Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World director Peter Weir nails down just why his 2003 naval epic is so enduringly beloved. The film follows Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) and the crew of the H.M.S. Surprise, who, in 1805, are tasked with hunting down and capturing a powerful French ship. Master and Commander, which is based on three novels from Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series, was a hit with critics upon release and would go on to be nominated for ten Oscars.
Now, twenty years after the release of Master and Commander, Weir reveals in a recent interview with GQ why he thinks the movie continues to endure. According to the director, male audiences, in particular, still love the film because it explores universal themes that remain relevant regardless of the time period. Check out Weir’s full comment below:
“It’s about how men (and boys) behaved in that time and circumstance. How they understood concepts like ‘duty’ and ‘courage’. Perhaps that has some relevance today. Times change, and with them fashions, but some things remain imperishable. This film touches on those imperishables.”
Should Master & Commander Get A Sequel?
Although Master and Commander was a big hit with critics, the general audience reception, at least at the time, was somewhat more muted. The naval epic earned only $211 million at the box office, which was somewhat underwhelming considering the movie cost $150 million to make. Despite not achieving the financial success of a comparable historical epic like Gladiator, the world of Master and Commander is supposedly living on in the form of a prequel.
The Master and Commander prequel was first confirmed to be in development in 2021, but few updates have emerged since. It’s not clear if the movie is still in active development or not, but screenwriter Patrick Ness, who also wrote Chaos Walking, was previously confirmed to be crafting the script. While the prequel will seemingly adapt the first book in O’Brian’s series about a younger Captain Aubrey, it’s debatable whether this movie should actually move forward.
In addition to business considerations and the fact that Master and Commander isn’t an IP as hot as something like The Lord of the Rings, there’s also a good chance that it wouldn’t recapture the same magic as the original. Since it’s a prequel, it likely won’t feature the return of Crowe or costar Paul Bettany. It also likely won’t feature Weir at the helm. That being said, the original Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World remains a beloved classic, and expanding the world of that story is a difficult proposition to resist.
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