Hey I just noticed that nobody in this place has started a thread about Gladiator. I just want to know what anybody thought about, so that I could get into a meaningful conversation or debat over it. What did you think?

I think that Gladiator is overrated. I think that the writers substituted depression and rage for personality and character development, and the dialogue is terrible. Mind you, this is a bad-*** movie. But it could have been so much more. I enjoyed some of the scenes, but when you come down to it, all you've got is a standard boxing/wrestling movie. I can't get into a movie that has lines like "i'm vexed. i'm terribly vexed" and "Caesar is pleased to bring you the only undefeated champion in Roman history!"

The direction is fine, Russell Crowe again proves he is one of the best actors of his generation, and Joaquin Phoenix is decent, but all in all I don't understand the appeal for this movie. I enjoyed some parts but in others I was either laughing incredulously or waiting for it to end.

And did anyone else notice how they tried to make Maximus into Christ? The upward angle shots and especially when he is stabbed in the side had to have had some sort of hidden meaning, and for me, it takes away from the film even more.

In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
The first time I saw Gladiator I loved the fight scenes but thought pretty much all of the plot was boring. All my friends thought it was just the greatest movie ever. I thought it was just ok at the time. But over time I watched it several times and started to like it even more and more. Now I think its a great movie. There's nothing I don't like about it.

The acting was superb! The action was superb! The special effects were superb(Although not better than Hollow Man's!! Those bastards!!) So yea, although its not the best movie ever, I think it is a great movie. It's very entertaining. It doesn't make you think, and I can't really relate to Maximus, but I still think its a great movie. One of my favorites from 2001.
Horror's Not Dead
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Ok guys this is how it is. First you have to attack the reality of the movie because above all a movie should be believable or if not mostly believable. The characters of Lucilla, Marcus Arellius, and Commodus are all real Roman people from back in the day, Lucilla and Commodus were really Marcus Aurellius's children. First Commodus, in history Commodus was a mean dude just like in the movie, he was crazy and thought of himself as a god. It was a usual thing for him to participate in the Collosium by killing animals such as Hipopotomus. He he went as far as to fight other men. Anyways he went crazy and started to kill senators and other people he thought were plotting against him. Much like he mistrusted the senate in the movie. He was eventually killed by his mistress. What we dont learn in the movie because it isn't necessary and would ruin it is that Marcus Aurellius was the co-ruler of Rome with Lucius. As you may have noticed Lucius is the name of Lucillas son, and yes she did have Lucius the emporers son. The character of Maximus was derived from many different people in Roaman history. I wont go into that because it will take up to much space. Another great part of the movie that shows the realism of it happens in the beginning. Historians say that in battle each archer would have a cigarette or something to light his arrow. Ridley Scott just said this was stupid so he had a small trench in front of the archers with fire so that they could just dip their arrow in and light it. This was an amazing choice by Ridley Scott because it seems more practical. Also in the same battle Maximus loses his sword and goes back to retrive it. This was a nice touch considering that it looked like an expensive sword, and of course he would go back for it. Other things were used such as the soldiers protecting themselve is a turtle like shell with their sheilds. Their is no end to the reality of this movie, I suggest you rewatch it for yourself to see these and others.
As for steves remark on the use of making Maximus look like Christ, to put it bluntly your wrong. The upward angle shots and lighting on Maximus were simply used to show his greatness. I can see how you made the mistake considering that in most paintings or pictures christ is made to look great as well. As for being stabbed in the side, where else would he be stabbed. It was the perfect and only to place to stab him in. I know that if I were to want to disable my oppenent I would get im in the same place. Also it can easily be covered up so that nobody notices that i have cheated.
This movie is an epic of enormous size. A general becomes a slave who defies an emporer. If that isn't an epic I don't know what is.
Also I don't know if this was done on purpose but every and I do mean every shot in the movie looks like a painting. I wonder if this was done to the same style of paintings of that era. I don't know but Ridley Scott probabaly did do this.
Another great part that always gets me emotionally is the heaven of Maximus's home. In the end when he dies he goes home in a dream like state because this is his heaven to be with his family. That just touches me. Finally a little thing that i love is how Maximus touches the ground before he fights. He does this because this could be where he is buried and he wants to know it on a personal basis. This may seem strange but he's famer too so I dig it.
I realize that this rant isn't very structured and there are probably a lot of spelling errors but if anybody would like to argue the point that this movie isn't great then I would probably make them cry due to their own ignorance.

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" . . . but if anybody would like to argue the point that this movie isn't great then I would probably make them cry due to their own ignorance."

Zweeedorf, I hope you're kidding. You're gonna make us cry with our own ignorance? Puhleeze.

I admire workmanship and detail in a film as much as the next person but that's not why I see movies. I like to be entertained. That's it. I'm not there to critique the director on the "reality" or the "historical value" of the film. I mean--am I going to pay 8 dollars to analyze where a guy gets stabbed? (If you enjoy picking at movies this way--fine--but don't tell me "how it is."

I saw Gladiator because I especially admire Ridley Scott's work and Russell Crowe. I could have hated it. But I really liked it. I don't think it was Scott's best work but that's another story.

That was an interesting point you made, Steve N. I'll remember that when I watch this picture again. (I liked it well enough to buy the DVD.) And you're right OG, this movie does grow on you.
Blonde Klingons: Because it was a good day to dye!

Hey Wart doen't be offended by the "ignorance" of the statement that i made that was only intended as a small shot at my friend Steve who I argue with about Gladiator all of the time. And yes I am picky about movies because when I see a movie I like I need to know everything about. For instance why certain angles in a shot were used and the significance of lighting and color. I do this because I'm interested and hate it when people talk about a movie and know nothing about it except that they like it. If your going to put down or praise a movie you should have a good arguement to back it up not just "I liked it because it had a cool fight seen." So dont take any offense I was just joking around, I will put a smiley face to it next time or something so you know this.

*scene not seen my bad

In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
Here's how it is with me. I usually will like a movie at first, and then start to appreciate it later. The first time I see a movie I will either find it entertaining, and watch it again, or stupid and probably never watch it again. In the case of Gladiator, at first I liked it, and then later on I start to notice the things I had already registered subconciously, like angels etc. So I am, for the most part, one of those ignorant people who just likes movies because they had a cool fight scene.

For example, I'm the kind of person who likes music, but doesn't apreciate it. I will like a song or band if I like the way the whole group sounds, and not if their guitarist can play the music with extreme skill. I just like things because of probably one small reason, I don't apreciate things for all the skill and effort that went into producing it.

Now that I think about it, that doesn't seem to have much to do with the topic of Gladiator, so back to the movie. All of that historical babble you mentioned Zweeedorf, means nothing to me. I didn't even know half those people were actual people, doesn't really matter to me. Now knowing that it doesn't make me like the movie any more, or any less. If anything it's probably less because they were likely to make errors in saying they were retelling history. I hate it when every movie represents a certain historical figure the same way. How do they know what the person was REALLY like?? That is one reason why I like the novel TIMELINE so much. The thirteenth century is alot different then the way it was always pictured. Now I know Crichton may not have been right, but I like how he actual bothered to think differently about the whole thing.

Oh and the whole Maximus-Jesus thing never even occured to me. Don't think thats the case.

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how about when he says "at my signal, unleash hell"

how do you explain that? In those times, christianity was not the religion, mythology was, and hell was not the term used!

In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!

And what about the thumbs up thumbs down bit? A thumbs up, back then, ment to hit them in the throat(death) and a thumbs down ment to hit them in the knees(live).

You guys are exceeding picky. I majored in History and I didn't have any problems with GLADIATOR. I enjoyed it for the manly fluff it was. And Mythology was not a religion -- the Romans were pagans with a multitude of gods. They had their own version of Hell too -- it was called "Hades." And it wouldn't have worked if Russell Maximus had bellowed, "At my signal, unleash Hades!"
Pigsnie, Vicar of Fries!

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yeah, I know all about that

but why couldn't he have just said, "At my signal, attack"

instead they had to get some cliche action line in there to pick the drama up a notch

it was a good movie, but definately not the best of the year!

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I can't believe they spoke English. They should have spoken Ancient Greek. Or at least modern Italian. Or at least speak English with an Italian accent. Sacriligious it was, to hear posh British accents in Ancient Rome!

And what about the tigers. Tigers had spots back in Ancient Rome, not stripes. And when Maximus died it was raining not sunny. And Maximus had black hair not dark brown. And the wheels on the chariots had 12 spokes, not 13. And the swords were a half inch longer than the ones shown in the film. And Joaquin Phoneix's character had no thumbs so he couldn't have given the thumbs up. And Maximus has been dead for 2 thousand years and we are supposed to believe that he's alive now. And. . .
I couldn't believe that she knew my name. Some of my best friends didn't know my name.

The reason that I'm so picky about a movie is because I plan to be a director when I grow up, so I have to know everything about a film when I see a good one. My friend Steve tells me that the scenes in the beginning with the war are ugly. Hmmmmm could that have been done on purpose to set the tone that war is ugly, I think so. Another thing Steve metioned was that the fight scenes were to chaotic and you weren't able to see anything. I personally believe that war is chaotic and if you will notice the battle is very organized up until the point of fighting. Of course Ridley Scott is going to make it look chaotic because that is what it is. An example of this chaos is actually shown in the fighting when Maximus almost kills his own guy. This movie is all about tone and I'm glad that Ridley stuck with a tone throughout the acts unlike other movies that will waver and your left thinking "What is he trying to do?" Steve(I refer to him because we argue a lot) also said that it would be nice if the emporer had a light purple on instead of a dark purple. Yeah that would work on an overcast day, the ground muddied by rain and looking black, with blood on everyones face. Lets have a happy looking purple(sarcasm). My idea is that the whole tone of the movie is greatness. This is shown through Maximus going from slave to winning the harts of all Romans, the sheer size of the Collisium and the camera angles used to make it even bigger, and just Maximus which means "the great".
In conclusion this movie was just great and it couldn't have been told any better. Besides when Maximus wins you just get this feeling that makes you want to say "Your the man." Then when he dies your left feeling sad because the coolest guy in Rome just died.

Gladiator is a film in the tradition of Titanic, Ben-Hur, and Cleopatra, an overblown, overwrought, and overrated wannabe-epic. Why the general public has fallen in love with it, I don't know. It is ugly, boring, self-important, indistinct, and pretentious.

That General Maximus, he's quite a leader. Basically his battle stategy consists of yelling "CHARGE!" and "HOLD THE LINE!" at the top of his lungs . Any attempt to explain the Romans' strategy in the opening battle sequence has been sequestered, rather, the audience is supposed to get a rush out of watching the evil Germanic clan get stabbed up real good.(sarcasm, kids) Unfortunately, that isn't the case, since the battle is shot and edited like an MTV spot where the director was on speed. I doubt that anyone could make sense of any of the shots in this battle, unless he sipped a bottle of nyquil and watched the entire thing in slow motion. This wasn't meant to illustrate the "horror" and "confusion" of pre-medieval battle, look at Kurosawa's 'Ran', or even 'Braveheart'. These films accomplished so much more without descending into an incomprehensible mess.
These effects are meant to show the MTV crowd how cool a battle scene can look. But believe me, anyone who is sane can't enjoy a sequence like this. Actually, it's about as exciting as watching grass grow. ()

The film's actual plot is basically a roll call of cliches. The jealous son, the aging emperor, the brooding yet smart sister. The only thing intriguing about this story is how the hell it got made. I don't think, by the way, that the actual elements of the story are out of place. I can think of a good film with all of these characters and situations, but it sure isn't Gladiator. After the laborious, boring opening battle scene, thinks take a turn downward (as if they could any more). The next thirty minutes (and that's a long time folks) is the setting up of the convoluted story. Imagine this film directed by Speilberg. Or if you want to go recent, David O. Russell. A plot this simple could be set up in 5 minutes, ten min. tops by these guys. But here, it takes Ridley Scott 30, count 'em, AGONIZING minutes.

Maximus escapes to his farm after a half-hearted murder attempt (love the Malick-esque hand-through-wheat shot in the beginning, by the way) and discovers his family is dead. So he collapses, spit still dribbling from his weeping face (Look Pa, I'm actin'!), and some way or another, ends up a gladiator . This, my friends, is what is known as poor writing. The director and writer had no other idea how to make him become a gladiator other than a cool sky effect shot that belongs in a car commercial.

Then Maximus becomes a gladiator, yada yada yada, kicks a*s, takes names, stomps other, nameless, horse-headed gladiators. And in the process, he begins to defy the new emperor, Joaquin Phoenix. Who is vexed. Terribly vexed. His palace is shot in what looks like a washed out silver monochrome coloration. I don't think there is a primary color in the entire place. Scratch that, the entire film. I have zero idea why the film was shot like this. The last time I checked, Rome isn't a desert. The lighting: awful. Throw dark on dark, with fuzzy yellow light on the side of the actor's face. The editing of the movie is a nightmare as well. Scott must have used 4 or 5 cuts per second for every fight sequence, leaving everything an incomprehensible mess.

The dialogue of the film is horrendous. Let it be known. Examples: "This vexes me. I'm terribly vexed"
"Caesar is pleased to bring you the only undefeated champion in Roman History...."
"Your son cried, like a girl, when they nailed him to the cross"
"Are you the one they call the Spaniard?...I shall cheer for you"
"The mob is fickle, brother"
There are more howlers in this movie than in your average TV-movie of the week.

As far as the tone of the film, it strikes me as more "bad modern drama", instead of "regal, masterful epic". There isn't enough plot (thank christ) for the film to be a full-blown epic, but there is too much for the actual 2 1/2 hour running time. The film is basically a dead zone. It goes for greatness, but it fails miserably.

And what does it tell you about the politics of Hollywood, when one of the most talented African-American actors working today, Djimon Hounsou, has played a slave in his two most notable acting jobs?

This film is a cinematic catastrophe. It's boring. It's ugly to look at. It's overlong. It's overrated. Francois Truffaut once said, "I demand that a film express either the joy of making cinema or the agony of making cinema. I am interested at nothing in between." I suspect that the talented members of the crew working on this film were in agony. And the past-his-prime hack known as Ridley Scott was full of the joy of creative inspiration. It's a good thing Truffaut didn't live to see Gladiator. He would have had to eat his words.

Let the responses come.

OK let us start at the beginning. I would like to say now that I'm sorry for the length of this post but there are so many things that I think people(Steve) must have missed. This speal about Gladiator is going to come in as three different posts because each is very long. I will start with Act 1(The General), move to Act 2(The Slave), and finally move onto Act 3(The Champion). ACT 1:

The opening of the Dreamworks and Unervisal logos in a bright sandy yellow is when the movie firsts gets going not like many other movies where the opening shot is the beginning. These logos in this color were specially chosen to get the tone of the movie off the ground immediatly. That tone in this instence being of an acient world and a very reagal one at that. I don't think that I have ever seen another movie do something like this.

Next comes the text of when and where the story is taking place, and it also sets the scene by telling us that Rome is in war with the Germans and has been for a long time. I especially love this because I'm a huge Kubrick fan, and Kubrick loved to have an opening voice or text set up the movie for him to get some of the details out of the way quickley (He didn't do this in all of his films but he is said to have loved doing it).

Then comes the opening shot of the hand running across the field which sets the enitial theme of mortality. This is started from the beginning and leads us all the way to the end. Some might say "How does this show mortality?" It does because the wheat grows in seasons and at this point it is alive and later it will die, kind of a subconscious thing. Also later in the movie we learn that Maximus is a farmer so we see that he is really at one with the land. Then comes the cut to a broken, burned, muddied land. A stark contrast to the shot that we have just witnessed.

Now in the war we see a little bird the only color in this hell. It is lively on its little pirch, and shows that despite the battles that happen for what ever reasons that life goes on. As Maximus watches the bird he smiles because he realizes this and after a few moments his head is back in the "game". Also notice that Maximus is not on a horse, instead he chooses to walk among his men, and show that he's one of them (which he is) and kind of give them a pick up. While he is doing this Ridley also gives us shots of the whole army to show the strength and greatness of Rome. It is dark scene is very dark which was the only way it could have been done because it's war and the army has been fighting for a long time. It is just a dark mood and I'm glad there are no bright colors to disrupt this tone.

Now the pre-battle spot of the movie comes up in which a messanger is sent back to the Roman army headless. I enjoy this savage reply by the Barbarians because it is most prabably what they would do. It strikes fear into the Romans and is an intimidator. Now Maximus reaches down and picks up dirt in his hand. He does this throughout the film befor he fights. He does this now because he realizes that he is about to go into battle and he may very well die, so being the farmer that he is he wants to "know" the ground in which he will be buried. I really like it when he smells it, it gives personal touch. Then comes the battle ride by Maximus. In some shots the camera moves out the get the whole of the Roman army in a neat organized shot. In other shots Maximus rides over the camera, making him huge and godlike. Also the Ceasar himself is there at a distance, but by the look in his eyes you can tell there is nothing more important to him at this moment than this battle. Maximus then ride up to his men and gives one of the greatest lines "What we do in life, echoes in eternity." During his little speech to his calvary there is one shot in particular that has the light bleeding in through the trees onto the Maximus and his army. Talk about setting up greatness with lighting, he looks glorified by the gods.

Now the battle. Once again there a lot of shots with the Roman army at a short distance showing their organization. One shot in particular which I call the "View of God" shot, but really it comes from the top of a hill. It shows the entire Roman army, the forest being burned, and it is just beautiful. Finally the fighting. It is done with speed to show the chaos of war(In Braveheart I didn't get this feeling at all, sure there were a few shots in the thick of the battle, but some were from a distance, and Mel relied mainly on blood to to show chaos). At some shots Ridley puts into slow mo just to let those of you(Steve) with a slow mind see get your sword fighting shot. A great part is as Maximus almost kills his own man once again showing that war is chaotic and you don't know who is on your side or what is really going in on, just that you have to kill. There are a lot of killing spots in the battle

OK I feel really bad about having to stop this, you probably don't because your tired of reading it, but I have to go do some house work and mow the lawn. To be continue(I guess there will be more than 3 posts)

In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
I just wanna say that I think Mark(Zweeedorf) has made me like these movie even more. He points out stuff I didn't even think about. Wanna see what else he says.

As for Steve, how can you say its ugly? It is not ugly at all. It won best speciall effects didn't it? Now I know your just gonna say "well it also won best picture, but it didn't deserve that". Everything in that movie was the exact opposite of ugly, except for the things intended to look so.

I wanna wait around for the rest of Mark's speech, before I say anything else.

Hate to break this to you, but an Oscar doesn't mean anything. Think about it. Rocky beat Taxi Driver. Chariots of Fire beat Raiders of the Lost Ark (i think it was chariots?). Driving Miss Daisy beat Do the Right Thing and Drugstore Cowboy (both of which, by the way, weren't even nominated). In the future, Gladiator will be remembered as the dud that beat Traffic and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

In terms of special effects, they looked like something out of a computer game in the 2.99 bin at price club. And all of the dust and over- and under-lit shots made me just want to spray the screen with Resolve. the movie looks like every single frame was sneezed on by someone with wicked spring allergies.

And the single red bird in the beginning of the film was shot to try and give the film some resonance, and maybe some complex symbolism of some sort. And it didn't work. Maximus is seen as an angry, bloodthirsty warrior for the entire film, and putting his reaction of the bird in the film is not fair to his character and not fair to the audience. If they wanted to make him a sensitive person, they should have had more shots like that one scattered throughout the picture, instead of one at the beginning of a particularily gory (and boring) battle scene.

Putting the film in slow motion during the battle scene accomplished nothing, because it was still impossible to see what was happening due to the 5 goddamm cuts per second.

Looking forward to act II of your noble dissection and analysis of Gladiator.

I forgot to add...Ridley Scott really really wants to be Terence Malick.

I am vexed, I am teribly vexed. I thought the little red bird was a rip off of the girl in the red coat in Schindlers Grocery list. But I still like Gladiator a lot.


Who is terence Malick?
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