20. Gladiator (2000)




Roger's Rating :


Should be :


I remember how much I enjoyed this movie when I first saw at the theater. I had my mouth open during the first battle scene against the Germanic tribes. When Maximus said : "Unleash hell", I could see, hear and almost feel the might of ancient Rome. I really thought it was a great movie, but Roger disagreed.
He said :
A foolish choice in art direction casts a pall over Ridley Scott's Gladiator that no swordplay can cut through. The film looks muddy, fuzzy and indistinct. Its colors are mud tones at the drab end of the palette, and it seems to have been filmed on grim and overcast days. This darkness and a lack of detail in the long shots helps obscure shabby special effects (the Colosseum in Rome looks like a model from a computer game), and the characters bring no cheer: They're bitter, vengeful, depressed. By the end of this long film, I would have traded any given gladiatorial victory for just one shot of blue skies.
He goes on to say : "But Gladiator lacks joy. It employs depression as a substitute for personality, and believes that if the characters are bitter and morose enough, we won't notice how dull they are."
I couldn't disagree with Roger more on this review. Sure, Gladiator wasn't a happy movie, but I found that refreshing. Dull is one of the last words that comes to mind when I think of this movie. I still get chills when I hear Maximus say : "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. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next."
Roger also some issues with the looks of the this movie. He thought it looked "muddy, fuzzy and indistinct". It did however win an Oscar for Visual Effects and was nominated for Best Cinematography. It also won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Costume Design and Best Sound. It was also nominated for Oscars for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Director, Best Editing, Best Music, Original Score and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.
I don't think this movie was as good as Spartacus or Ben-Hur but I'd have trouble to come up with another movie in this genre that I liked better.
And I'm probably not alone. Currently it has an 8.3 rating on IMDB and is ranked 102nd best movie of all time. It also has a 77% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Roger only gave this great escapist action flic 2 stars. At the Movies guest critic Joyce Kulhawik was stunned by Roger's negative review (as am I). Why are you such a Gladiator-hater Roger?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

"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. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next."

Whenever I hear this, I'm reminded that I'm listening to an Australian actor giving a prepared monologue. It's even carefully worded to avoid talking about which particular afterlife the audience may know about, or believe in.

Even accounting for the difference of language, did you really believe Crowe's character would talk like this? It's clumsy writing and destroys the illusion that the costumes and sets worked so hard to create.

crashby said...

Sorry, I have to agree with Ebert here. I've tried and tried with this movie and I still don't like it.

JM said...

It really should be 2 stars max. Russel Crowe plays Russell Crowe and the movie feels completely removed from history and reality.

Anonymous said...

The movie wants to avoid talking about which particular after life? I guess the Romans wanted to avoid this as well given there was just one after life, no heaven or hell if that is to what you refer.

The movie feels removed from history and reality? Please read about Emperors Marcus Aurelious and his son Commudus before making such uninformed and contradictory assertion.

Russel Crowe plays Russell Crowe? Do you mean Romper Stomper Russell Crowe or Beautiful Mind Russell Crowe?

The movie is hardly a Shakespearean Julius Caesar but it was entertaining.

Strength & Honor

Rajesh Joshi said...

I didn't like this film at all when it first came out. It was critically acclaimed as well as a big box office draw, for a long time I thought my judgement was poor. I couldn't defend my position when debating it with friends. That is, till I stumbled upon Roger's review. He has articulated exactly how I felt about the film. That such a great critic would feel likewise, makes me feel vindicated. Thank you Roger!

Rajesh Joshi said...

I didn't like this film at all when it first came out. It was critically acclaimed as well as a big box office draw, for a long time I thought my judgement was poor. I couldn't defend my position when debating it with friends. That is, till I stumbled upon Roger's review. He has articulated exactly how I felt about the film. That such a great critic would feel likewise, makes me feel vindicated. Thank you Roger!

Anonymous said...

2000's Gladiator Is One Of My Favorite Films.

Anonymous said...

2 stars might have been a touch harsh, but i'm more in agreement with Ebert here than you.

Aaron King said...

I think that Ebert was generous with 2 stars... and I LOVE Ridley Scott, but this movie is hot garbage.

Resu Reggin said...

IMDB and generally everyone else disagrees with that negative consensus. It's actually held in higher regard than Braveheart, and that has plenty of flaws as well.


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