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A 2000 movie starring Russell Crowe

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Well, the chariot battle was good...

  • Mar 28, 2001
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Gladiator has somehow garnered adulation. It snagged the Oscar for Best Picture (no mean feat), made lots of money, and collected a reasonable share of critical acclaim. But even after watching it (twice), I steadfastly stick to my conclusion that Gladiator is not a great movie...not even a good one.

Gladiator holds promise for a heroic story with a liberal dosing of medieval battles. In the end, I am left with a feeling that the film is a blatant retread of Braveheart and other more successful varieties of the "hero fighting for freedom and revenge" plot. Our hero, Maximus, spouts several turgid speeches that sound as if they were ripped directly from Braveheart, and his lack of emotional power render his recitations tepid and uninspiring. Maximus' forgettable dearth of emotionalized feeling when his family is mercilessly slaughtered is nauseating. Crowe's entire role is too halfhearted (he won Best Actor!?!?), helped little by the mimetic script. Don't even get me started on the implicit affection between Maximus and the emperor's sister, which was retch-inducingly contrived.

The battle scenes are ambitious in their orchestration, but ultimately they are filmed poorly thanks to erratic camera movement that forsake clarity or the exhilarating involvement of, say, Saving Private Ryan. Admittedly, the chariot battle is stunning, with its breathless sense of urgency that the filmmakers captured here. But why didn't they do it for the rest of the movie? It doesn't help that the different battles seem like disparate events unforgivingly adhered to an existing story line to add violent physical conflict. What Maximus is fighting for becomes unclear amidst the series of battles, which lack fiery emotional intensity that SHOULD be present when someone is fighting for freedom and revenege. One area that deserves accolade is the incredible sound. All around, you can hear arrows whiz by, the cacophony of clashing steel, and anguished screams. Very impressive!

And then comes the big kick in the face: the woeful anticlimax. I won't go into detail, but prepare to be disappointed. Suffice to say, Maximus becomes a martyr, but what did he accomplish? Bad, regurgitated speeches? Passionless action? Great work!

Gladiator may have been a better movie if it had been thirty minutes shorter, cut out the sordid insinuations of romance, and had more chariot battles. But when you're making a big Hollywood blockbuster, you've gotta have reams of dross to guarantee it sells.

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More Gladiator reviews
review by . September 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
From the moment the movie starts the imagery grabs the audience and draws them in with action.  The movie keeps the audience interested in what is going on with strong performances of Russel Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Neilsen, Djimon Hounsou, and many others.  All emotions were felt as real from the actors.  The fight scenes were filmed showing the power and the emotion of the soldiers, not just the fighting for the sake of it.   Crowe's performance brought me close …
Quick Tip by . July 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This is one of the few that touched my heart to much that it made me cry.
Quick Tip by . June 14, 2010
favorite line: what you do in life echoes in eternity
review by . May 17, 2009
Gladiator is an overrated nightmare. Whoever wrote this screenplay did not research their history very well. The acting was mediocre and it's filled with numerous flaws and wholesale gaps of logic. I hate when film makers do this. Why not make it a farce. People (like me) would have accepted it as such if they did. If you're going to do a report or a research paper on the Roman Empire, you'll fail if you copy from this movie. But, I was impressed with the recreation of the games in the Roman Colosseum.  & …
review by . May 27, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Gladiator is one of my favorite movies. It has action, drama, great cinematography, outstanding fight scenes, love, great acting, and most importantly, it's a great story.For those who haven't seen it I don't want to give away the entire plot. Briefly, Maximus, the virtuous and victorious commander of the Roman army over the Visigoths, is asked by the dying Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, to become the protectorate of Rome upon his death and return the rule of law to the Senate, making Rome once again …
review by . August 12, 2003
My rating indicates my regard for this film in terms of its entertainment value. The plot is essentially uncomplicated and too often predictable. There is almost no character development. And there is only one conflict, really, whose resolution occurs long after the most thrilling action has occurred. However, Russell Crowe's performance as Maximus is (no pun intended) commanding, the special effects are first-rate, and -- from beginning to end -- this film is visually stunning. The plot (such as …
review by . January 27, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
Many years ago, Hollywood mass produced epic movies that were not only monuments of spectacle, but also contained meaningful messages that gave films moral magnitude as well. There are several reasons why Hollywood stopped making epic movies and just a few short years ago the great movie epic was said to be dead.Well, the great movie epic is back. It began with BRAVEHEART in 1995 and reached new and different heights with SAVING PRIVATE RYAN in 1998. The tradition coninues with GLADIATOR.GLADIATOR …
review by . February 23, 2001
Goodbye, to another hard hit-negative review. Here is the revision of a review written months ago. Gladiator is a delivery of a story told in the form of many movies, but not in character. Maximus is a man troubled with loves past and desires nothing but to go home once the barbarians are destroyed. Before granting his wish the Emporer asks him to take rule of Rome, Leaving his own son without a throne. Joaquin Pheonix plays a terrific sadistic maniac that would do anything to claim the throne, …
review by . September 07, 2000
Pros: Non-stop action, good plot twists     Cons: Minor plot hicups     The Roman Empire, third and largest of the three ancient Western Empires (Greece and Egypt being the other two), was at a turning point at the time of Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus death in 177 AD (CE). Emperor of the Roman Empire from 161 to 180, Marcus Aurelius (his shortened name), was considered an accomplished leader who was responsible for securing the Roman …
review by . July 18, 2000
Pros: Roman epic!     Cons: none     What a powerhouse film. I am so glad that a true Roman era epic can still make a splash. I have heard many comparisions to Brave Heart but i disagree. Other than the brief fighting scenes in the beginning of the film, but that's about it.      The real meaning of this film is of longing for home and family. A simple but great man who fights in Rome's legions only to find that life is meaningless without …
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Clayton Reeder ()
Rogue capitalist in search of all that is interesting, weird, or beautiful.      Collected here are my hundreds of reviews from Amazon.com, covering mostly music that is offensive … more
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Ridley Scott (BLADE RUNNER, ALIEN) transports Hollywood to second-century Rome in this rousing historical epic that proudly hearkens back to such films as BEN-HUR and SPARTACUS. Russell Crowe plays Maximus, a Roman general who leads the troops in conquering Germania for the empire. When an aging Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) tells Maximus that he'd like him to rule Rome once he's gone, a classic confrontation ensues between the brave and charming soldier--who wants to return home to his wife, son, and farm--and the jealous and conniving Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), the emperor's only son, who is thirsty for power. Bought as a slave by the profiteering Proximo (Oliver Reed, in his last role), Maximus must kill or be killed in the ring, battling to save not only himself but the future of the very empire that he loves and honors. The film features a terrific battle sequence (that recalls the beginning of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN), huge crowd scenes of thousands of people, and even a little romance, albeit mostl...
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