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ROMAN EMPIRE -THE HISTORY... > THE ROMAN EMPIRE IN FILM

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 08, 2010 02:28AM) (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
This is a supplemental thread about the Roman Empire in film. Please feel free to watch movies which have the Roman Empire as their theme and discuss these films in relationship to the upcoming book discussion: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbon:

Here is a list of some of these movies:

http://www.romanhideout.com/cinema.asp

Have you seen any of these movies and what were each movie's strengths and weaknesses and what did you like and/or not like about any of them?

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 1 by Edward Gibbon Edward Gibbon Edward Gibbon


message 2: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) I've seen every one of those movies and have a few copies of some on DVD. My favourite's have been "Gladiator" and the HBO/BBC series "Rome". Another recent DVD documentary is; "Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire".

Product description:
Relive the fall of one of history's greatest civilizations. Filled with dramatic re-enactments and action-packed battle scenes, Rome: Rise and Fall of An Empire chronicles the dramatic story of one of history's greatest Empires, from its first major battle to its remarkable military feats and through to its eventual fall. Told from the point of view of the Roman people under violent attack, HISTORY™ takes viewers inside the fiery battles of a civilization crumbling in the face of brutal invasions. Vivid re-creations offer a first-hand look at the chaotic state of an empire in flames, while compelling characters on both sides fight for victory. Teeming streets, horseback battles, warring armies, and gladiatorial contests co-exist with magnificent tales of Roman debauchery and excess. From the producers of Barbarians, the devastating destruction of the Roman Empire is vividly brought to life. The series is action-driven, with large-scale re-enacted stories, full-blown battles, killer stunts, fire, destruction, and deeply compelling characters. DVDs about the Roman Empire are perennial best-sellers as demonstrated by Julius Caesar's Rome and the HBO series Rome. This Collection brings together four volumes and includes: The First Barbarian Warrior, Spartacus, Julius Caesar, The Forest Of Death, The Invasion of Britain, The Dacian Wars and Rebellion and Betrayal, Wrath of the Gods, The Soldiers' Emperor, Constantine the Great, The Barbarian General, The Puppet Master, The Last Emperor and Modern Marvels: Barbarian Battle Tech.


message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Thank you very much for that descriptor Aussie Rick. I appreciate it.


message 4: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3833 comments Mod
I just finished watching "Gladiator" for the 3rd (?) time and I love it. Also HBO's "Rome" is one of my favorites - I especially like the portrayal of young Octavian, it seems spot on.

A very funny movie, which unfortunately isn't available on DVD, is "Jupiter's Darling". It's a musical, with Howard Keel as Hannibal, and Esther Williams as his captive. Of course, there's swimming, as well as singing and dancing, with elephants (not in the swim parts, though). You might be able to catch it sometime on TCM.

I liked the recent Starz series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" - it may still be available On Demand. It's not very realistic but there's lots of hunky guys fighting as well as nudity, both male and female.


message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Vicki, all of those seem like good choices for different reasons and age groups.

Thank you for pointing out some of the differences in each of these selections; it helps the parents in the group decide what to watch if it is a family viewing.

Some of the old movies seem like a blast from the past and you have to wonder how our grandparents enjoyed them so much; but they did.


message 6: by Markus (new)

Markus | 7 comments I'm a big fan of the old BBC series 'I Claudius'. Although it is out-dated and sometimes so slow that it's almost painful to watch, in regard to story-telling the show is top notch. The acting is also outstanding, especially Derek Jacobis performance.
I think that the unmissible british undertone is also very fitting to Gibbons 'Decline and Fall'.

Concerning the movie list you posted I think the best of these seems to be Gladiator, although I'm not the biggest fan of this either. Quo vadis isn't a very good movie per se but the outstanding hilarious presentation of Nero by Ustinov redeems the whole film. I haven't seen Rome but I hope I can fetch it in the near future.


message 7: by Audrey (new)

Audrey (audrey_g) | 4 comments I Claudius was excellent and I agree that Gladiator is very well done. Has anyone seen the Robe? That is also very excellent.


message 8: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3833 comments Mod
Spartacus (the original one with Kirk Douglas) is interesting, although Crassus was never like he was portrayed by Laurence Olivier. Still, the "I am Spartacus" scene is great.


message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Audrey wrote: "I Claudius was excellent and I agree that Gladiator is very well done. Has anyone seen the Robe? That is also very excellent."

I did and this film might be the film which gives folks their impression of the Romans. Too bad if that is the case. And excellent film nonetheless.


message 10: by Audrey (new)

Audrey (audrey_g) | 4 comments I agree it's good to take a look at the whole account. There's so much that has not been depicted in film. That's why I love the History Channel, which has showcased a lot of the history of the Romans including the architecture, government structure, advanced medical techniques, and so on.


message 11: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (last edited May 13, 2010 04:12AM) (new)

André (andrh) | 2847 comments Mod
Sorry, but I don't feel there has ever been a film that depicts Rome.
I'm a big fan of Ridley Scott - one of the best directors ever, but Gladiator shows the hardships he had to go through just to finish this movie. If any of you have the time, take a look at the dvd's extras. It helps you better understand what went wrong during the filming and why it so often leaves the viewer with a set of mixed feelings.
The opening scene is terrific, the acting, the cut, the composition, all typically Ridley, but then, the moment Richard Harris turns up, it goes downhill for me. Russell Crowe and Oliver Reed are great in their roles, but why do we need so many stars to sell the movie? Richard Harris an emperor, PLEASE?! He's Richard Harris, a great actor, but nothing close to Marcus Aurelius.
Rome to me suffers from the fact that it's a BBC production. It looks as if the Celts have taken over Rome and just put on costumes. There are some roles/actors that save the series from ending up in my dustbin (Lucius and his friend, Lucius' wife and the giant newsreader) but the rest. Take the women, the evil one, forgot her name; no class and no nuance or depth in her evil personality - she looks more as if she'd be selling perfume at Woolworth's, Caesar would be a better fit in British parliament and Mark Anthony a Bond Street thug. Where are the Romans?
HAve to give it one thing though: the sets were well designed...
So, now I got that off my chest, lets have a nice chat about The Eagle of the Ninth which will come out soon (maybe even both films)


message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Andre, I think what you are saying is that there has been no film in your estimation which depicts Rome and Romans accurately. That may be an accurate statement.

I think you are also saying that the casting is part of the problem; and being a BBC production adds to it.

Gee, I like so many of the BBC productions; but I do see your point that possibly at least one movie might have Italians playing Romans or a movie which somehow does some solid research to get the characterizations of some of the emperors and major historical characters right.


message 13: by Mary Ellen (new)

Mary Ellen | 184 comments RE: I, Claudius: I watched it on DVD, over the space of a week. Perhaps because of the compressed schedule, I found it overwhelming. What a bunch of evil people! I was so creeped out, I didn't even want the recordings in the house! But great acting: Derek Jacobi and John Hurt, very scary as a crazy-as-a-loon Caligula. I thought the actress who played Livia was also very good, as well as the actor who played Tiberius.

As to the Romans not looking "Roman," exactly where would one find Roman-looking types now? Not in Rome, certainly, where those ancient bloodlines have been diluted by all the invaders over the centuries...


message 14: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (andrh) | 2847 comments Mod
Thanks, Bentley. I might have sounded a little harsh, but I did mean it the way I said. Rome (the series) to me looks cheap. Leading roles need great acting, period. If the actress/actor isn't able to paint her/his character with all the necessary subtlety and depth, we might as well watch a cartoon.

As to the casting: of course we all know Rome wasn't inhabited by just Italians, but most of the movies I've seen have more beautiful people looking misplaced than actual Romans. It's not that we don't know about the dirt, the health problems of the poor and the soldiers after returning from the wars. The film industry for some reason doesn't dare to show it.
Kingdom of Heaven (director's cut only) does a far better job at showing medieval hardships/people than Gladiator showed Roman. Why?

All the "Roman" movies I know have just scenes here and there that more or less satisfy my desire for as-real-as-it-gets. What is reality/the truth? We don't know for sure, that's why I called it a-r-a-i-g.
Sure, it's expensive to do it right and it poses a much larger risk having a complete stranger as a lead character, but what is it we want? Good stories with great cinematography or do we need more Troy-kitsch (which apart from a horrible script and mediocre acting had the baddest lighting ever)with big stars, CGI battles and not much else?


message 15: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (andrh) | 2847 comments Mod
Mary Ellen wrote: "where do we find Romans"

Mary Ellen, why pay a casting company? And why play it safe? Seriously, I think it all comes down to the money.

As to how "Romans" looked. WHen we start out with the statues (though often idealized), wall paintings and other monuments we have quite an idea of what they looked like. Definitely not British, though.


message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 13, 2010 12:28PM) (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
For sure not British - Andre...but aren't those Brits great actors (smile). I get what you are saying and of course like every place else, Italy is quite a melting pot. But you do make the point that if we can create all sorts of monsters with makeup shouldn't we be able to create a personage who might look like the emperor he might be playing.

I think that there are very few directors who take the time to understand why this is important and probably correctly so I am afraid believe that the general public will not know the difference. In many respects they are correct but then we now happen to have the general populace believing what they see in movies as being the gospel truth.

I was commenting with one of my friends that I really did not know that much about the Romans aside from the usual; that they allegedly crucified Jesus and the other usual religious stories and oddly enough this is how most folks know them. But aside from all that few folks realize that the segment of ancient Rome still carrying on is the Vatican and the Catholic Church. A vestige of ancient Rome.


message 17: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (last edited May 13, 2010 01:05PM) (new)

André (andrh) | 2847 comments Mod
Bentley wrote: "For sure not British - Andre...but aren't those Brits great actors (smile). I get what you are saying "

Bentley, great comment.
I often think about the way the church took quite a lot of trouble to put its big butt onto a lot of Roman artifacts and culture they so much despised. They often remind me of animals peeing onto each other's territory trying to make it theirs.
Roman culture was far more tolerant towards other religions than the church later tried to make us believe. The city was full of "strange" temples and the believers were often free to practice their religion.
I'm a Christian myself but I just don't like the way the church has tried to demonize Rome.
True, it was cruel, but so were the Germans, the Hispanics, the Jews, the Hispanics, the Celts (whatever that means), The Parthians, the Church itself etc.etc.
Corrupt, yes, patriarchal, yes, and what not.
But no matter where we look, be it law, commerce, society, our language, even marriage down to carrying the woman over the doorstep, it's all Roman.
Life wasn't worth a lot, and it was damn short. I don't think anybody I know would want to go back there - for real, I mean.
Nevertheless, imagining our culture without the Roman influence is impossible.


message 18: by Mary Ellen (new)

Mary Ellen | 184 comments Probably the reason the Church depicts the Romans as cruel is that the Romans were cruel to the Christians qua Christians. And the Christians killed, in various inventive ways, by the Romans were the first big post-apostolic Christian heroes. (One can picture an opposite approach, I suppose: "Wow! Look at those aqueducts! What are a few beheadings, crucifixions, feeding-to-lions, when you have such great architecture! Not to mention words like pontifex!")

Clearly, the Latin church adopted many of the trappings of Roman government and custom (like genuflecting). As you say, the Roman influence, like the Greek, the Hebrew, the Arabic... is inescapable. And point well taken, that just about every group of people has been cruel at some point or other.


message 19: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (last edited May 13, 2010 01:43PM) (new)

André (andrh) | 2847 comments Mod
The problem with everything written back in the day, may it be Tacitus or the bible, if you ask me, it's all tainted.
The Roman historians wrote nice things about whoever paid their rent, and a lot of stories in the old testament are based on legends and tales handed on from one generation to another.
I do believe Christ to be the son of God, but as far as the next generation of Christians and their tales go - they were only human and as such open to temptation like everybody else. Mere mortals.
Their stories, stories of men who meant well. Still, stories. Add translation problems and you get vague tales that read like legends.


message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 13, 2010 05:44PM) (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
André wrote: "Bentley wrote: "For sure not British - Andre...but aren't those Brits great actors (smile). I get what you are saying "

Bentley, great comment.
I often think about the way the church took quite ..."


All true Andre. You are right the Romans allowed all of the religions to flourish even paganism. The Romans have been demonized through the ages for sure. Mary Ellen, I am not so sure that Christians weren't more cruel and I should probably point out that I meant during the Crusades and to pagans.

Again I am not a Classical scholar; but what I am reading now points in that direction.

Cruelty in man seems to know no bounds. And it does seem that every group wants to make another group appear to be more cruel than they might have been.

Getting at the truth is the difficulty and folks seem to believe everything they see in movies was the original point we seemed to be honing in on.

What I have noticed is that whatever group seems to have the power at the moment is cruel when that power becomes "absolute".

I think the study of Rome and the Romans is beginning to be quite interesting.

Mary Ellen, you make an excellent point about the influences of these other cultures.


message 21: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (andrh) | 2847 comments Mod
Oh, one more thing on the Christians killed by the Romans.
Most of the time, before they were led into the arena they were given the choice to renounce their religion (saying their God is the one and only God). Only if they refused they were brutally killed.
Please do not understand me wrong, I am not trying to judge these people or their beliefs.
But if I were given the choice, I would think of all the good I could do (trying to live my life as much as possible according to Christ's words) while at the same time acting like a Roman on the outside.
Nobody can change what I feel or believe deep inside. Nobody!
But what counts to me is what I do with my life, how often I decide to help others - any help. It can be a smile on the street, caring for a sick or changing people's thoughts by writing a book.
I cannot imagine what it must have been like standing there and having to make the choice, but I think I would have chosen life.
Again, comparing a modern man living 2000 years later to one of the first Christians is nearly impossible. There were different circumstances, religion had another power over the people etc.etc.
But if there is a sparkle of God within each and every one of us, shouldn't we do everything possible to make it shine?


message 22: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Very nice post Andre,

I found this newspaper article from 1963 about Kennedy visiting the Vatican - Vatican Vestige of an Empire

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid...


message 23: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 13, 2010 04:13PM) (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Since this thread is about the movies (Romans); here is a link which lists quite a few movies about various aspects of Ancient History - if you scroll down you will find the section dedicated to the movies about the Roman Empire. This thread has pointed out already a few of them.

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancien...


message 24: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) I Just finished watching 'Ben Hur' again, does that count as a movie on Rome?


message 25: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (last edited May 14, 2010 03:46AM) (new)

André (andrh) | 2847 comments Mod
Bentley, great list - it even has Jarman's Sebastiane...
Some of these movies have great scenes: Ben Hur, Gladiator, Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth, The Last Temptation of Christ, Caligula (I think this one is best in depicting the insane cruelty of torture and the decadence the Roman society suffered from - but otherwise ...)
But I'm still hoping one day someone will be able to make a movie that has more than just a few good scenes.
As I mentioned before, The Eagle of the Ninth is coming out soon (maybe even both versions). Let's see what they did with the story and hope for the best. The first pictures look promising.


message 26: by Markus (new)

Markus | 7 comments I have to agree with André on this subject. Of all the movies about the Roman empire I have seen I have yet to find one that fully satisfies me.
The old ones about the 1st and 2nd century A.D. lay too much (if not all) of their focus on Christianity, blowing the subject thereby up to proportion it historically never had at his time.
The modern movies, as movies today tend to do, are focusing to much on the action side.
I hope that someday a movie will come out that lays it focus on a well writing script rather than on the mere looks.
I also always envisioned a movie that is more raw and dirty, or as André says "as-real-as-it-gets" - a movie that does for this genre what Sergio Leone movies did for the western genre, so to speak.

However, I haven't seen Caligula but now I'm very keen to see it after reading your description, André.


message 27: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (andrh) | 2847 comments Mod
Hey Markus, well, as to Caligula, I still remember the first time I watched the unrated version, as a kid in Holland (they never took the age rating too seriously).
The officer's torture scene and the scene where Caligula rapes a woman about to be married sure opened my eyes on cruelty. It made me sick and I closed my eyes. Although I considered leaving the cinema (something I very rarely do) for some reason I stayed (probably because of one of the nice Penthouse girls)
The film's insanity still makes me sick.
It's over the top, cruel, with probably half the cast stoned, and what not. Quite a few scenes look stupid and almost ridiculous, but then there are some that just hit home.
I think it is important that violence isn't glorified as in so many action movies today.
Helen Mirren said she wouldn't want to have missed the experience... McDowell sure acts insane and Peter O'Toole, well, go see for yourself.


message 28: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
'Aussie Rick' wrote: "I Just finished watching 'Ben Hur' again, does that count as a movie on Rome?"

As much as any of the others (smile).


message 29: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3833 comments Mod
Bentley, since we have this thread on movies, could we have another one on novels depicting ancient Rome? I have many recommendations to make in that area.


message 30: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 23, 2010 04:30PM) (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
We have the glossary for that...here is the link:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3...

Just let us know when you are adding them if they are historical fiction (some semblance of historical accuracy) or just simply a novel. If you are also adding non fiction then of course point that out too.


message 31: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3833 comments Mod
HBO's Rome is being reshown On Demand. Eps 1-6 of season 1 are there now, and presumably the rest will follow. I like the portrayals of Pompey, Cato, Mark Antony and Cicero, and especially the young Octavian, but didn't warm to Ciaran Hinds as Caesar. It's too bad it ended after 2 seasons. I really liked the feel of the streets of Rome, and the houses of the rich and not so rich.


message 32: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Vicki, I loved the HBO series. I have both seasons on DVD and you have reminded me that I should find them and watch them again, thanks :)


message 33: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3833 comments Mod
I forgot to mention that my favorite non-historical character in "Rome" is Posca, Caesar's slave. He and Caesar have such an interesting relationship, almost like friends.


message 34: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (last edited Jul 04, 2010 03:43AM) (new)

André (andrh) | 2847 comments Mod
Vicki wrote: "... my favorite non-historical character in "Rome" is Posca, "

True, he was good. And what do you think of the news reader? He also fit the role pretty well, I think.
But otherwise? The set design was quite good. But larger scenes like f.e. the one involving Pompeii's army - was it in the Balkans, I can't remember, anyway, it looked as if he just had a platoon to conquer the world... Sure, TV doesn't have the money. But then, why bother? Either do it right or not at all - my opinion.
I know, you might think: here he goes again. Guilty as charged. But I just want my shows to be as accurate as possible.
Did any of you like the two main female roles? To me they looked too much like UK TV actors or straight out of The Eastenders. Also casting more locals would have helped.
The whole thing left me with a sour aftertaste.

It would be interesting to see what the new Spartacus will look like - and of course The Eagle of The Ninth


message 35: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3833 comments Mod
I liked the newsreader a lot - too bad he wasn't on more.

I know what you mean about the staging of the battles. It would have been interesting to see more of it, but really, the story wasn't about the battles but the personalities and politics.

I did like Atia and Servilia. It would be nice to see a movie about ancient Rome with Italian actors, but then there would probably have to be subtitles.

Is there a new Spartacus movie coming out or did you mean the TV series? I liked that one - lots of blood and nudity.


message 36: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (andrh) | 2847 comments Mod
True, about the story being more about personalities. On the other hand Caesar and Pompeii had their famous battles - which of course was of crucial importance for the story development.
I do not think there needed to be more battles. They only needed to be better done.
There are ways to work your cameras so people get the feeling of masses fighting, not just a handful. The people who worked their cameras here, sorry, but they did not really know what they were doing when they filmed their "masses".

As to Spartacus - I meant the TV series. SInce I live in Germany and never watch TV (it's always dubbed here, or both dubbed and interrupted by commercials) I need to wait for the DVD to come out. From what I saw it looked interesting.

Same goes for the "9th" clips

All best.


message 37: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (andrh) | 2847 comments Mod
For anybody interested in Roman Britain, there is a new film out on DVD called Centurion by Neil Marshall starring Dominic West, Michael Fassbender, Olga Kurylenko and Axelle Carolyn. It was filmed in ENgland and Scotland.
The clips look quite impressive. The uniforms look all right - though as always, the horses are too large (small remark/joke on the side: not sure about the usual mess with the stirrups here, clip resolution was bad) Violent of course, since it's basically about Romans VS. Barbarians.


message 38: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Sounds interesting.


message 39: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (andrh) | 2847 comments Mod
yes, it's dirty and messy, a little like the (terrific) opening battle scene of Gladiator - that is, until the shocking appearance of Emperor Waving-Hairdo...
From what I saw one scene looks as if they even did a part in the same wood (but I'm not sure here)


message 40: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Thanks


message 41: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Andre, I've already ordered a DVD copy from the UK as it hasn't even made it to the theatres here in Australia yet!


message 42: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Wow you are on the ball.


message 43: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) I love most things covering Roman military history so I couldn't help myself :)


message 44: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (last edited Aug 23, 2010 09:51AM) (new)

André (andrh) | 2847 comments Mod
The US release of the Centurion DVD/Blu is scheduled for November 2.


message 45: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Thanks.


message 46: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (andrh) | 2847 comments Mod
I just watched Centurion and I must say I'm not sure anybody else needs to see this.
The story (if you would want to call it that because basically there is just a chase/hunt) is loosely based on the disappearance of the 9th Legion in the north of the UK.
The storyline: A legion sets out to capture an "evil" Pict (?!?) chieftain. They end up in an ambush. Only seven escape. The Commander is caught. They try to save the Commander but fail. The Picts hunt them on their perilous journey back to the frontier.
What is good about this? The grit, the dark, the cold and the country are captured pretty well and help stretch this simple tale to 1,5 hours of film.
Some of the acting is pretty good too. All obviously have had fighting lessons because about half the time when they're not running and/or chasing they are very busy killing each other. There's lots of CGI tomato juice, while cut-off heads and other body parts are being sprayed and catapulted across the screen with a vengeance.
The CGI is bad up to catastrophic. The bad girl is a Pict woman whose tongue once had been cut out by the Romans. Needless to say she all of a sudden is out for revenge. To prove the thing is gone there is a shot of Missy screaming her lungs out. It looks as if someone has sprayed a little sauce into her guts to erase the tongue. Another example: A handful of soldiers are turned into a legion. This works fine with the close-ups, but there is a scene where they are marching on a hill... it looks as if someone has thrown a little light onto the bunch almost giving the impression they are flying. The usual mistakes are there too: everyone has stirrups, the horses are too big etc. etc.
Anything else good here? Yes, there is. The main character, the leader of the escaping pack falls in love with a chased Pict woman living alone in the woods, played by Imogen Poots who is very pretty and plays her role well. Also Dominic West is terrific as the Legion's Commander (you might know him from the magnificent TV series The Wire or from 300) In fact most of the leading roles are well played.
So, if you like your movies bloody and gritty and you are too lazy or tired to follow even the least of a storyline this might be something to watch.
If not, let's hope the other film that's been made about the same legend (and is based on Rosemary Sutcliff's great book The Eagle of the Ninth) will be better.


message 47: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Thank you Andre for your very complete report on Centurion; I guess it has a lot of gore. Thx for the warning and the heads up (which probably considering the write-up is a misstatement - smile)

Don't forget to use the add book/author feature when mentioning a book and/or author so that our software can populate correctly.

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff by Rosemary Sutcliff


message 48: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (andrh) | 2847 comments Mod
There is another film out - this time on Rome in Egypt, starring Rachel Weisz: Agora
Director: Alejandro Amenabar
In short: A historical drama set in Roman Egypt, concerning a slave who turns to the rising tide of Christianity in the hopes of pursuing freedom while also falling in love with his master, the famous female philosophy professor and atheist Hypatia of Alexandria.
The Blu-Ray/DVD is out in Spain, Germany and France. It will come out later in the year in the US
Rachel Weisz is a terrific actress so let's hope for the best...


message 49: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Yes, I like Rachel W too...we can always hope.


message 50: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3833 comments Mod
Hannibal: Rome's Worst Nightmare

"It is 200 years before the birth of Christ and Rome is the new superpower of the ancient world. She believes she is invincible - but one man is destined to change that. He is a man bound by oath to avenge the wrongs inflicted on his home and, in pursuit of revenge, he will stop at nothing. Hannibal explores the man behind the myth, revealing what drove the 26-year-old to mastermind one of the most audacious military moves in history. With 40,000 soldiers and 37 elephants, he marched 1,500 miles to challenge his enemies on their own soil. It was an act so daring that few people believed it possible. Hannibal combines drama, the latest historical research and state-of-the-art CGI to bring this spectacular story to life." (IMDB summary)

This is a 2006 movie for TV, and I haven't seen it, so can't comment on its historical nor its entertainment value. It did get some good reviews on IMDB.

It's available on YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1BKx...


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