If it weren’t for the alluring native babes who fetch up amidships during a provisions stop in South America for all of about 30 seconds’ worth of screen time, Peter Weir’s new blockbuster Master and Commander would be a mass-market picture with a full bells-and-whistles cast and no women at all.
Russell Crowe‘s man’s-man of a Capt. Jack Aubrey nearly thinks twice about one of them, so we in the audience don’t get the wrong idea about all of this manly camaraderie and the just-friends relentless testosterone sloshing around. But anyone who thinks Hollywood’s sub-rosa gay broadcasting reached its peak in the 50′s with guys named “Rock” needs to take a second look at the title of this movie, and appreciate the scenes in which Aubrey and his thoughtful surgeon Stephen Maturin (excellently realized by Paul Bettany, who manages to strain credulity and look heroic at it rather than absurd) make beautiful music together in the Captain’s aft cabin. Ahem. Yes, I know this is from the books. Someone still had a grand old time putting it up on the screen.
Bonus points to the web site for having the longest URL ever. Go ahead, try it.
This movie is sure to get backlashed hard when people tire of it, but it’s a fine rendition of a classic formula tale, the Good Boys Who Can vs. the Evil French, and it’s made with atmosphere, enthusiasm, and derring-do. No messy complexities, no flagellation (well, just the one scene), and a spare modicum of guilt (tain’t made by Americans, of course, which is probably why). Doughty bravado and clever strategy win the day, which is not to say cheating and lying and disguising a warship as a civilian mercantile vessel, well anyway, the good guys are victorious and they look good doing it. I expected a rout, and it’s fun instead. Damn the torpedoes.
Rehearsal for “The Good Faith” went swimmingly last night, as is proper after the inevitable panicky sucky one (see yesterday’s entry). We were uptempo and inspired and had fun with it all, trusting ourselves to be a cast rather than a bunch of actors. It’s a slow process, and a solid one.