Factual error: At the end of the film, Aubrey sends the de-masted prize Acheron to Valparaiso, Chile, for repairs. Valparaiso is 3,000 miles from the Galapagos Islands, and, in 1805, was a tiny village without appropriate port facilities to dock or repair anything as large as a frigate. Valparaiso did not become a major port until after Chilean Independence from Spain (1810). Guayaquil (in modern Ecuador) would have been a more appropriate choice, being about 750 miles from the Galapagos, and being a major port in 1805. The choice between the two ports was moot, anyway, since both municipalities were Spanish territory in 1805, and thus were allied with the French, and hostile to the British.
Revealing mistake: The Acheron fires many devastating blows on the Surprise and the effect is visible in close-ups and a wide shot. However, after Mr. Mowett yells, "Relieving-tackles on the tiller! You men collect the wounded!" there is another wide shot of the Acheron in the foreground and Surprise in the distance. In this shot Surprise has NO damage whatsoever!
Revealing mistake: After a close-up of the drawing of one-armed Lord Nelson, Killick opens the lid of the steaming food for Jack in a close-up, just before Killick says, "Oh, here we go again. Scrape, scrape, screech, screech." Later, after Pullings takes command of Acheron, Jack tunes up his violin and Killick says, "Here we go again," in another close-up of the steaming food for Jack. Every detail of the food shown in both close-ups is exactly the same - obviously shot at the same time.
00:26:25 - 02:05:20Super Grover
Continuity mistake: There are two tight close-ups of the words "hold fast," which are tattooed on Joe Plaice's fingers;When "Engaged enemy frigate at six bells," is said as Joe speaks, and as Stephen performs the brain surgery on Joe. The letters noticeably differ in the two shots, particularly the l, d, f, and t.
Add timeSuper Grover
Continuity mistake: While Jack and the rest speak about Lord Nelson, the plate of bread on the table is visible when the wide shots face Stephen. The following two close-ups show the plate of bread on the table, as Stephen looks at the weevils and the bread is positioned very differently in these shots. As Jack slams his hand down on the table, the bread is positioned as in the previous wide shots.
00:32:45 - 00:34:25Super Grover
Continuity mistake: After Killick sets down the platter of the 'Galapagos Islands', Jack says, "Gentlemen, I give you our destination." In the following close-up of the platter, the stack of china is to the left of the candelabra, yet, in the next shot, as Killick hands the spoon to Jack, the candelabra is farther back and the stack of china is towards the right.
Deliberate mistake: While performing brain surgery on Joe Plaice, Stephen, whose sleeves are rolled up to his elbows, reaches for a spoon with his freckled hand. In the following close-up it is blatantly apparent that it is not Paul Bettany's hand lifting the spoon, not to mention the bit of sleeve (not rolled up) that is visible at the bottom of the screen at the wrist. Then in the overhead shot the table with the instruments is visible, which includes the two boxes and silver spoon. In the next close-up the dark brown box's position and the spoon's position differ (before he picks up the spoon).
Continuity mistake: As Stephen holds the diary, in the shot facing him he begins to flip the page with his right hand, yet, in the next close-up of the diary he flips the page with his left hand. The actual pages he flips and the way he holds the diary differs in this and following shots as well.
Audio problem: The last scene, when the captain and the doctor are playing music, the captain starts out with playing the violin with his fingers. Then the doctor is playing light tones with the bow on his cello. Suddenly, they switch, and the doctor is using his fingers, playing deep tones on the cello, and the captain is now playing with a bow. Finally, the first part of the music piece come back, and you hear both a violin (or some other small string instrument) played with fingers, and another violin played with a bow.
Continuity mistake: After Will's death, Joe looks through Will's belongings. As the shot faces Joe he unrolls the parchment and in the next close-up of the parchment, not only do the edges of it differ from the previous and following shots, the way he holds it differs as well.
Revealing mistake: When the Surprise is disguised as a whaler, it burns smoke from the front end of the ship to make it look as though it is making whale oil. When it is chased by the French ship the smoke blows back over the ship. As they are sailing ships the wind is behind them which means the smoke should blow forward.
Continuity mistake: After Stephen asks, "What is the weather gauge?" the table in front of Jack is visible in the following shots. As Jack extols the virtues of the Surprise the position of the nautical dividers in the instrument box differ once Jack is done. When Jack points to the shoals in the close-up, the map's position under another pair of nautical dividers, the log, ink well stand, etc., is different than the previous shots of the table.
00:18:30 - 00:19:55Super Grover
Factual error: In the dinner scene, the captain points and asks the doctor which "weevil". Those are actually mealworm larvae (sold as reptile food in most pet stores in the US) and would never have been in a ship's food. Also, they show the doctor catching common green iguanas, which are not native to the Galapagos Islands. Neither is the species of tortoise pictured in the movie.
Revealing mistake: The characteristics of the scarring on Jack's left earlobe changes in quite a few shots. The scar, in the shape of the letter Y, over Jack's right eye changes its angles and as for the scar at his hairline, the upper and lower line switch off being longer in length throughout the film.
00:18:35 - 00:33:00Super Grover
Factual error: As the Surprise attempts to weather Cape Horn, the wind backs westerly, so Aubrey gives the order to steer South. As the command is passed to the helmsman, he spins the wheel to the left - which would point the vessel Northerly, since the wheel would be turned in the opposite direction.
Continuity mistake: When Blakeney and Padeen run into Stephen's tent, Blakeney says, "So I've made a few notes, if you want to see them," and he hands Stephen the diary. The way Blakeney holds the diary, as he hands it to Stephen, differs in the shot facing him and the next one facing Stephen, note the clasp on the diary.
Continuity mistake: In the last shot we see the Surprise make a sharp 90 degrees turn to follow l'Acheron to Valparaiso. It seems that the wind changes 90 degrees in the same instant, because it is not necessary to trim the sails, and the pennant keeps flying in the same direction relative to the ship.
Revealing mistake: After the Captain cuts loose the man who fell overboard in the storm, there is a scene where the men sit around the big table and sing a song. During the song, the camera pans in a sweeping shot around the table. Watch closely as it comes around to the near side of the table, and you'll see the camera's view quickly jolt, as if it lightly smacked against something by accident during the filming.
Continuity mistake: In the close-up of the deceased, Mr. Allen lies right beside Peter and Blakeney's knees are visible above Peter's head, while he mourns over Peter. However, in the wide shot as Blakeney still stares at Peter, Peter and Mr. Allen are now much farther apart as Davies sits between the two. Peter and the hammock's position differ in his next close-up as well.
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