The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War and the soldiers on both sides that fought it, while their wives wait nervously and anxiously at home for the good news or the bad news.
In April 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars, H.M.S. Surprise, a British frigate, is under the command of Captain Jack Aubrey. Aubrey and the Surprise's current orders are to track and capture or destroy a French privateer named Acheron. The Acheron is currently in the Atlantic off South America headed toward the Pacific in order to extend Napoleon's reach of the wars. This task will be a difficult one as Aubrey quickly learns in an initial battle with the Acheron that it is a bigger and faster ship than the Surprise, which puts the Surprise at a disadvantage. Aubrey's single-mindedness in this seemingly impossible pursuit puts him at odds with the Surprise's doctor and naturalist, Stephen Maturin, who is also Aubrey's most trusted advisor on board and closest friend. Facing other internal obstacles which have resulted in what they consider a string of bad luck, Aubrey ultimately uses Maturin's scientific exploits to figure out a way to achieve his and the ship's seemingly impossible goal. Written by
12 of the extras comprising the crew were drafted in from Poland as they had a "lived in" look and quite clearly hadn't been enjoying the life of plenty that most Westerners do. Peter Weir was attracted to this as it would emphasize the privations and hardships of serving on a frigate. See more »
Captain Aubrey rejects sailing into the "rain forest" of Brazil for a new mast (at around 23 mins). The word "rain forest" was brought into English by a literal translation of the German word "regenwald" from a book written in 1898 and translated into English in 1903. See more »
Interestingly, Russell Crowe helps rather than hinders the picture. It's hard to believe that he's such a jerk when out of character, because his acting as the captain is totally believable. His character is great because he's smart, very stern, but very caring of his crew. While they fear him, they look up to and idolize him too.
The presumably accurate historical details really piqued my interest, from the little 12 and 13-year-old kids on the crew (and taking part in battle--viciously!), to the intricate chain of command, to the sheer power of the battle scenes. Splintering wood shrapnel, how often have we seen that in movies? Some of my favorite scenes are when Crowe is playing his cello in his quarters. His roomI never would have guessed a ship like that would have such a nice and fancy décor hidden within it. I mean the captain's room resembled a room out of "Clue" (The Study? The Library? I cannot say ) Anyway, the visual details are great. Lots of money was spent on this movie and it was spent on things that really mattered, like recreating interiors and antiques. The guns and cannons look like artifacts to the modern viewer, but they're also well-kept and shiny.
The dialog is fantastic, too I can't remember exact quotes, but when Crowe gave some of his powerful, rallying speeches to the crew, I was ready to climb the mast myself.
This movie is an incredible addition to the action/adventure/historical genre. It's also very much a man's movie. I'm not sure there's a chick in the whole thing.
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