Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan #11 - Movie Review

Note: We recommend that you print this article and distribute it to your students.

A Hero will Rise: A Review of Gladiator
By: Ashleigh Viveiros, SNN Reporter, Garden Valley Collegiate, Winkler, MB.

If you want to see a truly spectacular epic that takes place in Ancient Rome, this is definitely the one to see. Set in the time when Rome was the world, this movie gives you a sense of what it was like to be a Roman. Directed by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) and with a group of actors that truly fit their parts, Gladiator is destined to be a box office hit.

Starting off with a fast-paced battle scene between the famous Roman army and the Germanic tribes, this movie starts right off by showing you that it isn't for the squeamish. With heads and other body parts flying around, it can at times be disgusting, but the camera angles are expertly done in such a way so that you really only get a sense of the bloody battle as opposed to an "in your face" bloodbath.

Enter Maximus, a brilliant warrior and a beloved leader of his troops. Russell Crowe is perfectly cast as this Roman war hero who just wants to get home to his farm. Emperor Marcus Aurelius (played by Richard Harris) joins Maximus after the battle, and tells him that he wants Maximus to succeed him. Aurelius feels that only Maximus can lead Rome back to the Republic it once was.

This decision upsets Aurelius's son, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix). A wicked, spoiled brat who feels that because his father sees that he isn't capable of being emperor it means he doesn't love him. So Commodus kills Aurelius and sends Maximus to be executed. Maximus escapes, only to find upon returning home that Commodus also had his wife and son murdered as well.

After being captured by a slave merchant and trained to be a gladiator, Maximus soon finds himself fighting in the Coliseum right in front of Emperor Commodus. I won't give anymore of the story away, but let's just say that rest of the movie is great. The fight scenes in the Coliseum are both fascinating and disturbing as you watch thousands of people cheering for the slaughter of innocent men and animals.

The visual effects in Gladiator are amazing. Suddenly the ruins in Rome become massive structures, like the Coliseum. While watching Maximus travel through the city, you can't help but find yourself in awe of the scale of it.

Gladiator is definitely a movie for history buffs, and one of the best movies I've seen in awhile. It is the first really good movie of this century.


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