Master and Commander – A War Movie Watchalong

Ever heard of a book readalong? Well, this is the first watchalong I have ever heard of and participated in. My good friend Caroline who had great success in doing War Readalong in her book blog, Sleeping is A Beautiful Cat, decided to hold this fun War Watchalong in her movie blog, All About War Movies.

I have seen Master and Commander years ago and barely remember the details, all I can remember is that it’s about ship and stars Russell Crowe. I didn’t know Paul Bettany back then.

Now that I have seen it again, I can at least write a brief summary of the movie:

The story set in 17th century when Napoleon had conquered Europe but England. Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) and his ship were suddenly ambushed by a French ship. The ship was far more sophisticated than his ship. Captain Aubrey had to hide his ship in the fog to escape the ambushed. He became obsess with that phantom ship, Acheron. He chased it across two oceans. Many things happened inside that ship. A superstitious about Jonah ran among the crew. To make things even more complicated, Aubrey was torn between his duty to England and his friendship with the ship Doctor, Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany). Maturin wanted to explore Galapagos while Aubrey wanted nothing but to chase the phantom ship.

This watchalong comes with some question, to know how I feel about the movie, here are my answer s to the questions.

1. How did you like the movie?

As I always do a rating on movies that I have watched, I would give Master and Commander , which mean I like it but not yet really like it. I enjoy watching it but it isn’t the kind of movie I will watch over and over again

2. Is Aubrey a good Captain?

Yes, I believe so. He was respected by his crew and had great discipline. He might had carried away with his emotion of not wanting to be defeated by anyone but in the end he managed to keep his balance between emotion and duty

3. Who is your favorite character and why?

Doctor Stephen Marutin. No!! It’s not because he was played by Paul Bettany. I have liked his character even before I knew Paul. I always have a thing for doctor in war or other smart character. A doctor in war is a unique character, he has to save people and yet at the same time he has to kill people to survive the war. Apart from being a doctor, Marutin was a passionate scientist. We can see clearly how his heart was broken when he had to leave one of the best islands to explore.

4. Cpt Aubrey and Dr Stephen Maturin, the surgeon are very different. How did you like their friendship?  Is it plausible?

I really like their friendship. They are nothing alike and that differences were the one that kept them glued together. Marutin was like Aubrey’s other conscience.

5. Aubrey and Maturin disagree on the responsibilities of a ship’s captain.  Who is right?

Although I like Marutin more than Aubrey, I had to say Aubrey was the right party. He made good always made good decision despite all the consequences.

6. What did you think of the way the French are depicted?

Okay, I guess. They don’t really say bad things about French which I think that’s a good point in war movie. Unlike most Vietnam War Movies that more often made the Vietcong less human then the American (That’s why I don’t watch much Vietnam War Movie).

7. What was more important – getting the enemy or collecting scientific samples?

I think both are important. They should get the enemy and once it was done, they could always come back and take those animals samples.

8. Was it ethical to disguise the Surprise as a civilian ship?

Yes, it’s ethical. It’s war and when someone is not strong enough then that someone has to use his brain. In this movie, Aubrey used his brain to come up with a great tactic.

9. Did you think the ending was satisfying?

Yes. I’d love to see the doctor went to the island again but I think by making that kind of ending, it gives an element of surprise…and you know how much I like unpredictable ending. It’s not like the movie has incredible mind blowing ending but I do like that bit of twist. It makes the French wasn’t all that stupid.


It was a good movie follows with fun watchalong event. I enjoy watching it and writing my answer. I hope to read good discussion over Caroline’s blog.

You can see the post about the questions here and the answer by Caroline here.

Have you watched Master and Commander? What do you think of the movie?
Feel free to answer those questions above in the comment 🙂


    1. Saya sih pilih2 kalo soalfilm perang…dipikir2 saya pilih2 terhadap semua film 😉
      Ah daku TAK BERMINAT liat Sherlock ala Downey Jr….itu bukan gaya Sherlock dibuku,sayya sangat sensitive sama Sherlock2 ga jelas.

  1. Master and Commander is one of those good movies that is perenially forgotten and disrespected, even by myself. I liked the movie when I saw it but I’ve never really felt the urge to see it again. It gives you the feeling that it’s boring even though it’s not lol. Not sure how to explain it.

    1. Hahaha…I get it Cas!! that is exactly how I felt about the movie. It was a good movie but not an over and over again kind of movie. It was fun while watching it and it didn’t feel boring at all…but not sure about starting it again.

  2. I just read your answers. I agree on many points but not all. I think I like it far better than you because I love the cinematography, it’s a very beautiful movie.
    Where I disagree is about getting the enemy. They were not told to follow the ship to the last. I think at this point in time it would have been OK to abandon the hunt and collect samples…look where it got them, the French outsmarted them.
    The way the French are depicted is great, they are clever and cunning.
    I didn’t see the ending exactly like you but I think you are right. It’s much more interesting that way and I’m so glad they didn’t make a sequel.
    Thanks for watching along Novia.
    Btw. I do understand Castor’s point, funny enough I thought it was boring when I watched it for the first time, I liked it much more now.

    1. Ah…I guess you’re right. Aubrey has no obligation to chase the ship…but Aubrey’s kind of man always stand on his pride. He was only using duty as a shadow to cover his true feeling of being defeated.
      I am not saying I agree with Aubrey but I could understand his feeling. Beside the one who was eager to collect sample was Marutin, the man of science, not Aubrey.

      Honestly…watchalong is really fun. I like answering those question…maybe we should do it again with The Wind That Shakes The Barley 😉 or a samurai movie,there are a lot of conflict to discuss in the code of honor of a samurai.

      1. Master & Commander is based on a huge series with at least 10 books, I think there is a lot we don’t know. I wonder whether they based it on the first book or whether they combined more than one.
        I really think that The French captain and Aubrey have a lot in common. They are enemies but they admire each other.
        I think we should do it again. It’s also great when more people add questions. I find it easier to answer questions than to write a whole review and you can really compare what others think about a particular character or story line.
        In theory TBM and Kevin should have posted today as well. Maybe later or they mixed up the dates. I know Guy will post on Talvisota.

        1. Patrick O’Brian 1914-2000 wrote twenty novels in the Aubrey-Maturin series. The first novel of this series was called Master and Commander. The movie used themes from many of these novels. There is not much if any similarity between the movie and the plot in the novel.

          1. I read about it being adapted from book in Wikipedia…but didn’t realize it was a series….and along series too. I think the book didn’t do well here. I never see it in the book store. I’d love to read one of them, I want to know how the book describe Maturin as I like that character a lot.

    1. Kelly….I miss having you around :hug: Do write something in your blog soon 😉
      I think you might like the movie…it’s really good and the actors did a great performance

  3. I’m surprised how much I enjoyed this film, it’s quite a feat to make a movie with no romance that takes place in a single ship so darn engaging. Russell Crowe was excellent as Capt. Aubrey, and even though I’m not a huge fan of Paul Bettany, he’s really good in this.

    Crowe was my favorite sea captain… that is until I watched Captain Horatio Hornblower with Gregory as the naval captain, also set in the Napoleonic war that’s perhaps the inspiration for this film. Boy I love men in uniform 😉

    1. I have no problem with the non-existence of romance in a movie 😉
      I already have a favorite captain, so I can’t say Aubrey is my favorite captain. As Caroline and Shank already mentioned above,this movie was based on book…so I am not sure if that GP’s movie is the inspiration for M&C

  4. The doctor was one of my favorite characters as well. I didn’t really consider his dual role until I read your answers. I’ve always seen doctors during wartime as neutral but now thinking back on the movie I remember that he did actually participate in the fighting, which goes against the rule of doing no harm that doctors are supposed to abide by. But what are you supposed to do when someone is shooting at you and trying to kill you?

    1. I am glad to know more people like the Doctor too. I am afraid people who knows me well might think it’s a bias to like the doctor as Paul Bettany is one few actors I always watch. Now that I know you and warmoviebuff also like him, I feel that I am not bias at all 😉

      That’s what fascinating about war doctors, they need to defend themselves but they also have to heal people. I don’t remember the movie, but there is a war doctor that refused to hold a gun and sometimes help the fallen enemies too. That kind of doctor is really rare.

  5. I felt the same way about Master and Commander. It was watchable and pretty good, but not all that memorable. Billy Boyd, Pippin from the LOTR movies, also had a small role in this film.

    I hope you and your family had wonderful holidays and I wish you huge successes and lots of joy in 2012. Thank you for your comments and support. 🙂

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