Saturday, 8 October 2016

Admiral: Command & Conquer

When I saw this DVD on sale in a local branch of ASDA's, I first assumed that it was a PC game that had been put in the wrong place (the 'Command & Conquer' part of the title made me think so), but on closer inspection it proved to be a film ... so I bought it. It cost less than £5.00, so I felt that even if it wasn't very good, I hadn't wasted a lot of money to find out.


In fact the film is excellent in many ways. It was made in the Netherlands, so most of the dialogue is in Dutch. That said, the sections of the film set in England or aboard English or French ships are in those languages, and my version of the film has subtitles for the Dutch and French dialogue. (The makers have avoided dubbing in dialogue in the language of the country they are selling the DVD in. I much prefer this although I know that other people might not.)

The film tells the story of Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter, one of the Netherlands most famous sailors. It begins with the death of Maarten Tromp's death during the Battle of Scheveningen. This battle ended the First Anglo-Dutch War, and De Ruyter was offered the post of admiral in his place. The offer was made by Johan de Witt, the de facto Prime Minister of the Netherlands, and De Ruyter declined the offer as he felt himself to be unfit for such high command.

During the Second Anglo-Dutch War the offer was made again, and after some serious consideration De Ruyter accepted command of the Dutch fleet. (Cornelis Tromp – Maarten Tropm's son – had held the position on a temporary basis, but his support of the Prince of Orange was unacceptable to the republican Johan de Witt.) During the war Tromp proved to be a difficult subordinate, but De Ruyter's raid on the River Medway and the destruction of a large part of the British fleet helped to bring the war to an end.

The Third Anglo-Dutch War went badly on land for the Netherlanders, and led to the loss of part of the south of the country. The lack of military preparation was blamed on John de Witt, and he and his brother Cornelis de Witt were dragged from the prison Cornelis was incarcerated in and butchered by Dutch peasants. At sea De Ruyter managed to stave off an invasion with victories at the Battles of of Solebay (1672), Schooneveld (1673) and Texel (1673). In 1676 De Ruyter led a combined Dutch-Spanish fleet into the Mediterranean to put down the Messina Revolt. As a result the combined fleets fought the French at the Battles of Stromboli and Augusta, and during the latter he was killed when a cannonball hit his right leg.

The film covers all of these major events, and puts them into the context of the conflict between the Orangists and the Republicans in the Netherlands.

The film uses a mixture of CGI and real ships in the battle scenes, and is well worth watching for that alone.







The historical elements have been simplified, but it leaves one with a better understanding of the conflicts between the various larger nations of Europe (i.e. Britain and France) and its smaller but economically powerful neighbour, the Netherlands. It also goes some way to explaining the conflict between the Orangists and the Republicans in the Netherlands.

The film was originally entitled MICHIEL DE RUYTER, and was made in 2015. The cast includes:
  • Charles Dance (King Charles II of England)
  • Rutger Hauer (Maarten Tromp)
  • Barry Atsma (Johan de Witt)
  • Derek de Lint (Kievit)
  • Frank Lammers (Michiel de Ruyter)
  • Egbert Jan Weeber (Willem III)
  • Sanne Langelaar (Anna de Ruyter)
  • Roeland Fernhout (Cornelis de Witt)
  • Will Bowden (Prince Rupert)
  • Colin Mace (Monck)
  • Hajo Bruins (Cornelis Tromp)
  • Jelle de Jong (Hans Willem Bentinck)

12 comments:

  1. Bob,
    The large photo of the Fleets in Action is unreal- Computerised CAD I expect...I like the old films where actual scale models were used with slow motion filming techniques to create the 'real' look of the ships sailing...the Movie-'Captain Hornblower' staring Gregory Peck- is a good example of this. Regards. KEV.

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    Replies
    1. Kev,

      The CGI is less noticeable in a the film than it appears in the still I have used. It would have been nice if they had been able to use models rather than CGI, but I suspect that the cost would have been prohibitive.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Bob,
      Yes- such a fleet of models would be very costly- CGI has it's advantages in this regard and it seems to be a far better method than it was some time back having developed a long way since. Regards. KEV

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    3. Kev,

      I've often wondered how the people who made the models that ended up being destroyed during filming felt about what happened to their beautiful models.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    4. Bob,
      Yes- Model Making as a Profession for the Film Industry would indeed be at times a sore point when the Models are destroyed in the process of Film Making...sadly, I think that such a Profession would now be a rare activity...with CGI taking over the Special Effects altogether...very sad for the Model Artisan. Regards. KEV.

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    5. Kev,

      I used to work with someone who worked as a modelmaker for Gerry Anderson, and he regarded the models he made as disposable, and lost interest in them once they were finished. I don't think that I could have done that.

      Some filmmakers do prefer to use models rather than CGI, but they are few are far between.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. I think I saw the same film listed on NETFLIX here in the states. I started to watch it but couldn't get past the overacting in the first scenes! It may not have been the same movie just the same titile.
    Dick Bryant

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    Replies
    1. Dick Bryant,

      Just to confuse matters, there are two other recently released ilms with 'Admiral' in the title. One is about Yamamoto and and the other is about Kolchak. I didn't notice any overacting in the film I watched, but that might have been because I was trying to read the subtitles.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Replies
    1. Geordie an Exile FoG,

      I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Now then Bob
    A good shout on that one. I bought the film from Amazon & enjoyed it.
    cheers
    MrF

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    Replies
    1. MrFarrow2U (MrF),

      I'm really pleased that you enjoyed the film and were not put off by having to read the subtitles.

      All the best,

      Bob

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