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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film Handlers' Movie Reviews   » Gladiator (Page 1)

 
This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3 
 
Author Topic: Gladiator
Michael Barry
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 584
From: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 05-04-2000 12:16 PM      Profile for Michael Barry   Email Michael Barry   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Plot: 'You killed my brother/father/mother. Now prepare to die'. See my review of ROMEO MUST DIE.

Running Time: 155 minutes

Scene One: Opens with huge set piece. This is not present day; this is signified by monochrome photography and smoke machines. Many close-ups and fast cutting without any sense of geography (ie. directed by one of the Scott Brothers). Cue skip-frame photography and telegraph-all-emotions kitschy score so that it now resembles a music video.

The rest of the film consists of: obligatory dialogue scene, then gladiator action scene, then obligatory dialogue scene, then gladiator action scene, etc, etc...until the two head honchos finally do battle with each other. The dialogue scenes are boring, obvious, inconsequential, completely lacking in crackling dialogue or one-liners, humourless, useless, ham-fisted and totally devoid of genuine emotion (as opposed to sentimentality, of which there is plenty). Because the plot is absolutely obvious and foreshadowed from scene one, you can go to sleep during any of these scenes and have no trouble playing join-the-dots, fill-in-the blanks scriptwriting-by-committee.

Snore...um, hmmm...what's happening? oh, another fight scene! Cool! You too can cheer and applaud as people get their heads chopped off and are gored in multiple ways! If you see it in a cinema which features stadium seating, you too can recreate what it must have been like sitting in that colloseum. Isn't it amazing how far we've evolved? People used to go to the colloseum to cheer on brutality for entertainment value. Whereas now, people go to cheer on a movie about people cheering on brutality for entertainment value. My, how things have changed since those medieval times. Are we having fun yet? And a great big round of applause goes to Russell Crowe for beheading that man in the arena. Bravo!

Sometimes, the gladiator will have visions about his past, only they closely resemble River Phoenix's visions from Gus Van Sant's 'My Own Private Idaho'. Oh, well, it's the thought that counts, even if they're not your own.

Once the villian is defeated, do we roll credits? God no! First, we must telegraph the ending by at least 10 minutes with a few tearful scenes and some more sentimentality. This is an important and epic picture...it's epic and it's important. You must never forget that. Now that you have that down, we can finally roll credits. Cue house lights, curtains, ring up cash register so that Dreamworks/Universal stockholders can skim the till. The End.

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Dustin Mitchell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1865
From: Mondovi, WI, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 05-04-2000 06:16 PM      Profile for Dustin Mitchell   Email Dustin Mitchell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Unless there's been a sneak you probably shouldn't have posted this until tommorrow.

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John Wilson
Film God

Posts: 5435
From: Sydney, Australia.
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 05-04-2000 06:34 PM      Profile for John Wilson   Email John Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This has been out here now for two days, so I'm not sure that rule applies in this instance.

I have a complete 180 degree take on Michael's review. This is a great film which signals the return to form of a great director. Even Russel Crowe is good and Hans Zimmer's score makes me want to buy the soundtrack right away (or at least download an MP3 )

The fight/battle scenes a very well staged and edited and though it is very violent, we are spared prolonged shots after the fact.

The CGI in the film is very good and looks real. It is also used in appropriate places, unlike that slop Star Wars.

And judging by our first day, I'd be getting an extra box office person or two 'cos you're gonna need them. A Thursday night and we topped the 760 patron mark.

All who've seen it seem to like it.

It's a story about a Gladiator, Michael. Not Bambi.

PS: Speaking of Star Wars, did anyone see Letterman the other night? You know how he puts products on his desk with new and improved marketing techniques? Well, he had the video for Phantom Menace and his had a sticker on the front cover which said...'Sucks even worse than you remember!'
Had a good laugh at that one.
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"It's not the years honey, it's the mileage".
Indiana Jones.

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Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

Posts: 12859
From: Denver, Colorado
Registered: May 99


 - posted 05-05-2000 05:31 AM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I enjoyed Gladiator. Sure, it is not without its flaws, but I was able to overlook most of them. But to me it was just enjoyable. I really enjoyed the Colliseum scenes. The story was enough to keep me involved. Also, I really enjoyed the soundtrack and must get it right away! MP3 wouldn't do it justice, since MP3 is a lossy, compressed sound format. Yuck. (MP3 is great for sampling music or getting unobtainable product, though).

I recommend The Gladiator.

I think that perhaps Micheal was disappointed because it was violent. At least that is what it seems like, comparing movie audiences in stadium seating theatres to crowds in Rome. Violence will always be a part of human nature, no matter what. I will admit that watching such violence, when it is filmed well, is fun and exciting. It's better to watch it than to do it in real life (two completely different things). But I am hardly barbaric for thinking so. Like I said, it's human nature. And it's a HUGE part of history, so films are definitely going to be made with violence. History is cool. It is, by far, the best teacher.

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Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17638
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 05-05-2000 06:08 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't think the night before is really a problem here. It's someone posting days or weeks ahead of the release date with information that could be damaging to the success of a really bad movie. That's why the studios never run screenings on movies that really suck. They must rely on every dollar they can make that first weekend before word gets out.

Anyway, in reference to Gladiator, all I could think of during this flick was a line which I will now quote:
"Horrible, deploric violence is ok...so long as there isn't any naughty words!" -Sheila Broflowski from SouthPark

I think Michael summed up the movie for me. I was genuinely bored through most of the dialogue scenes. I didn't much care who lived or who died. At least the violence was enough to keep me in my seat. Sad, isn't it?

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Paul Konen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 981
From: Frisco, TX. (North of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 05-05-2000 08:45 AM      Profile for Paul Konen   Email Paul Konen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A couple of times I thought I was watching a Star Wars Training Scene. Maximus talking to , I believe was Proximo, and it seemed like Luke talking to Yoda.

Yoda: "Embrace the crowd you shall"

Good movie none the less.

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Tyler Skinner
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 115
From: Pa
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 05-05-2000 12:25 PM      Profile for Tyler Skinner   Email Tyler Skinner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I really enjoyed this movie. There were only a couple of things that bothered me. One, I didn't like the ending where they had to have the gladiator fight the caesar, historically it just wouldn't happen. Two, the line Pheaonix used that was right from the trailer

Otherwise it was great! Great CGI, flawlessly mixed with the live action. Great cast, beautiful score (same guy that did thin red line by the way!!) The dialogue wasn't slow, its juat that the Gladiator stuff was VERY outweighed and intense. The dialogue was good though, very well photographed, good to look at. I loved the flashbacks/ heaven shots , very sureal, reminded me of The Messanger in parts.


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Ian Price
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1714
From: Denver, CO
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 05-05-2000 02:25 PM      Profile for Ian Price   Email Ian Price   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you can tell it's CGI, is it great?

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Tyler Skinner
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 115
From: Pa
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 05-06-2000 02:18 AM      Profile for Tyler Skinner   Email Tyler Skinner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, because its not whether you can tell if its CGI, its looking at a shot and realizing that there's no way they can actually film the colluseum the way it was 2000 years ago, but how it looks on film is still flawless. You know it is CGI but only because of inability to have it on film without using CGI.

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Dwayne Caldwell
Master Film Handler

Posts: 323
From: Rockwall, TX, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 05-06-2000 02:39 AM      Profile for Dwayne Caldwell   Email Dwayne Caldwell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think Ridley Scott is overrated. Of all the films he’s done, I’ve only enjoyed two. Alien and Thelma and Louise. Everything else he’s done, I’ve hated. And Gladiator actually falls somewhere between the two extremes. The battle scenes were choppy and as poorly composed as those in The Thirteenth Warrior or The Messenger. The dialogue scenes were slow and reminiscent of Shakespearean prose except worse. And the scenes where Maximus is half dead and floating weirdly above the ground along with the cutaways of The Elysian Fields were typical of those Calvin Klein moments that Ridley seems to excel in (and sucks because he does). And I didn’t like the fact the DP and Scotty decided to go with that de-saturated look for the afterlife scene. It makes the venerable Elysian Fields look bleak and disappointing. They should have gone for a more colorful presentation to show just how wonderful the Roman afterlife is. Maybe even put in a little hint of diffusion though not too much lest it look like a cheesy dream sequence. And the Colosseum’s exterior looks better in the trailer than it actually does in the movie. They’d have been better off using a damn matte painting.

The only time I really felt involved in the movie at all was during the two Colosseum scenes where Maximus takes the swords out of his opponent’s chest and cleaves the man’s head off and when one of the archers gets sliced in half by the protruding blade affixed to one of the chariot wheels. In fact I was so involved I screamed aloud in delight (I was alone of course). And I guess that goes to show I’m no better than the people of Rome in those days of bread and circus. And maybe realizing that the violence was entertaining to people like me was the point Ridley was trying to make. I mean the only real point to the movie (besides Maximus trying to get his revenge of course) was to show the precarious struggle by the Emperor and the Senate to gain favor of the people that must be kept entertained (lest they tear themselves apart) by the Gladiators like Maximus who they all love and praise for his violence. And we cheer (or are supposed to cheer) along with them. The only difference though is we know the people killed in the movie are still alive in real life.

I have a pretty good idea why they didn’t depict the tradition of feeding Christians to the lions while playing the hydraulos (an instrument so impressive, it could be heard a mile away). But where were the Roman bath house locales that could have been used during dialogue scenes between or among the politicians? And I didn’t see any handshakes in the traditional Roman manner (grasping each others forearm right above the wrist). I kept expecting Oliver Reed’s character Proximo to bite the dust any moment since he died early in the film’s production, so if they ever decided to go with CGI-ing his face like they proposed to do after he died, they did a hell of a job, and he even sounds like Oliver all through the film. Of course, I’m sure they just cut out some scenes and reworked the storyline instead, but at any rate it’s a shame he died because of all the performances in the movie, his was the best. Of course Russell Crowe did a good job too (he’s just awesome in anything he does), but I was drawn away from the seriousness of the movie for a brief moment when I first discovered his name to be Maximus and thought of the name Naughtus Maximus in Monty’s Python’s Life of Brian. That started a chain reaction in my mind that led to the Biggus Dickus scene, and I had to use all my concentration to block it out and focus on the movie at hand. Several laughs escaped though.

The music was excellent, although I think that a few cues were a little inappropriate to the content of the film. Particularly the end title music with Lisa Gerrard’s vocals accompanying the last of the movie. And that’s strange because it’s my favorite track in the score. It just feels a little out of whack in the movie. More British than Roman (damn that Ridley). There was a cue to the Gladiators first filing out of the tunnel onto the Colosseum stage that had elements of Gustav Hoist’s classical piece Mars- The Bringer of War, and that’s very apropos to that scene. But that final confrontation between Crowe and Phoenix was pretty stupid. Kind of reminded me a bit of the duel in Rob Roy. I think Tyler’s right about a battle between a Gladiator and a Caesar just not happening. And I didn’t even cheer or feel satisfied when Phoenix died and Crowe got his revenge which is the whole damn driving force behind the story. This movie would have been better if Ridley Scott had no affiliation with it whatsoever. Can’t wait to see what that man screws up next. The movie, overall, wasn't that bad, but it could have been a hell of a lot better. Mel Gibson should have directed Gladiator. After all, it’s basically a Roman Braveheart. Surely, he could have made the movie’s two and a half hours more interesting. And the battle scenes would have been more lucid.


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The man with the magic hands.


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Tyler Skinner
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 115
From: Pa
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 05-07-2000 12:22 AM      Profile for Tyler Skinner   Email Tyler Skinner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ridley Scott is tied to Hannibal if I'm not mistaken... There's a bad idea in the making. Love how they have a trailer for it when it hasn't even started shooting.

BTW, The Critereon DVD of Life of Brian is Awesome, I had to chuckle a little bit too, "Do you have a pwobwem....with my fwend...Biggus....Dickus???

Anyway, I liked this better than U-Piece of shit-571. Russel Crowe is a badass Muthus Fuckus.

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Dwayne Caldwell
Master Film Handler

Posts: 323
From: Rockwall, TX, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 05-07-2000 01:01 AM      Profile for Dwayne Caldwell   Email Dwayne Caldwell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Is that criterion DVD of Life of Brian any different from the DVD that just has the 1.85 format of the movie and the trailer, or is that the one you're talking about, Tyler? Because I just bought that DVD, and I'll be pissed if there's a criterion version that has all sorts of shit that I don't have.

Just had to throw in that U-571 remark in, didn't you?

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The man with the magic hands.


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Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17638
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 05-07-2000 04:16 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
I think we should get Dwayne and Tyler together to do a movie review show. Everyone remember how entertaining it was when Siskel and Ebert disagreed on a movie? I'm getting the impression here these two would make a darned fine match for entertainment purposes.

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Tyler Skinner
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 115
From: Pa
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 05-07-2000 03:05 PM      Profile for Tyler Skinner   Email Tyler Skinner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah the Critereon has a whole bunch of added stuff (sorry) it was released back in January. It has Comentary by all the living pythons, Cut scenes, trailers, and a 1 hour BBC documentary about the making of the movie. Good disc to pick up.

And I did some research, the Caesar Commudus did actually die in a gladiator fight to the general of the northern armies but Gladiator was way out of context still. Entertaining however.


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Curtis Barnes
Film Handler

Posts: 15
From: Laguna Hills, CA, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 05-07-2000 09:36 PM      Profile for Curtis Barnes   Email Curtis Barnes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I enjoyed Gladiator. I don't think that there is any reason for me to ever sit through it again, but it was a fun movie. U-571 is way better. Anyone can see that. I know that deep-down, Tyler loves U-571. I betcha anything. Or maybe he is a U-571-o-phobe. He should come out of the closet. But at least we agree on Gladiator to some degree.


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