In 1805, Captain Jack Aubrey (played by Russell Crowe) is in command of the British frigate, HMS Surprise, as they participate in the war between England and Napoleon’s forces in France. The Surprise is ordered to sail to the Pacific to defend the British position there and to intercept any ships from the French Fleet that may set a course that way. Captain Aubrey is a long experienced seaman and an intrepid adventurer, who never shies away from a challenge. As they near the South Seas, Aubrey and his crew engage with a french vessel,The Acheron, which quickly escalates into a firey battle – and Aubrey quickly learns The Acheron is much faster and larger than the Surprise, which presents him with a delicious but dangerous challenge. He relentlessly pursues The Acheron and his seemingly futile actions are baulked at by the ship’s other officers, primarily Dr Stephen Maturin (by Paul Bettany) the ship’s Surgeon and Botanist. Although he is a friend and trusted advisor to Aubrey, Maturin is never slow to remind him of his single-mindedness in this matter. As the drama unfolds across the waves, a series of incidents virtually leaves the Surprise in the hands of fate as Aubrey tries his utmost to find a way to fulfil his orders.
This is a great adventure story – I loved it. The resonant tones of Russell Crowe are perfect for the intrepid Captain Jack Aubrey and he inhabits this role perfectly. Dr Maturin is well cast – Paul Bettany brings such soul and passion to the scientist that the audience feels real empathy for him – it’s very well done. The production is great, costumes marvellous and the whole thing is just a jolly good “Boys Own” adventure, very enjoyable. You can almost feel cool sea air hit your face and taste the salty residue as you watch. I had hoped for more as the novels by Patrick O’Brian are in a serial. However, this has not yet eventuated unfortunately. The musical score is wonderful and it perfectly matches the emotion and drama of the movie. In the 2004 Academy Awards (Oscar) presentation, the movie won the awards for Best Cinematography and for Best Sound Editing. Well done, Peter Weir … can we have some more now please?
Made in 2003. Directed by Peter Weir