Corrected entry: Near the end of the film when the crew are playing cricket on the island the camera pans out to show the batsman in front of three stumps. However cricket didn't start to be played with three stumps until at least 50 years after the film is set. At the time of the movie time people only played with two.
Corrected entry: Aubrey's ship HMS Surprise spends a lot of its time with the guns run out. In reality, they would only be run out for battle, secured inboard since the ship could ship water through open gun-ports. Also, the captain would not be running around the ship, doing "hands on" stuff, like on the helm. He'd stand back and issue orders.
Corrected entry: Bonden is the Coxswain, a petty officer. At one point, the captain addresses him as 'Mr' Bonden, a term of address reserved for warrant officers. In a similar vein, Higgins, the Surgeon's Mate, is listed on the cast as a warrant officer. Surgeon's Mates were petty officers.
Corrected entry: Upon arriving at the Galapagos Islands, Aubrey encounters the survivors of a British whaler who claim the French privateer captured their ship and seized their cargo of oil. This is hogwash. A privateer, by its very nature, has no room to transport bulk cargo like whale oil. They would be likely to load any ambergris from the whaler, but the premise that a privateer would make profits by seizing and burning whalers is specious at best.
Corrected entry: If the scene in which Jack Aubrey gives the order "hard a larboard" was indeed a rudder order the face of the compass wouldn't have rotated clockwise. That would mean the ship was actually making a turn to the left. The compass shows a southerly course, rotates clockwise, and eases to show an easterly course. That's a 90 degree turn to port, is it not?
Corrected entry: In the scene where the Surprise is being re-fitted after the first encounter with the Acheron, Captain Aubrey tells Mr. Allen, "A week spent crawling through the Brazilian rain forest looking for a new mast won't do." He would not have used "rain forest" in 1805, the term "rain forest" was first coined in 1898 by a German botanist.
Corrected entry: During Stephen's self-performed surgery, he asks Higgins for the catling. This instrument, a long, sharp, double-edged knife used for amputations, is not what a doctor would have used to make his initial incision and it is not what Higgins hands him in the subsequent shot.
Corrected entry: In the final DVD scene Jack and Stephen are playing their instruments. Jack is strumming his violin before picking up his bow. The sound of the strumming continues for several seconds after Jack stops and before he starts playing using the bow.
Corrected entry: It is highly unlikely that a French privateer would attack a British frigate, even with an advantage in size and armament. Privateers were in the profitable business of capturing enemy merchantmen, not in the dangerous one of fighting enemy warships. The Acheron would only fight the Surprise if forced to. I can't see why the screenwriters made the Acheron a privateer - making her a French warship would have been more realistic and would have detracted nothing from the story.
Corrected entry: Surprise, disguised as a whaler, makes a quick tack (within a minute) so that both sides of the ship can fire broadsides into Acheron. In real life, a square-rigger such as Surprise would take a half-hour or more to turn around, with much effort on the part of the crew to maneuver the sails and spars.
Corrected entry: When the Surprise is firing upon the Acheron in the last battle of the film, they completely destroy the main mast as shown in a wide shot of the Acheron's mast falling all the way off. However, when half of Jack's crew take the Acheron under Tom's command in the last 5 minutes of the film, the mast in miraculously back on. This is without them ever stopping to retrieve another mast or having enough time.
Corrected entry: After the shot where Aubrey sees Hogg in the lifeboat, Hogg and the whalers climb up the starboard accommodation ladder. The starboard accommodation ladder was used for formal occasions; the larboard ladder when no ceremony was desired.
Corrected entry: A man in the cold Cape Horn waters would lose his senses in less than a minute; he wouldn't be able to swim vigorously.
Corrected entry: When Stephen is taking measurements of the tortoises, there's a close up of him measuring around one's neck. The tortoise if obviously dead.
Corrected entry: The lights on the Surprise are candle or oil lamps. These would flicker, in the movie they don't flicker at all. They're electric.
Corrected entry: In the beginning shot it reads "HMS Surprise, 28 Guns..." On the ship, there are 12 Guns on each side of the gun deck, that equals 24. On the quarterdeck, there are 4 Carronades which is 28, the purposed number. But there are also 2 Bow chasers, which would equal in a 30 Gun ship. There are also 2 Swivels but those don't count.
Corrected entry: In the shot where Capt. Aubrey gives a navigational lesson, he refers to Mr. Williamson's sextant. Actually, it's an octant.
Corrected entry: One of Aubrey's crew saw the Acheron, a French frigate, when it was under construction in Boston. This was carried over from the book in which the Surprise originally pursues an American frigate. The Americans did not build frigates for the French.
Corrected entry: When Blakeney had boarded the Acheron and shoots his gun, for a very brief second we can see that there is a pause in the camera movement though the soundtrack goes on.
Corrected entry: After launching the decoy "vessel", Capt. Aubrey shouts, "Hard a-larboard", spins the steering wheel to the left, making the ship turn left. But in those days a ship's wheel worked in the opposite way: to turn the ship left you had to spin the wheel to the right, and the correct command would have been "Hard a-starboard."
Corrected entry: After the initial attack by the Acheron, Aubrey goes down below to see how deep the water is. The guy standing in the water says "2 ft, 6 in." This is a BRITISH ship in the early 1800s!
Corrected entry: Stephen Maturin's cello has a end pin or spike which he rests on the floor while playing. Cellos of that date did not have such spikes, they were cradled between the legs of the player.
Corrected entry: In the scene right at the beginning, when the midshipman who later commits suicide spots the strange French vessel on the horizon, the other midshipman present refers to him as the "officer of the watch". However, no one below the rank of lieutenant could be in this position.
Corrected entry: The scene were Captain Jack explains the difference between a pirate vessel and a privateer was solely to educate modern audiences on the matter. It was a common practice at the time for a government at war to authorize private vessels to prey on ships of the enemy (so common that the constitution of the United States specifically authorizes the government to do so).
Corrected entry: The title of the movie is "Master and Commander", describing Jack Aubrey. But Jack is not a master (technically speaking he isn't a commander either, but a post captain.) He would only be the 'master and commander' if he didn't have a sailing master on board, but he does have one on the Suprise in the movie- the man who gets shot through the forehead when boarding the Acheron, after saying that "the job is done".
Corrected entry: In the navigation scene, the midshipmen and Capt. Aubrey are facing the wrong direction: The ship is south of the equator, heading south. The sun should be north of them, but all are facing forward to "shoot the sun" with their sextants. Note they have to turn about, to see the Acheron pursuing them.
Corrected entry: Most of the views of the French privateer Acheron were computer generated imagery (CGI) from a digital model of USS Constitution. A Fox crew spent several days in Boston photographing and using laser measuring instruments to capture a complete and accurate version of "Old Ironsides."
Corrected entry: In the opening scene, the officer of the watch and Aubrey couldn't even spot the French ship with the telescope through the thick fog. But then, how was the French ship able to fire at Surprise with such accuracy? Their line of sight would be just as bad as the British.
Corrected entry: The Captain and the surgeon play several duets together, with the Captain on the violin and the surgeon on the cello. However, if you listen closely to the songs they play, many of these sounds couldn't actually come from a duet. Most notably the first time they play, it sounds more like two violins and a cello, or even a string quartet are playing the song, when it's showing only the two men playing.
Corrected entry: It is a great idea to use the fake navigation lights. But no ship would even have them lighted during a chase in the first place.
Corrected entry: Midshipman Lord Blakeney gets his right arm amputated. Two scenes after that you see his right arm back, holding a sextant.
Corrected entry: When Aubrey gives the boy a book on Nelson, the boy asks about a certain battle and Aubrey tells him it is on a certain page. In 1805 and before, most books did not have page numbers, or those same numbers were incorrect. He's much more likely to have used the printer's signatures or just have flipped through the book to the correct page. I'm not saying he wouldn't have had a book with numbered pages (or those pages wouldn't have been correct), but Aubrey would likely have been in the habit of NOT using page numbers.Kaite13
Corrected entry: I don't know whether this is an editing error or a projection error, but several times during the storm scene, mysterious patterns of colored lights (perhaps a camera graphic) briefly flash up on the screen for a frame or two.
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