O'Brian readers are legion and can be persnickety. So what are they going to think of the film? One sounds off:
WHAT IT GOT RIGHT
--JACK AUBREY'S HAT. Though the books are set in a time when most officers of the Royal Navy wore their hats with peaks at front and back, Aubrey always wore his sideways, the old-fashioned way.
--KILLICK. Aubrey's steward is to the life: cantankerous, odd speech patterns and--nice touch--always serving toasted cheese to the duo before they play music.
--TREPANNING. Maturin's on-deck medical tour de force--taking the top off a patient's skull to release pressure and inserting a silver coin under the wound--is well depicted.
WHAT IT GOT WRONG
--MATURIN. Oh, dear. The film has him as nothing more than a doctor and naturalist who happens to be Aubrey's best friend. In fact, he was proudly Irish (with a touch of Catalan), a spy for the British, not handsome and utterly incapable of doing anything shipshape.
--MIDSHIPMAN HOLLOM (SPOILER ALERT). In the book he doesn't commit suicide but is presumed killed by a hand with whose wife he was having an affair.
--DATES. 'Tis a small thing, but the novel is set in the War of 1812; the film is set in 1805.
--By Michael Elliott