Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, or MACTFSOTW, as it prefers to be known, is a swashbuckling adventure on the high seas where the English Navy chase down and capture some Frenchies. A sure fire hit as far as the Bad Dads are concerned.
The movie casts Russell Crowe as our hero, Jack Aubrey. This was just just a few years after Gladiator, so Mr Crowe is still in full on dashing hunk hero mode!
This feels like a throwback to a huge Hollywood production of old and one dad is particular really got a kick out of this one.
We love to hear from our listeners! By which I mean we tolerate it. If it hasn't been completely destroyed yet you can usually find us on twitter @dads_film, on Facebook Bad Dads Film Review, on email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our website baddadsfilm.com.
Until next time, we remain...
Master And Commander
Sidey: Riggs. I have opted for, I guess, a nautical theme for this week,
Reegs: Very much so.
Sidey: and to kick things off from mid Rika, I've gone for Master and Commander Ko, the far side of the world, which is a pretty specific title, and also a real pain in the ass to tweet because it's long. , but
Reegs: It takes up all your 144 characters just explaining what movie you're watching.
Sidey: But we'll find out if that's worthwhile or not. Have you seen this before?
Reegs: Yes. Along this was a 2003 I think, movie, and I am pretty sure I went to the cinema to see this one. Yeah. I remember of having a few beers. I remember that a lot more than I remember the film, which I really enjoyed. I do remember that, but I don't remember a lot about it.
Sidey: I think I rented this on love film, which was
Reegs: Wow. The precursor to Netflix.
Sidey: as far back as Blockbuster, but somewhere in between. And again, remembered really liking it. I just fancied I think basically that this whole week came out of my thinking for top five. So here we are.
Reegs: it's long, isn't it?
Reegs: Well, this was two years after Gladiator,
Sidey: two or three. Yeah, there's there's something in between. Proof of Life and a Beautiful Mind. So, but he's. In good nick in this and incredible hair. I really,
Reegs: That's a good run though, isn't it? Gladiator, a beautiful mind in this. A proof of life I'd never
Sidey: no. Same. And
Reegs: and then gone then, tell us about the hair then. What makes it so magnificent?
Sidey: and probably four or five scenes of him putting it in a ponytail in the movie. So if that's your thing, This is right up your alley. Well, I wanna say that it's his own hair, not a wig as well. I just, I couldn't say if that's a hundred percent accurate or not, but did feel like, well, I wish I could have felt it, it little look to me like it was his own hair, but I could be potentially mistaken.
Who knows? But it starts off with some old school kind of text, like, like in a throwback kind of. Way of introducing the plot to tell us that the frenches have got a ship called the Archer on, it's out on the far side of the world,
and the plucky Brits have been sent out to either capture it, sink it, take it as a prize, whatever, but fucking stop it in its tracks basically. And so,
Reegs: And what year are we inside roughly?
Sidey: Something like,
Reegs: 1800. It's set you in the Napoleonic Wars, isn't it? Side.
Sidey: so. And it's around about the turn of the century. So we're at 1800 bang on, I think. Yeah. Amazing. And much like Gladiator, the initial thrust of the movie were thrown into a battle right at the get-go. So they've been given the order to go and get the archer on, but the archer on catches them snoozing.
And basically nearly fucking destroys Russell Crow's vessel, which is called the HMS Surprise. But it's them who are taken by surprise and they are outgunned outmaneuvered. Very, very fortunate to get away. And they do it by. Basically hightailing it into some fog to take cover, much like the U S S S enterprise did to hide from a Borg cube,
Reegs: Mm. Yeah.
Sidey: so they're in a bit of a quandary and they've got a choice whether to basically sail to. Back to port to get a refit or stay and fight. And Jack Aubrey, which is the captain decides, actually wants to do the refit repairs, whatever they can do out at sea and keep chasing Theron because he thinks he's got the expertise and the, and the know-how to catch it up.
And he really he really believes in his own ship. There's a couple of disparaging remarks made about his about the surprise, and he's very, very forthright in defending her. He 50 takes it very personally. If anyone dares to criticize his boat ship, oh god, they get very annoyed if you call it a boat.
Reegs: Are you gonna get? Really? Yeah. Yeah. There'll be lots of sailors getting annoyed at that.
Sidey: One of the midshipmen, his name is midshipman Holland, he, he was on lookout duty when the, because the over one actually starts off the thing by hiding in the fog and ambushing them. And he's on lookout duty and he kind of sees it through his telescope thing. but he's not completely sure and it sets the tone for him as he's he's not very confident in his in his orders.
And he lacks that kind of decisiveness that you need in these sort of situations. And one of his friends actually raises the alarm and this sort of plays out throughout the film that he's the kind of whipping boy and it, it doesn't end very well for him as we, as we see later on. You do get to learn a bit about the hierarchy or, well, I think you do, because it seemed like there are these midshipmen who were all a hell of a lot younger than the rest of the crew and I don't know much about how it all works, but it seemed to me like these were basically people who were wealthier or were in a position to become officers.
And so they were in some sort of, you know, like fast track to talk because one of them is this young kid and he doesn't look much older than 12 years old. I dunno how old he's supposed to be in the film, but he has his arm very, very seriously damaged in this opening battle and in the end has, has his arm amputated and.
Reegs: Oh, that's by, that's Paul Beany, isn't it? He
Sidey: doctor in it. Yeah.
Sidey: a keen I was gonna say naturist. He's not naked. He like, he's interested in the natural world. Um, Because
Reegs: like a botanist.
Sidey: I was gonna say, well, really, I was gonna say Orna. Ornithologist, is that right? But it's more than just,
Reegs: Well, he likes
Sidey: birds because they see some WANs as well.
So they. As I mentioned, they go off, they do some repairs and they go off to try and find the everyone again, but they get outwitted again and Aubrey's like, he doesn't swear, but he is like he, he gives them some kudos. He's like, you know, well done. You've outsmarted me twice, it fucking won't happen again.
And their whole thing for the second battle it literally say it at the start, is like, we've just gotta survive today. We've just gotta get through it. And someone on the crew, They explain that he's been at his cousin's wedding or something and he is been traveling and he's actually been to the shipyard where they built this French boat and they.
Basically are able to construct a very, very realistic model on the ship. I was calling bullshit on this, to be honest of exactly the, like down to the fucking like complete blueprint detail of this ship and how the hole is gonna be like three foot thick and they're, their cannons won't be able to penetrate the hole and they're just, just,
Reegs: just on the model. Do you remember we watched Back to the Future three and doc had managed to recreate the whole of like, tu Pines Valley or whatever it was called in the, how did this model stack up against Doc's model,
Sidey: Well, docs was an entire town crudely thrown together, but in no time at all, this was an unbelievably detailed almost to scale replica of the French ship. And, and from that, they were able to. understand how many guns it had, how thick its hole was, how fast it could travel. And so the rest, the rest of the crew are thinking, and the officers, I mean, are just thinking, well, you know, we got fucking no chance.
This guy, it is got 44 guns. We, we, you know, we can't even hurt it. What the hell are we doing? I was like, no, no, we'll, we'll fucking, we'll do it. We'll be able. So they sail around the Cape and Paul Bethany's character, he's seeing all these weird and wonderful animals that, you know, if it's like undocumented.
So they see some flightless ants and some , I dunno if they were Kamodo Dragons, but some big ass lizards. He wants to go and investigate all that and he's like, really fucking gets his nose put outta joint when they're like, no, we're on a fucking like military assignment here. We don't just stop to fucking look at some animals.
Reegs: We're not gonna stop and look at the animals.
Sidey: And they They basically get stuck for I dunno if it's explicitly stated in the film, but the, basically the weather just goes completely calm. There's no wind for the sails, so they're just stuck out at sea and morale starts to go pretty peak Tong and that Holland that we mentioned earlier, here's here's.
The, the crew are not big fan of his, I think it's safe to say he's been given some gy and insubordination from some of the guys to the point where one of the, the the crew just, you know, when you walk past someone, you deliberately drop the shoulder and, and bang into someone.
does that German and he just kind of ignores it. But Aubrey see, Fucking screams down the boat, you know, what are you doing? Slam that guy in the irons, you know, you can't have that sort of insubordination on the ship. And he chastises ho for not dealing with it himself cuz he is an officer. And he just doesn't have the balls to, to do it.
And then when he The guy basically gets he gets whipped on the deck in front of everyone. When Ho goes back into the, the d the below deck, he's sort of sarcastically saluted by everyone. And you can see he's, he's very fearful of some sort of retribution and he's having a real hard time to the point where he goes on deck later on and, Speaks to the other midshipman, the one who lost his arm earlier on and just says, you've always been very kind to me.
And he just sort of looks at, goes, yeah. And he grabs a cannonball and jumps overboard and just drowns himself. Yeah. It's pretty, pretty barren.
Sidey: And the crew,
Sidey: yeah, he just see him. You just see him just, just go to the, the murky depth, the old widow maker.
Reegs: The briny Deep
Sidey: the crew had been calling him a Jonas, which is, I think is a nautical term for someone who's bringing bad luck on the crew.
And, and it as, I dunno what the movie was trying to say here, but as soon as he kills himself, basically the wind like, builds up and they're able to get going again. So you're like, oh, that guy literally was like bad luck for the crew. So
he, was right to kill himself.
Reegs: to the seas.
Sidey: weird. But they do get going again.
There's a whole other thing. During the last battle, someone had been knocked overboard and they'd, he was holding some wreckage and was gradually making his way back to the ship, but the wreckage was dragging the boat down. So they've had to make the choice. Aubrey had to make the choice to basically cut him a saunder and and.
And kill him to save the rest of the shit. But they're, they've got this guilt of that hanging over them. And so he's not gonna let these frenches get away. They, they've, they've lost a lot. They need to fucking get these guys. But There's another fly in the ointment because , there's an A, either a seagull or an albatros or something flying around the boat and one of the officers tries to shoot it.
Reegs: It's gotta be an albatross. Sh surely
Sidey: ill advised course of action because all he does do is shoot the ship's doctor.
Reegs: you know, it's, oh, oh dear.
They're the W they're the largest winged.
Sidey: Yeah. Don't they have a wingspan of 16 miles
Reegs: like six meters or something. Ridiculous.
Sidey: Um, And for the rest of the film, I was just wondering when was the retribution gonna be on the guy who fucking shot the ship's doctor? That doesn't seem to be any kind of court martial. I mean, another guy got whipped for banging into someone.
This guy's nearly fucking executed. The, the only guy who can treat you wounded and just seems to be brushed under the carpet. So yeah, he does have a bullet and I think some cloth inside his gut, which there's like the medical assistant guy is just shaking at the prospect of having to operate on him and he's clearly ill-equipped.
So they decide that they can't do battle without a doctor. So they back to the Klaus and basically give up on the archer and they're like, well, it just looks like we're fucked. And Paul Beany actually using a mirror, performs the surgery himself, which is quite a feat.
Reegs: I remember. Yes, I remember that. He operates on it.
Sidey: He's got these
Reegs: a mirror. Yeah.
Sidey: quirky looking glasses that he wears to do all this sort of stuff, and he's, he's like squinting whilst nearly septic, you know, with poisoning trying to operate on himself. But it is a success. He does do it. And so he recuperates.
Reegs: hard. When the when the like, Oh, That's hard when the tranquilizers are kicking in to
Sidey: Well, also if you're looking in a mirror, you are, you're doing it back to front. You're seeing it back to front. Right. So that would be doubly difficult. But yeah, he does do it. So they just stay at the Galapagos and he's allowed to uh, go and do a bit of his. David Abra shit document his drawing birds, I guess he didn't have an iPhone to take photos and they decide that the coron that they saw, that they're pretty sure is gonna be the first.
This is gonna be the first, you know, Documented sighting and they're, they're gonna take it to the Natural History Museum and all that sort of stuff. But it's on the other side of the island. They're like, well, fuck it. You know, we've got out nothing else to do. We'll go over the other side of the island to see what we can see.
But what they do see is those stinking frenchies are just lazing around in a bay on the other side of the island. So they have to hightail it back, tell Aubrey this is what's going down. And they come up with a plan to disguise themselves as whalers. and take all the military insignia down, all the, the, the flags, the, the uniforms, all of that just totally disguise the boat and see if they can get within range to ambush the French, which they do do, but their plan is, they know that their guns aren't gonna be powerful enough to put a dent in the hole.
So they're gonna all.
Reegs: Yeah cuz of, cuz of the scale model that
Sidey: They know
Reegs: So they know that, yeah.
Sidey: 100% accuracy. So the plan is to point the, take the wheels off the cannons and point them upwards so that they can shoot the mask downs to leave them stranded and then get close enough that they're actually able to board. And, you know, once, once you get hand to hand with the French, they're gonna give up.
Reegs: Give up.
Sidey: And it does kind of just play out exactly like that. There's a bit of tension around. Will they be able to be accurate enough to take the men's main sail down? But they do. Russell Crow gives a tremendous, you know, is he like full Maximus, ous, fucking Aurelius, whatever the fuck his name was, arousing speech to get the troops ready for battle.
It's really, really something. His hairs immaculate and they do, they board and. you get one of those battles where it's like the camera is in perpetual motion and you could never quite tell exactly what's going on. And I could never
Reegs: what shaky cam? You don't
Sidey: kind of shake a cam and just super fast edit cam where,
Reegs: Oh, no, that's a no from
Sidey: I mean, it's not as bad as say, like a, a later,
Sidey: or a Jason born, you know, hand to hand combat thing, whether it's.
Reegs: Paul Greengrass. Is it that sort of like where it's just a smear of impressionistic blurs
Sidey: Not so much blurred, but just endless sort of closeups of shouting and swords getting swiped. But you can't really tell who's getting hurt, and I can never really believe when the captain, you know, leads the charge that he survives. I mean, you're running first headfirst into a fucking, you know, War zone.
Surely the people at the front just get fucking hacked to bits in no time until in any case, they take the ship and he eventually makes his way down into the, the guts of the ship into the. What would the, what would the medical area be? Not an operating theor as such, but, you know, but
Reegs: Galley? No,
Sidey: of, I guess a kind of triage area.
And he just says, LA Capita, and he's on the table and they ceremonially pass him the captain's sword to say, well, you know, we surrender, kind of thing. Or you've, you've take, you've, you know, you've won. So they have won and they have captured the prize. And they now have two ships. So he promotes his right hand man to be captain and everyone's fucking really fucking delighted with that.
Or hit, hit horizon, whatever, and he sent off to sail that boat back to some other location. They're gonna go maybe back to the gala, fagus, or just hang around and have a fucking party or whatever.
Reegs: Yeah, well this was all like the 18 hundreds and that was when Darwin went there with the beagle and all that, didn't he? So I dunno whether he makes an appearance,
Sidey: Well, there's a twist in the tail because Paul Beany is like, oh, well, their, their doctor fucking died months ago. Like, I forget, I forget exactly how he knew, but he must have had an email or something about it. But he, he's, he knows that their doctor is not around, and yet their doctor presented. Russell Crow with the sword. So what they've done, they've switched the old doctor for the old captain, so the captain was the doctor. And so they have to sail off again. Back in pursuit of the old Aubrey.
Reegs: The archer on
Sidey: Yeah, the Archer one. Yeah, Obry is the captain. Yeah. The the archer. So, and that's how it ends.
It's just a perpetual, perpetual
Sidey: I may not have done a great job of selling it to you, but I fucking love this film. I thought it was excellent. Really, really good.
Reegs: I, yeah, I don't, I do remember liking it, but I don't remember a lot about, it's Peter
Sidey: It is.
Reegs: Truman's show
Sidey: It was a, it was a labor of love for some dude at the, at the studio who really wanted to have it made.
Reegs: it's based on a series of books I think as well that have been
Sidey: there are 20 books and a 21st unfinished tone. So this was supposed to be a franchise starter, but it only did moderately well,
Reegs: and no sequels.
Sidey: followed it unfortunately. Well, unfortunately, in my opinion, cause I really liked it. Budget for it was 150 mil at the box office. It took 212. But I think when you factor in marketing and all the rest of it it probably barely even barely broke even.
So that's a shame.
Reegs: And is this another one that's set on the water that's just got horrible, like a horror show stories behind it of how difficult it is to film on water or
Sidey: No, I don't think so. I think it was all pretty smooth. They had, there was a crew going round on a replica of, oh, which boat was it?
Reegs: Boaty mc boat face.
Sidey: The HMS Endeavor which was a replica of Captain James Cook's ship. And so they were able to put two cameramen on board that as it, and it was happened to be sailing the route that they were doing in the film, or certainly some of it. So some of the shots that you see in the, like hideously stormy weather, they, that was all genuine.
That wasn't in some tank in a lot, somewhere. That was all like for real. And We had some good storm footage there and we had some good storm footage in our main thing that we watched this week, which we'll get onto on Friday. But I thought all that looked,
Reegs: All it sounds good.
Sidey: Performances are good.
I just like it just had a feel of like a big throwback. Old school Hollywood production of like, you know, just let's just go real big. And Auth, auth had a, a bit of an authenticity to it. Probably. There'll probably be people who are like really into ships and this kind thing, it will say that that's not true.
But for me as a like a bit of a novice and an I, ignor was watching it, it felt like it did to me
Reegs: And it's always good to go for that epic historical type. Thing as well. That's always interesting, isn't
Sidey: Yeah. And I dunno if I mentioned, but Russell Crow's hair, it was really, really 10 outta 10
Sidey: worth watching. I mean,
Reegs: I've, I've been meaning, I've been meaning to watch this for ages. It's do a rewatch. If only there was a movie podcast that I was a part
Sidey: Well, it'd been chosen to watch it
Reegs: watch this.
Sidey: I mean, yeah, it was, it's two hour, two hour plus. So it is it's not insubstantial, but it, it doesn't linger. I really, really thought it was tip top.