A big-budget summer epic with money to burn and a scale worthy of its golden Hollywood predecessors, Ridley Scott'sGladiator is a rousing, grisly, action-packed epic that takes moviemaking back to the Roman Empire via computer-generated visual effects. While not as fluid as the computer work done for, say,Titanic, it's an impressive achievement that will leave you marveling at the glory that was Rome, when you're not marveling at the glory that is Russell Crowe. Starring as the heroic general Maximus, Crowe firmly cements his star status both in terms of screen presence and acting chops, carrying the film on his decidedly non-computer-generated shoulders as he goes from brave general to wounded fugitive to stoic slave to gladiator hero.Gladiator's plot is a whirlwind of faux-Shakespearean machinations of death, betrayal, power plays, and secret identities (with lots of faux-Shakespearean dialogue ladled on to keep the proceedings appropriately "classical"), but it's all briskly shot, edited, and paced with a contemporary sensibility. Even the action scenes, somewhat muted but graphic in terms of implied violence and liberal bloodletting, are shot with a veracity that brings to mind--believe it or not--Saving Private Ryan, even if everyone is wearing a toga. As Crowe's nemesis, the evil emperor Commodus, Joaquin Phoenix chews scenery with authority, whether he's damning Maximus's popularity with the Roman mobs or lusting after his sister Lucilla (beautiful but distant Connie Nielsen); Oliver Reed, in his last role, hits the perfect notes of camp andgravitas as the slave owner who rescues Maximus from death and turns him into a coliseum star. Director Scott's visual flair is abundantly in evidence, with breathtaking shots and beautiful (albeit digital) landscapes, but it's Crowe's star power that will keep you in thrall--he's a true gladiator, worthy of his legendary status. Hail the conquering hero!--Mark Englehart
"What we do in life echoes an eternity!" Gladiator is possibly the greatest action-adventure film of the past decade, and this is the movie that made Russel Crowe the superstar he is today (much like Top Gun launched Tom Cruise to superstardom). The action scenes and intense battle footage are some of the most heart-pounding moments you'll ever see on screen. Any guy who sees Gladiator will momentarily wish they could be Maximus.
The movie features a great plot, thrilling action-packing fighting, superb acting, great costumes and cinematography, and an excellent soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. The snowy woods and forests of Germania and the sun-baked deserts of North Africa really stand out, adding a sense of realism and brutality to the storyline. The film's score is very fitting for soldiers who are heading off to battle. And who can forget that memorable bloodbath in the Colliseum where Maximus and colleagues face off against opposing Gladiators armed with horse-powered chariots and superior weaponry?
Critics of Gladiator invariably blast the film as nothing more than excessive machismo and violence. I couldn't disagree more. The plot is quite elaborate, with several sub-plots thrown in along the way (but I won't ruin the film for those who haven't seen it yet). The acting really takes this film to the next level, though. Maximus's stoic demeanor and iron-like will is portrayed perfectly by Crowe, who took home the Oscar for Best Actor in 2001 for his performance in Gladiator. Joaquin Phoenix gives a convincing performance as Commodus, a spoiled royal brat and megalomaniac concerned with his perception among the Roman public. Connie Nielsen is under-used in this film, but nevertheless gives a good performance as ceasar's daughter. The film momentarily hints at a past romantic affair between Lucilla and Maximus, but all we are left with is speculation. Just who is the father of little Lucius?
I won't ruin the plot, but the storyline follows General Maximus as he leads Rome to victory over a barbarian uprising in Germania. Following the death of ceasar and some unfortunate luck, Maximus finds himself sold into captivity to a slave master in North Africa who uses his property as gladiators because of the popularity of this spectacle. Maximus hacks and slashes his way to become the top gladiator in the Roman empire and soon finds himself heading back to Rome - ready to avenge an old score. Along the way, Maximus wins the loyalty and respect of his fellow gladiators and the Roman public; in the process he achieves an almost emperor-like status. This sets the stage for the film's climax.
This was the first Russell Crowe movie I ever saw, and I've been a Crowe fan ever since. Some actors were just born to star in musclebound, action-packed films - and Crowe is one such actor. With Stallone and Schwarzenegger both heading into their 60s, Crowe may be on the verge of becoming the top action actor in Hollywood. Of course, neither Sly nor Arnold ever had Crowe's acting ability, and Crowe never needed steroids to build his muscular physique.
I fully recommend Gladiator to any fan of the action-adventure genre. However, an important word of caution: If you are squemish when it comes to violence, some scenes may be hard to watch. There are several scenes of graphic combat in Gladiator, so be forewarned.
The DVD contains several nice extras. There are several deleted scenes, the most disturbing of which pertains to a group of Christian adults and children who are fed to lions inside the Colliseum. Ridley Scott provides commentary on both the film and the deleted scenes, and there is information on the production of the film and interviews with Crowe. There are audio options as well, allowing the viewer to choose between Dolby 5.0 and 2.0 Surround Sound channels. The picture quality is very good and vibrant, and when a subwoofer is added to your system, be prepared for a thrilling cinematic experience.
Some reviewers have criticized Gladiator for its historical inaccuracy. It should be pointed out that this film never claims to be a true story. However, the main characters are based off of historical figures from different eras of the Roman empire. Marcus Araelius was a real-life Roman caesar, as was Commodus (although they were NOT father and son). Maximus is a re-creation of the Roman General Narcissus, who actually did kill the real Commodus. Joaquin Phoenix's character, Commodus, hints at an incestuous lust for his sister - which mirrors the psychotic real-life Roman emperor Caligula, who had sexual affairs with each of his three sisters.
However, if viewers are really that concerned with real-life accuracy, they should be tuning into the History Channel rather than Gladiator. In the motion picture, it is its non-stop action, quality acting and directing, and entertainment value that push Gladiator over the top. You will not be disappointed.
An Awesome Epic Movie...Now With 17 more minutes.. For those of you who didn't read carefully the info about this version...
UNDER info about the first disc, IT IS CLEARLY STATED this is a widescreen version with 17 MORE MINUTES ( meaning extra footage in the movie itself).
Before posting useless posts, read the info the way you should read them...Not just a guy film One of my friends made a comment last night at a dinner party that Gladiator was a guys' only film. I couldn't agree less. I won't go into the story summaries as so many reviewers have already covered that territory, but this film is definitely a winner for women, as well. The story is engaging, the acting is amazing, and the cinemetography is divine. I'm the type of person who cried at the end of Terminator, so I know my tastes aren't for everyone, but this movie wasn't just a blood bath or gorefest as some people -- my friend included -- say. I own the film and watch it often. It's a true classic.