As I mentioned at the beginning of this week, Master & Commander had potential for being an epic period masterpiece. There are five books in the entire series, and approximately four stories per book. O’Brian’s books are the perfect material for a show. One season could be two stories and so one. That would have run for at least 10-11 seasons. Decent length for a show, at least for one that has actual material to work off of. But enough of how I could plan the perfect show, I’m talking about how the movie got panned.
Again, I believe some of the reasons it didn’t do well was because many people don’t have a proper understanding of History. Facts to remember are that the Napoleonic War came about because of the French Revolution. It was the cause, and Bonaparte was the affect. The movie itself featured an all-male cast, and that might have been another problem. Although moves like Expendables that also featured mostly male casts did fairly well, historical pieces are different. It is usually nice to have at least one female character for us to fantasize getting together with the hero. Aubrey’s love is hinted to at the beginning of the movie, but we don’t actually see her at all; and Dr. Maturin doesn’t have anybody but his sciences. In the books, he had a dalliance with a rival, female spy for Bonaparte. Dangerous and it would have been small screen gold! Anyway, they did not have a female character at all. Of course, we also have to take into consideration that they are on the far side of the world, literally! They were a war ship, so they would never have been transporting civilians. That, and no noble women would have been around, so for accuracy’s sake, they didn’t put a woman in; but that might have cost them some good publicity.
Another factor: the men might not have been good enough? Now, for me personally, I liked the men they picked. Russell Crowe was accurately cast in the lead. Aubrey was described as a slightly heavy-set but capable man. Maybe he wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea? As for the secondary lead, Dr. Steven Maturin, Paul Bettany played the acerbic but thoughtful doctor to a tee. He challenges Aubrey whenever he thinks he’s caring too much about his duty and not enough about his men. Captain Aubrey is a man with a moral code, and that means following the orders he was given. Maturin has to play conscience every once in a while.
If you have seen the movie and/or read the books, you would know that they left the movie open for more. Unfortunately, nobody understands or appreciates History, so the movie did not do well, and no continuations were made. However, I would fully condone a remake, as a series of course. I would have Charlie Hunnam as Capt. ‘Lucky’ Jack Aubrey, and JJ Feild as Dr. Steven Maturin. Their adventures would grace the small screen like a well played battle maneuver!
And on that note, it’s been real!