Based freely on the classic novels by CS Forester, Hornblower is a series of TV films following the progress of a young officer through the ranks of the British navy during the Napoleonic Wars. The series' greatest asset is the handsome and charismatic Ioan Gruffudd in the lead role, surely a major star in the making. For television films the production values are very good, though as Titanic, Waterworld and The Perfect Storm demonstrated, filming an aquatic adventure is a very expensive business, and it is clear that the Hornblower dramas simply make the best of... comparatively small budgets. No more faithful to Forester's books than the 1951 Gregory Peck classic Captain Horatio Hornblower, the real inspiration seems to have come from the success of Sharpe, starring Sean Bean, which likewise featured a British hero in the Napoleonic Wars. Nevertheless, while rather more easygoing than the real British navy of the time, the Hornblower saga delivers an entertaining adventure, greatly enhanced by the presence of such guest stars as Denis Lawson, Cheri Lunghi, Ronald Pickup and Anthony Sher. --Gary S Dalkin [show more]
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