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The Eagle

A movie directed by Kevin Macdonald

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Reviewed: The Eagle [2011]

  • May 6, 2011
Rating:
+2
12A - 114mins - Adventure/Drama - 25th March 2011

Now I'm not great at working out whether this was historically accurate or not so that's not going to be affect the way I rate this new movie. I'm just going to assume that all was well unless someone cares to correct me in my ignorance? Except for the fact that thumbs up in a gladiatorial ring means kill (simulates thrusting the sword up into the body) and thumbs down means live... can't let that one slide, ever! As for whether this was based on a true story or not, I will leave that to the real journalists.

The Eagle is set in Roman occupied Britain in 140AD 20 years after the mysterious disappearance of the whole Ninth Legion in the glens and mountains of Scotland. It follows a Roman centurion, Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) and early on we are introduced to the fact that Marucs's father was standard bearer of the eagle for the Ninth Legion and that, when they along with the eagle, disappeared in the Scottish highlands disrepute was brought to the family of Aquila. Longing to be close to where his father disappeared and to restore his family honour, Marcus hot off the training camp for Roman centurions has requested that his first post be at the edge of the known world near Hadrian's wall, far from the choice any sane man would pick.

Eventually we are introduced to Esca (Jamie Bell) who is indebted to Marcus after having had his life saved by him and becomes his slave as penance. Together they set off to try and recover the lost eagle which forms an intriguing relationship development between the two characters as Esca is forced to obey his Roman master despite his hatred for who he is and what he stands for. This pairing results in an unpredictable plot with Esca's true intentions well hidden throughout.

The main crux of the story seems to be twofold with the development of this relationship between the two men and the desire shown by Marcus to restore the honour of his father and seek closure through the recovery of the eagle. Tatum shines in his part and you can sense the driving passion he has for his cause whilst Bell conveys his internal struggle over his split loyalties well. Other notable acting merit goes to Donald Sutherland for his bit part as the uncle of Marcus.

As a whole the battles portrayed are well choreographed and the cameras thrust you up close and personal with the warriors whilst they fight. In what seems to be a developing trend, the cameras are shaky and unsteady giving that sense you are actually there. The director Macdonald intentionally kept CGI to a minimum and it has paid off with the movie seemingly more realistic for it. The gore is not excessive and allows for the actual fighting to take centre stage rather than how red they can turn the battlefield which I liked.

The Scottish tribes play their part as a conceivable enemy during the film and speak in the native Gaelic tongue which is a nice touch that is less seen now as directors tend to swap to English after a brief dialogue to make it easier on the audience. It was also nice to see that the tribes that crossed paths with our main protagonists each had a different personality and feel about them rather than all being clumped together as Celts and getting portrayed as one generic group.

This movie although set in Roman times is less about the history and bureaucracy of Rome and more about the journey that two men take. It's a solid movie with good acting and fighting scenes but it starts to lag slightly in the middle. I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it if there were other choices available but you could do a lot worse.

Rating: 6.5/10

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May 10, 2011
I have mixed feelings about this movie. The ambition in the script was there, but something was just missing. Nice review!
 
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More The Eagle reviews
review by . February 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Honor and Loyalty Is All About Choices and Stand By Those Choices....
Stories about honor and courage. A lot of us have all been there. I have to admit I went to “The Eagle” with extra low expectations since I was never a fan of Channing Tatum (Fighting) but though it doesn’t say that this is a terrific film, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t horrible. Adapted from the story “The Eagle of the Ninth” (book one of Rosemary Sutclif's "Aquila Family Dolphin Ring" series), director Kevin MacDonald's film shares …
review by . March 17, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
The Ninth Legion needs a good map
What’s with it with the Ninth Legion? It keeps disappearing into the wilds of what now is Scotland. Once is bad enough (Centurion, which was bad enough), but twice?       The Eagle is the Ninth’s old story. The soldiers set out in 120 or so to bring some Roman peace to the Picts. They don’t come back, and neither does the Eagle standard, which means loss of honor to Rome and to the unfortunate commander of the Ninth. Twenty years later his son, Marcus (Channing …
review by . July 13, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**1/2 out of ****     I often enjoy a night at the movies where I can merely enjoy the sheer spectacle of a production rather than bask in some complex, consistent story. These experiences are much needed, as we all need a good form of escapism. However, even escapist entertainment must be well-made for me to fully enjoy it, and that's why I'm constantly disappointed by the majority of the movies that most would dismiss as, well, "escapist entertainment" (example: the recent …
review by . February 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   Back in the early second century, the Ninth Legion disappeared from history. The current going theory is that they were wiped out in combat in the Eastern Provinces, but there’s also a theory that they were destroyed fighting the Picts in what is now called Scotland. That’s the jumping-off point for The Eagle, a rather lightweight sword and sandals film staring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell. Tatum plays Marcus Flavius Aquila, son of the commander of the Ninth Legion. He’s …
review by . February 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         The Eagle is such a twenty-first century movie, and this is clear not only from the casting of American actors as Ancient Romans and the easily understood dialogue, but also from the beliefs the filmmakers apply to it – beliefs that, in all likelihood, weren’t shared by the vast majority of the populace nearly 2,000 years ago. The film explores, rather simplistically, themes of inequality, ignorance, and how imperialistic viewpoints …
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James ()
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I, like so many others, am a film lover with my own blog. Feel free to drop on by and have a read.      Website:http://www.fanaticalaboutfilms.com      Site Twitter: … more
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About this movie

Wiki

  • Opened February 11, 2011 | Runtime:1 hr. 54 min.
  • PG-13
    Battle sequences and some disturbing images
  • A Roman epic adventure, based on the classic novel of the same name, set in the dangerous world of second-century Britain. In 140 AD, twenty years after the unexplained disappearance of the entire Ninth Legion in the mountains of Scotland, young centurion Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) arrives from Rome to solve the mystery and restore the reputation of his father, the commander of the Ninth. Accompanied only by his British slave Esca (Jamie Bell) Marcus sets out across Hadrian’s Wall into the uncharted highlands of Caledonia – to confront its savage tribes, make peace with his father’s memory, and retrieve the lost legion’s golden emblem, the Eagle of the Ninth.
  • Cast: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Mark Strong, Tahar Rahim, Donald Sutherland
  • Director: Kevin Macdonald
  • Genres: Historical EpicAction
  • Poster art for "The Eagle"
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    Details

    Director: Kevin Macdonald
    Genre: Drama
    Release Date: 11 February 2011 (USA)
    MPAA Rating: PG-13
    Runtime: 114 min
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