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Old 11-20-2003
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Master and Commander-Far Side of the World (Review)

The movie''s plot seemed a bit thin. What I noticed were the extreme contrasts: Smooth sailing in a sun-flecked sea, devolving into a smashing, wet slog around the horn. Dancing and singing on deck, and then the total ferocity of hand to hand combat. The solid walls of the ship suddenly dissapearing after a cannonball hit. The desolate, yet life-filled Galapagos Islands. The delicate balance between life and death, and the ways crew members could bond to, or against, someone.

I was intrigued to hear that the sound effects guys supposedly used the battle sounds recordings without "enhancing" them. The "whomp" of the cannon fire and the whistling cannonballs certainly seemed convincing to me. Many of the details - like setting up the bulkheads for the captain''s cabin as he moves into it after an action - appeared very realistic and "seamanly" . I''d have liked to see more ship handling, but it would have made the movie too long. The passage of time was difficult to gauge as well. The refitting after the first engagement with "Archeron" probably took about two weeks, but the movie makes it look like a quick overnight. The dialogue mentions them being upset at being "another" week becalmed, but it only seems like a single hot afternoon. Perhaps if they''d shown the crew getting haircuts again and again it would have given us a better idea. (I didn''t notice if the crew''s hair did get longer or not -- guess I''ll have to go see it again.)
It does make me want my own frigate, though.
Looks like fun.
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