Adapted from two of the acclaimed seafaring novels from Patrick O’Brian, Peter Weir’s swashbuckling blockbuster epic has been receiving its due resurgence in recent years, having underperformed at the box office upon initial release but rightfully heralded now as a behemoth historical adventure with plenty of action and an excruciating eye for period detail. Even as CGI was becoming the mainstay of all big-budget Hollywood features, Weir goes all in on practicality, opting not just to shoot with full-scale galleons circa the Napoleonic era, but accurately evokes the minutia and lifestyle of sailors at sea, with all the naval jargon and practice that comes with that. With such a specific attention to recreation and scale, one could imagine audiences staying away back in 2003, but those who have sat with the film know its rich characters and enthralling action pull you into stratosphere with relative ease, allowing for an ample experience of soaking in the setting of the story and its majestic appeal. From the creaky deck of the awe-inspiring vessel to the Eden-like haven of the Galapagos islands, Master and Commander truly transports you to another world. Like any good epic, Weir masterfully balances the scope of the narrative with the intimacy of his characters, making for the perfect sea-faring adventure unduly overlooked in its time.
0:00 Malcolm & Marie
9:30 David’s Documentary Discourse: Hitler, a Career (1977)
22:30 Adventures with Spielberg — The Terminal (2004)
28:14: Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World