« From Dusk Till Dawn | Main | Extreme Measures »

April 04, 2003


Big budget battle blockbuster

Russell Crowe will probably never match the hights of this popular performance - His lines:
"At my signal - unleash Hell!" and
"My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commander of the armies of the North, general of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor Marcus Aurelius, father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife..."
have entered the language, and have turned him into the megastar he is today. But does the film deserve the plaudits and popularity? Well, not entirely.

Gladiator begins by setting the scene. Maximus (Crowe) is a general who leads from the front, and is loved by his army for this. He defeats the barbarian horde in Germania, a remote Roman province. The Roman emperor is there, and is dying, but offers the succession to the throne to Maximus. Before he can accept the offer, the emperor's son Commodus turns up and realises what is going on. He kills his father, takes control of the army, and tries to have Maximus killed. Maximus escapes, and heads for his home in Spain to his wife and son, but they have already been murdered by the Romans.

The rest of the film writes itself. Maximus is captured and becomes a slave, and gets sold into a travelling gladiator show. He wants revenge, and sees his only chance is to be the best Gladiator in Rome, as that would grant him an audience with the emperor, and he could kill him there. Things are very bloody and gory, there is a political sub-plot as the Roman senate also want to get rid of Commodus. The climax is a battle where a wounded Maximus and Commodus fight to the death in the Colliseum.

That would have been enough for a two hour film, but somehow another story got integrated involving Lucilla, Commodus's sister. This is all very messy and badly explained. She has a son, a dead husband, and has in the past had a relationship with Maximus. She is also involved in an incestuous relationship with Commodus. None of this is explained properly however, and it slows the action down too much; it must have been added in to try and attract the less bloodthirsty demographic, but they won't want to sit through the first 15 minutes battle so why bother. I suppose it all helps to show us how evil and depraved Commodus is.

Notable is Hans Zimmer's score, which is very beautiful music in the main, with ethnic overtones. Something else you should know is that Oliver Reed died during the making of Gladiator, and some of his scenes were cleverly recreated using computer technology - see if you can spot which ones.

Its a very impressive film, with great action sequences, massive sets and crowds. It has a powerful, broody performance from Crowe and an excellent devious slimy character in Joaquin Phoenix. If you like gladiator film, you can't get much better than this.

AE 0

Posted by se71 at April 4, 2003 12:22 PM


Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?