Do you remember that great adventure on the high seas? Why don’t we have 10 of them?
Go back to the cinema in 2003. You see a huge movie opening. The budget was $ 150 million and it has an all-star cast. The film is set on the high seas. It’s a swashbuckling adventure with incredible directing, subtle and transformative performances, and some of the most realistic set pieces and CGI that have endured nearly two decades later.
It’s the first movie in an intended franchise and when it ends you can’t wait for more.
No, you don’t see a Disney pirate movie, you watch Master and Commander: The Other Side of the World. This epic war film from the Napoleonic era was co-written, produced and directed by Peter Weir. The plot and characters of the film are adapted from three novels in the Aubrey-Maturin series by the author Patrick O’Brian. This series includes 20 completed novels about Jack Aubrey’s naval career.
For the film adaptation, Russell Crowe played as Aubrey, a Royal Navy captain, alongside Paul Bettany as Dr. Stephen Maturin, the ship’s doctor.
This epic masterpiece was to be the start of a very serious franchise that took these characters around the world and pitted them against some of the wildest Armadas. But that never happened.
Check out the video from Realm of spirit and let’s talk after the jump.
Master and Commander Is a forgotten masterpiece and franchise
Let’s take a minute to enjoy a time in Hollywood where you could take such big swings in movies. Master and Commander: The Other Side of the World was shot on the open sea, on replicas of ships. They even went to the real Galapagos Islands to snap photos of their visit. The boats they used were modern replicas that actually sailed in the sea.
For other scenes, they used the same water tanks in Mexico that Titanic did, filling them like large bathtubs with water and staging wars on replicas of the ships.
That was a huge movie. It was co-produced by 20th Century Fox, Miramax Films, Universal Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Films. When you have a movie this expensive, it has to make a lot of money to warrant sequels. Unfortunately, this movie didn’t do enough to get people to try again. It grossed $ 212 million worldwide.
That sounds like a lot, but most films have to double their budget to actually be in the black, and it’s not.
Even without the tax justification, you could think that we would get more just because of awards. At the 76th Academy Awards, the film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. It won the best camera and sound editor.
With everything I said there, you’d think this was a huge movie that everyone was talking about, but it’s not. That could be because it was dwarfed by films like this Pirates of the Caribbean A series that had a different tone and could have put off producers worried about a sequel that didn’t have an audience. It could also be because it is against Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King at the Academy Awards, which conquered the most categories and made all the headlines this year.
No matter what, films like this are kind of lost today. In mid-2021 we heard that a prequel might be in the works. Reported via deadline, 20th Century Studios is working with screenwriter Patrick Ness to tell the story of what came before this film, but it is not yet known whether Weir or Crowe will be involved. Weir has publicly said he’s not coming back, but Crowe has spoken about the film many times and even tried to get a sequel off the ground in 2010.
While I’m excited about what’s to come, I wish we’d see more direct sequels to the original. It was a character full movie with some of the coolest fight scenes and handy sets that just don’t exist today.
Were you a fan of this film? Sound off in the comments.