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Recommend The New Classics: Master and Commander (Email)

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Michael Cusumanohere to explore what keeps fans returning for repeat voyages on Peter Weir's 2003 nautical adventure.

Scene: Exploring the Galapagos
Right before the climactic naval battle in Peter Weir'sMaster and Commander: The Far Side of the World,the story pauses to watch a scientist leisurely wander the Galapagos Islands,collecting lizards and measuring giant tortoises.How many modern adventure films would halt the action dead in its tracks like that?Hell,how many films from any era would resist relegating such a detour to the cutting room floor?I can imagine David Lean including the sequence,but then his version ofMaster and Commanderwould probably push the four hour mark.

This adaptation of Patrick O'Brien's series of novels is less about narrative urgency and more about creating a world to get lost in.Sure,when the time comes to pay-off the naval duel at the center of the plot,Master and Commander delivers in spectacular fashion.But that's not what keeps the devotees of the film returning over and over again...


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