Saw the interminably titled Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World yesterday. Despite the critics’ raves, I found it a rather poorly narrated, strung together mish-mash of events. The characters, while finally nicely drawn are not well differentiated, the focus being merely on two. Not being familiar with the books, I found the film a dark, vertiginous swirl of events and utterly unexplicated stuff, that I suppose I was to "get" by my acquaintance with the books. This presents another problem--while I find the books nicely written I haven't been able to penetrate more than two chapters into any of them, finding the characters and the nature of events quite thoroughly unlikable.
So, why then take a turn at the movie? Husbandly duty. My wife loves the books and adores Russell Crowe. (This created a second problem. Mr. Crowe had so many extreme close-ups in the film that I found myself utterly transfixed by a small bump in his brow just over his nose. When his brow was furrowed I found myself seeking it frantically, as though looking for a landmark.)
Well, just consider this the counterweight to all the acclaim you're likely to read in St. Blog's. My wife said she'll go and see it again. I'll stay at home and watch the A&E Hornblower Series.
Coda: In case it wasn't already clear, my wife advises that those who are fans of the books will really love and enjoy the movie. I wish all those fans the most pleasant of experiences. It is very prettily photographed and directed by one of my very favorite directors Peter (Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Last Wave) Weir.