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,
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
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.