Panama (spwebdesign) wrote,

Master and Commander, or The Far Side of the World?

I have this really annoying habit. Whenever a movie comes out based on a well-known book, I want to read the book before I see the movie. If I'm going to bother to do both, I'd rather have the two-hour suspense ruined than the two-week suspense, if that makes any sense; and I usually am going to do both. I made an exception for Timeline, since I'm not sure I wanted to take the time to read another Crichton novel just yet. But I will probably put off watching House of Sand and Fog, despite my Jennifer Connelly fetish, until I've read Dubus' novel. (I've already read Cold Mountain, a book which failed to live up to all the hype, so I can safely watch that movie.)

So when I heard that a Master and Commander movie was being made, I resolved to read the book. Although the Aubrey-Maturin series had been recommended to me by several different people, I had not previously made much of an effort to read any of the books. Now I refuse to watch the movie until I've read the book.

I will finish the book sometime tonight or tomorrow. Thus, I decided to look up a description of the movie and showtimes online. I was in for a minor shock. Not only is Master and Commander no longer showing in many U.S. theaters, it's not even Master and Commander!

In my general ignorance of O'Brian's novels, I did not realize that The Far Side of the World was the tenth installment in the Aubrey-Maturin series. I had figured it was simply a colorful subtitle the moviemakers had tacked on to make the movie sound more exotic and appealing.

So, it turns out my efforts were misguided. I now have a decision to make. (1) Do I watch the movie with Spanish subtitles, assuming it's playing somewhere in Panamá and hasn't been dubbed? (2) Do I watch the movie at some second-run theater in Massachusetts, such as the Capitol in Arlington, when I return? (3) Or do I wait until the movie comes out on DVD and read novels 2 through 10 in the intervening time? (After all, I would want to read The Far Side of the World before I saw the movie, but I can't very well read the books out of order: that would be unpardonable.)

Hollywood could have made this a lot easier for me if they had simply titled the movie something like Patrick O'Brian's The Far Side of the World. There was no need to mislead me with the Master and Commander title. <sigh> I could have been reading about adventures of the coast of South America instead of Minorca and the Mediterranean!
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