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LimeGreenLegend

Gladiator [XDBX Film Club 11]

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LimeGreenLegend

This month we are celebrating the work of Sir Ridley Scott, as suggested by @djw180 and @Spinnaker1981, with the winning film being another DJ nomination, Gladiator.  Released in the year 2000 it stars Russel Crowe in an Oscar winning performance, with support from Joaquin Phoenix, Derek Jacobi, Richard Harris and the legendary Oliver Reed in his final role.  

Image result for gladiator poster japanese

Gladiator was a huge success on release, winning the Oscar for best picture, and a nomination for best director for Ridley Scott, one of three in his career (Thelma and Louise and Black Hawk Down being the other two).  It is the last great Hollywood swords and sandals epic, telling a classic tale of betrayal and revenge.  I loved this film when it came out, but haven't seen it in at least a decade, so am looking forward to revisiting this.

are you not entertained russell crowe GIF

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Fido_le_muet

Everyone's seen it. It's great. Let's pick another theme 😁

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Con
6 hours ago, Fido_le_muet said:

Everyone's seen it. It's great. Let's pick another theme 😁

I only watched it once or twice. I’ll have fun  watching it again for the review. 

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djw180

This is one of my favourite films and one I can never tire of watching.  I love historical films, whether based on true stories or not. This is in the latter category. Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus were emperors of Rome which secured victory over the Germans shortly before Marcus Aurelius' death. But the rest is pretty much all fiction, spectacularly good fiction. There is some similarity to the Fall of the Roman Empire and Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, both of which are based around the story of a Roman general urged to make himself emperor after defeating the Germanic tribes.

 

Ridley Scott is one of my favourite directors, his films always look amazing. I'm not quite sure why, I don't know much about the technical stuff, but the colour in his films always looks better than most others. The sets and costumes are amazing in this as well, definitely worthy of the awards they won. The music is hauntingly great and really adds to the atmosphere, and as for the cast, it's hard to think of a better one all round. Russell Crowe does what he does best as a caring tough guy, but it's the supporting cast that really make it special. Joaquin Phoenix is a brilliant villain, and then you have amazing performances in lesser roles from Richard Harris, Oliver Reed (who death could not quite stop from finishing the film), Derek Jacobi, David Hemmings (The Colosseum 'MC'), etc.

 

The opening battle is fantastic as are the various gladiatorial combat scenes. My favourite scene has to be the re-enactment of the fall of Carthage (the first Colosseum scene). It has one of the most memorable lines in cinema, “My name is ….. “ and I love Commadus' comment to Cassius that weren't the Romans supposed to win? The film maybe loses a little bit in the last third or so, but I think that's just because I realise it is going to have to end eventually.

 

 

I'm sure it will be no suprise to anyone that I give this 10/10.

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TheBoyBry

Fun fact;

When I was at University in Portsmouth there was a wanted advert in the student union bar for film extras. My friend signed up, but I didn’t because I didn’t want to miss any lectures. He went along to some woods near Farnham about 45 mins up the road. He ended up being dressed up as a Roman soldier fighting against the Germanic tribes. I think he got about £30 for it. I should have gone along! 

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LimeGreenLegend
50 minutes ago, TheBoyBry said:

I didn’t want to miss any lectures

revenge of the nerds GIF

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Con
6 hours ago, LimeGreenLegend said:

revenge of the nerds GIF

LMFAO! :D 

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Con
On 11/16/2019 at 4:45 PM, TheBoyBry said:

Fun fact;

When I was at University in Portsmouth there was a wanted advert in the student union bar for film extras. My friend signed up, but I didn’t because I didn’t want to miss any lectures. He went along to some woods near Farnham about 45 mins up the road. He ended up being dressed up as a Roman soldier fighting against the Germanic tribes. I think he got about £30 for it. I should have gone along! 

Fun Fact #2....I was listening to the Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe commentary and they mention how great the extras were during filming. Especially for those scenes vs the Germanic tribes. They mention that the extras were quality and really added to the film as everyone seemed to take it serious. They also mention it helped recruiting local folks that still do war reenactments in their free time, as those extras needed very little training in battle choreography. I plan on watching the film next week when im on vacation. 

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Con

Gladiator (2000 A.D.)

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  This film is beautiful in it's visuals and story. Let's talk visuals first...I just enjoyed the color palette of this film, it really added an extra element for me as I enjoyed the moments where my eyes scanned the scenes and took all the details in...sure they did a poor job during some of the shoot as it was jarring to spot the guy in jeans standing next to a film camera during the "Aren't you entertained" scene, yes, I know, if you blink you'll miss the mistakes but it doesn't make them go away. Another amazing element was the sound design and music score, especially during the heavy moments, the score during those moments made me glad I was peeling onions at the same time. I really enjoyed the pace of this film, it never halts to a crawl and moves along steadily towards its resolution. The fights were choreographed expertly and while we do get some shaky-cam, most of the fights are clear and we can follow what was going on. The costumes were also amazing and I learned through the director/actor commentary that Joaquin Phoenix suddenly felt he wasn't right for the role of Commodus as he didn't feel he was conveying the role properly and was going to leave the project and one of the things he disliked was his wardrobe as it didn't make him feel like Commodus, so they redesigned all his wardrobe and with his input produced what we see in the film and glad they convinced him to stay because he delivers an amazing performance. Sure he was the most hated villain in the story but I could not help but empathize with him as he reminded me of those kids I grew up with who had these ignorant fathers who forced them into sports when they had zero athletic ability and then were expected to excel at the sport and when they don't, resentment sets in for everyone. Many an asshole is born because parents forced them into activities they didn't want to take part in. I felt his performance tip-toed that fine line between maniac and neglected child. In general, the acting was very good by everyone including the extras, and really went a long way in selling the illusion that we were in the Roman Empire.

I felt the film had great pacing...as any time the story slowed down, it wasn't for very long and we went right back into the thick of things. I appreciated the filmmaker keeping everything easy to follow, unlike in that film "Dune" which I felt lacked cohesion and some needed exposition. So many people love this film and rightfully so, that I don't think I can add anything more about the technical aspects without getting into my negatives. So let's first talk about the moments I loved the most...you would think it was the fighting and the gore but I actually found that whole notion silly and am glad I didn't live in that time period, I cannot imagine dying solely for the entertainment of some asshole eating grapes in a stadium.

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 The parts of the film that really hit me hard were the scenes with the little figurines of his family...I had forgotten about that element in the film and those little props really messed me up and was glad I had just gotten sawdust in my eyes at that same time. lmao. I mean, here is this brave warrior and his most prized possessions were those figurines. When Maximus (Russell Crowe) first reveals them to us, I felt so sad for dude, I mean, it wasn't like he could pick up a phone and hear her voice or see a photo. Of course my ultimate favorite scene was when Juba (Djimon Hounsou) buries the figurines in the ground...I  felt it was just the perfect touch, I mean, the hope being that the family reunited is nice...but sadder if you believe it is not possible or don't buy into the heaven concept, how sad is it to think that was it...he never saw his family alive ever again...and all for what----someone else's kingdom? I mean, even if Marcus Aureluis (Richard Harris) hadn't been betrayed, I felt Maximus would still have rejected the offer and would have went home, he wasn't just eager to get home because of family, he loved the land he lived on, and I like that he mentions the harvests and crops he is able to grow on his land. This added credibility to why he wouldn't have just accepted Marcus'  offer and just moved his family to live in the palace. He wanted to go back home, plain and simple. I truly enjoyed all the themes presented in this story, from revenge to family love nd betrayal. Did i mention how perfect the ending to this film is??? I mean, the entire scene from start to the very last line Juba says was just so powerful and moving. We all had lost Maximus, but we go on, we live on, whether we like it or not. Just like in real life when we lose a friend or family member, that was deep for a film to leave me reflecting on something like that. 

How good was the "Busy Little Bees" scene when Commodus confronts Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) through her son Lucius (Spencer Treat Clark) as he tells him about Emperor Claudius being betrayed by family...."the little bee told him everything...." ! Just a Fantastic moment!!!! Had it not been for those figurines, that would have been my fave scene in the film. 

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 Being that there are so many reviews out there already that focus on the positives and I'd just be repeating those same sentiments so let's move on to some of my personal negatives. The biggest thing that bothered me was just how anonymous Maximus seemed to be when he arrived in Rome to fight in the colosseum. Here is this legendary general, I mean, the guy was so close and beloved by the Emperor that the Emperor wanted Maximus to inherit the leadership role over his own son! This meant that Maximus must have been well known throughout and yes there wasn't media per say, but there was art and someone would have passed around an image of Rome's most successful war general. These were wars he led to conquer land for the empire...Maximus was a huge deal but no one knew him in Spain, which by then was property of Rome, or no one recognized him in the Roman province he is taken to after he is sold to Antonius Proximo (Oliver Reed) and worse, no one recognized him back in any of the other provinces ? Even once in Rome, no one recognized him during training or mingling with the gladiator slaves and servants? And it bothered me even more once Rome knew who he was and didn't riot or question what they were told about what had happened to him. Were they told he had been killed because he was a traitor or were they told he just left the kingdom, abandoned the Empire. I just felt it was just so matter-of-fact and I get it it was necessary to tell the specifics of the story and I know that Maximus if finally recognized by Cisero (Tommy Flannagan) and finally gets a plan to break him out, but what about anyone else recognizing the most decorated general in the Roman army? I think Commodus should have stood up and told the people, "Don't cheer for this traitor. He deserted YOU!!" but the crowd still sides with Maximus eventually....that would have fixed that for me. Now it is possible that I missed the time lapse and they mention how many years had gone by but it certainly felt it was under 3-5 years and people would have still remembered the great general especially in that province before he heads to Rome and I could buy his anonymity there since he clearly states that he had never been to Rome, but still, it's not like he went to Africa instead of Rome. The other thing that bothered me was that first battle. I get that the barbarians might have not had the same organization and would stand there and shout while the Roman army prepared for battle. But it was hilarious to see the barbarians still yelling while arrows and balls of fire are landing on them, I was like, "no wonder these dudes won these wars". My only other issue with the film is some of the mistakes that were missed in the post-production. I mean, there were some real careless moments and nothing took me out of that world more than seeing that guy in jeans in the colosseum. I know no one is perfect and all of that and cant kill Ridley for missing those mistakes and the film still won Best Picture so it didn't hurt the film's popularity but I can't unsee the mistakes. 

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Final Verdict...5/5...name a better Gladiator movie, I'll wait. Overall, Gladiator is an amazing experience and besides those moments that took me out of the immersion, I still really enjoyed the beauty of the imagery and subtlety in the acting, like when we first see Maximus in the forest and he spots that little bird and when he sees that colorful bird surrounded by all that darkness and charred remains of the forest, he smiles when he sees the bird fly away, the way he wishes he could, but we don't know that at the start so we just dismiss the moment. I think everyone involved should be proud of what they produced, even the extras, they were strong in all the scenes. I was not bothered by historical inaccuracies and perhaps that's due to my lack of knowledge of the time period but either way, it wasn't based on a true story and just based on real people that did exist back then.  I found it hilariously ironic that the same kid that prevented Maximus from killing Commodus----- is the one responsible for Commodus getting wind of the plan being made to break Maximus out. Hence thwarting it before it even began. Lesson learned: do not talk about taking down the emperor if you are around children, cause them little bastard crumb snatchers will open their mouths and ruin it for you. 

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