Compiled by: Jack Foley
IT MAY have been dubbed Gladiator on the High Seas
as part of the hype ahead of release, but Master & Commander:
The Far Side of the World looks set to become a classic in its
own right, now that it has finally set sail in American cinemas.
Critics across the pond have been queuing up to heap praise upon
the movie, which is based upon Patrick O'Brians classic
novels, and which opens in UK cinemas at the end of this month.
Leading the fanfare is the Chicago Tribune, which hailed
it as probably the best movie of its kind ever made,
while Entertainment Weekly wrote that this apt and
sensitive introduction to O'Brian's ripping maritime tales manages
to make a period-piece saga feel modern - capturing something
timeless in the characters of all men. It awarded it an
The New York Times felt that Master and Commander
hums with humor, passion and life, while its LA counterpart
opined that the film intends to be an intelligent epic,
but it's the epic qualities more than the intelligence that hold
The Dallas Morning News, meanwhile, predicted that Mr
Weir will possibly get his fifth nomination for Oscar gold, but
everybody - from costume designer, Wendy Stites, to Australians,
Iva Davies, Richard Tognetti and Christopher Gordon, who composed
the classic-pop score - deserves three cheers.
Furthering the goodwill was Rolling Stone, which referred
to it as a rousing high-seas adventure that sweeps you into
another world, while the New Times hailed it as Weir's
finest film since the brilliant The Mosquito Coast, adding
that [Paul] Bettany is terrific.
Variety described it as rare proof that a gigantic
production in contemporary Hollywood can possess a distinctive
personality, and noted that Master and Commander:
The Far Side of the World proves as bracing as a stiff wind on
the open sea.
CNN, meanwhile, felt that it is a masterful and
majestic film that leaps off the screen.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, meanwhile, felt that every
frame seems to communicate the grandeur, power and fatal pull
of the sea.
And Hollywood Reporter wrote that it is a constantly
compelling picture that pays as much attention to the quieter
aspects of character motivation as it does to those rousing action
There was the odd negative notice, posted, however, with LA
Weekly noting that while the mechanics of shipboard
life are lovingly elaborated, for an adventure tale there's little
enough action, and Slant Magazine referring to it
as unfortunately dull.
But the general feeling was summed up by FilmCritic.com,
which described it, simply, as extraordinary and award-worthy.