Directed by: Peter Weir
Premise: An ambitious British navel commander (Russell Crowe) plays cat and mouse with a French warship during the Napoleonic Wars.
What Works: The film is a combination of sailing movies of the 1950s and 60s with the look and sensibilities of a modern action blockbuster. This makes for a very entertaining film. The crew has a lot of reality to them and some of the very young actors give surprisingly strong performances.
What Doesn’t: If the film has something larger to say, it is not very apparent. Crowe and the ship’s surgeon (Paul Bettany) have some very interesting arguments about power and authority but they don’t seem to come to any resolution.
DVD extras: Two versions of the film are available. One is a single disc with no extras. There is a two-disc version available with featurettes, an interactive cannon demonstration, deleted scenes, and a stills gallery.
Bottom Line: Master and Commander is a very well crafted, high seas adventure film. Recommended to fans of Crowe and those who enjoy naval pictures but also to those who are looking for some fun.
Episode: #16 (August 29, 2004)