander: The Far Side Of The World, the decks are swabbed not with seawater but rather buckets of boiling testosterone. Peter Weir’s enthralling adaptation of novelist Patrick O’Brian’s 19th-century naval gazers is the most unabashed act of male pride since King Kong renovated Manhattan.”

  2. Haha! Very funny!
    Jennie just made a good point, the fact that this movie has no woman makes it a perfect “chick movie” (well, straight chick at that). 🙂 While “Charles’ Angels”, that, is for men. :p
    We could go and laugh at “buckets of boiling testosterone”. heehee…

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