Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003, Peter Weir) – rated SIMMERING

The beginning is just brilliant. Day dawns, there’s a terrific CGI cannon shot, and the ships are very impressive. You can feel the historical accuracy.  Russell Crowe is suitably heroic as Captain Jack Aubrey, and Paul Bettany is impressive as Dr Stephen Maturin.  The chemistry between them is palpable (and they were successfully teamed before in A Beautiful Mind (2001, Ron Howard)).

The dialogue is of a high standard.  There’s a joke about “the lesser of 2 ‘weevils’”.  And Aubrey asks: “Do you want to see a guillotine in Piccadilly?” (the American enemy ship of the book has been changed to a French foe).

Weir shows us dramatically that sailing is both science & superstition.  The film is also notable for its mention of the wonderful creature, the phasmid – which disguises itself as a stick.

Very much in the tradition of the great action adventure films of the Golden Years of Hollywood.  You’ll be swept away.