Patrick O'Brian fans: Did you like the movie "Master and Commander"?

Why or why not? And do you think they’ll make another? (I hear the first didn’t exactly rule the box office).

I enjoyed the movie very much, having read none of the books before. Since then, I’ve read “HMS Surprise” and also enjoyed it, but can’t say I’m dying to read the rest of the series. It just didn’t do that much for me.

I thought it was quite good both as a movie and as an adaptation. There were a few eye-rolling moments, such as when Maturin nearly comes up with the entire theory of evolution by peering at a few Galapagos iguanas through a telescope, but generally I enjoyed it.

As movie adaptions go it was reasonably good - In understand about the need for simplification involved in that.

Basically folding the Horner, Hollom und Higgins characters into one person was overdoing the simplification IMO. I found it puzzling that contrary to all movie adaption usage the gunner’s wife and her juicy subplot was taken out, not added.

Jack Aubrey’s naivete on non-nautical matters was neglected IMO, and Stephen Maturin was way too good-looking.

Replacing a French foe for the original American one was a bit transparent.

I’m a fan of the books and I loved the movie. It did pretty well in terms of box office–close to $100 million, I think-- but did not make back its total cost of $125 million (again, I’m going by memory).
The studio has the option to make a sequel if they want to, but for the time being, the ship is sitting at the Maritime museum in San Diego. I have a feeling it will be there indefinitely.

For the first, I was glad they at least left in Jack’s tendency toward bad puns and drink, as an always-sober Jack Aubrey is not one I want to get to know. :slight_smile:

For the second, they did monkey around with the timeline when they blended the two books together, so it wasn’t as simple as just replacing an American ship with a French one. The movie was set in 1806, the year of Master and Commander, not 1813(?) like The Far Side of the World. And, of course, England and America weren’t at war in 1806. While a bit of studio pressure may have come into play to make that decision, it was sounder historically to change it to a French ship.

I enjoyed it, but will add that having a Hobbit play the coxswain Bonden, a prize fighter, wasn’t good. :slight_smile:

Agreed, Maturin was too pretty and his massive ignorance of anything that floats was sadly ignored. Best illustrated in the escape from Boston in one of the novels, but also in the one concerning the diving bell:
Aubrey “Port, Stephen, port!”
Maturin “I am looking to my left, am I not?” (he is facing aft)

Big fan of the books, as are my brother and father. I believe my brother enjoyed the movie, as I did. Not sure about Dad – I think he was a bit disappointed, as he’s more of a literalist.

I don’t mind adaptations when moving a book to the screen, for the same reason I don’t mind the differences between radio and print versions: they’re different media.

I was disappointed by Billy Boyd as Bonden – he’s about half the size that Bonden should be, and he looks too young. I would have liked more Preserved Killick. Overall, the movie felt rushed. I would have rather had an adaptation of Master and Commander, but that’s not what we got.

So, net: I liked it for what it was, and didn’t get all bothered over what it was not.

Hehe, you should read the Horatio Hornblower books. Apparantly 90% of the stuff was based on the adventures of a British naval officer who spent most of his time poking about the waters around North America. Forester, realizing that his primary audience was American, had all the historically American opponents replaced with the French and their allies.

As it is, the US Navy only shows up once, in Hornblower and the Hotspur, when Hornblower sees Commodore Preble’s flagship, the USS Constitution, and pauses to think about how Preble will probably see no more sucess at Tripoli than any of his predecessors did. That said, the Constitution does serve as an important device in one of the subplots :slight_smile:

I did like how the ship they were fighting had a French crew, but was of a markedly superior American design puffs out chest :smiley:

Yes, and according to Naval History magazine at the time the movie came out, the studio used a digitized version of the USS Constitution to “portray” the French warship.

From one of the novels, speaking of Surprise “It would never do to take her up agaist the large Americans.”

Surprise was old, and the new American navy was building large ships.

I thought it was a very impressive adaptation, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Both my father and my brother started reading the series after seeing the movie, and they’re both hooked now as well.

I love the books because of the characters and the dry humor (I’m a big Jane Austen fan). My dad, who was in the Navy, loves the books because of the battles and the general nautical-ness. I tend to gloss over the more technical aspects by just saying to myself, “Okay, now they’re making the ship go.”


Whenever the movie is on my Time Warner Cablevision, the onscreen program guide shows it as:

Master and Commander: The Far Side

I always hope that if I watch it, there will be cows and ducks fighting each other instead of the English and French.

[/end hijack]

Well, not really large when compared to the British ships of the line such as HMS Victory, but rather large for frigates. The US Navy was building “Heavy Frigates”, basically two-deck frigates designed to carry 48 guns (the USS Constitution carried as many as 60 of various calibres during the War of 1812) versus the British frigates, which rarely carried more than 32 guns. To make things worse, early engagements showed that the American ships were not only bigger and heavier, but also faster and more agile than their British opponents (it didn’t help that in the early engagements, the British officers didn’t yet know they were at war with the US)

Now, I’m not an expert on military and/or nautical history but I can see where that would be a real drawback…

I was not an OBrian fan before seeing the movie (I had pretty much never heard of him) but really enjoyed the movie. I read one of the books and wasn’t too impressed but I will probably try another couple to really give it a shot. It doesn’t help that at this point in my life I am not a big fan of fiction writing in general.

The relationships of the characters over time is of interet to readers. Jack is a magnificent as a naval commander and a soldier, but totally helpless in business, politics and domestic pursuits. Also of interest are historical events, social as well as naval. You may very well not be interested. :slight_smile:

I had read the entire series before seeing the movie, having caught onto O’Brian after reading the Hornblower books. I really enjoy the interaction between Aubrey and Maturin and the contributions of Killick and Bonden conversationally as well.

I liked the movie though I echo the sentiments of others - Bonden was terribly miscast. I had visions of the guy who plays Chewbacca or something similar in the role (minus most of the body hair, of course). And, given the time constraints, there was no way to get Maturin’s primary work in the story. But the level of detail, Aubrey’s chatter, the adoration the crew had for Maturin, all seemed spot on w the books.

I love the books and enjoyed the movie. For some reason I was far more tolerant of discrepancies in this movie than I was in other literary adaptations I could name (HHGG eg.)

Part of it was the visuals. It was great to see the ship, the Great Cabin, the hammocks, the orlop et al. It’s harder to form a frame of reference with an environment that is totally unfamiliar – How many of us have been on an actual late 18th century British frigate. I think this differs for settings that are entirely imaginary (like Hitchhikers or LOTR). I rather keep them entirely in my imagination. But the Surprise, or at least ships very much like it, actually existed. Having a somewhat accurate visual enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

The casting was pretty good too. Russell Crowe was excellent. Paul Bettany gets a B. Not ugly or crabby enough. Bonden was strikingly miscast, but a very minor character – he didn’t detract from the movie unless you know who Bonden is and are looking for him. The rest of the crew, however, was great. Killick was perfect. Tom Pullings was good. Joe Plaice, Awkward Davies and the Master all meshed well with my imagining of them.

The battle scenes were very striking. They really drove home the chaos, confusion, blood and destruction involved. Not that O’Brian didn’t convey that. Peter Weir just made me understand it on a visceral level.

On the whole, it’s my favorite dramatization of a beloved novel. Makes me wish all 20 could be serialized for the screen. Maybe they could be animated.

I’m one of those who discovered the books after I saw the movie. From that perspective I think the movie did a pretty good job of capturing the spirit of the books.

I enjoyed the way the movie used individual scenes and bits of dialog from several different books. While I was reading the books it was neat to recognize those bits. The “making of” piece on the special edition DVD shows that someone had gone through all the books and used stickies to mark the best bits of Aubrey/Maturin interaction. The DVD also has some nice additional scenes, including vignettes of “shipboard life”.

I thought Russell Crowe was a perfect Aubrey. I know Paul Bettany doesn’t look or sound the way Maturin is described in the books, but I guess because I saw the movie first his appearance is fixed in my mind, and it works for me. It would have been nice if the movie could have shown more of Maturin’s complexity, but that wasn’t the movie they were making.

I had never heard of the books and completely missed the movie on the big screen. I finally caught it on cable and really only watched it because I was bored. I loved it! Went out and bought the dvd right away. Then I found out it was based on books and went out and bought the first one and loved that even if I did find it a bit difficult to read at first due to the language. I have since been buying and reading the rest of the books.

I just finished Desolation Island on Saturday. I love it all! Some of my favorite parts of the books are the interaction between Jack and Stephen. I especially love when Jack sees an opportunity to make a joke or pun but can’t quite pull it off. It’s rare that a book makes me actually laugh out loud but it’s happened several times. I’ve been recommending them to everyone.

I heard a rumor a second movie was being made. I hope it’s true!

Why are they called “dog watches”?