Movie Review: No 75. Gladiator

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Movie Review: No 75. Gladiator

If films were judged on dodgy accents and violence, ‘Gladiator’ would reign supreme.

The accents are hilariously bad. When Maximus says, “At my signal, unleash hell!” all we heard was “Garn get stuffed ya bloody mongrels!”

Gladiator "Are you not entertained?"

“Are ya’s not bloody entertained?!”

Starring the ever-cocky Russell Crowe, the film (loosely based on a few true events) follows the downfall of Maximus Decimus Meridius, from respected General of the Roman Army to slave and forced gladiator (albeit an impressively murderous gladiator), as he seeks revenge on the Emperor who murdered his family and the father they shared in all but name.

The film is all blood, guts and gore, which is understandable given the subject matter. Who knows? It’s probably even tame compared to the real deal.

We humans are bizarre creatures, seeking entertainment in the most brutal of avenues. While many of us look back on these days with disgust, it doesn’t draw too long of a bow to see parrallels today.

“The Media” grows ever-insistent on making story mountains out of footage molehills. I am a firm believer in not watching the news and my reason is that, far from leaving me uneducated, avoiding the news protects what’s left of my brain from unecessary negativity and gruesome stories designed more to entertain than inform. If you like whipping yourself into a nightly state of rage, then by all means watch the news. I just prefer to direct my rage at worthier targets like Paul Robinson.

With the combination of gore, lack of respect for history, poor casting, and an abismal effort on the part of the actors to give anything resembling a realistic accent, I was sure that I would hate this film.

Miracle upon miracles – I didn’t!

It probably helps that every time they said the word “Gladiator”, I just pictured this guy:

Mike Whitney Gladiator Australia

Seriously though, it’s a really good film. At 2 hours and 50 minutes, it’s long. Usually that in itself is enough to put me off, however ‘Gladiator’ held my interest throughout. The main plot is engaging and the various subplots provide perfect balance. You know a movie is compelling when it has you cheering for Russell Crowe by the end.

Crowe allegedly told one of the screenwriters,  “Your lines are garbage but I’m the greatest actor in the world, and I can make even garbage sound good.” It’s a laughable statement and I can only imagine what a nightmare he’d be to work with, but he’s 100% right when he says that he can make garbage sound good. Gladiator, at its heart, is garbage. There is just something about the perfect harmony of craptasticness that makes you forget how stupid it is and instead completely wrap yourself up in the story. Had the accents been more believable, for example, you might have looked beyond them to discover far greater flaws. As it stands, you just giggle at the accent and then get sucked straight back into the gory battles.

‘Gladiator’ is frequently credited with “reviving the historical epic” with subsequent, far inferior films like ‘Troy’ and ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ nipping at its heels. A more recent equivalent would probably be ‘Game of Thrones’ which, despite being the most offensive show to grace television since ‘Two and a Half Men’, seems to be more than just a little bit popular.

For me, ‘Gladiator’ breathed life into the ancient ruins of the Colosseum (“Been there!”) as well as the Roman ruins that dot Northern Africa (“Been there too!”)

The film is dripping with inspirational quotes that could rival Braveheart. This one, for example:

Proximo: Ultimately, we’re all dead men. Sadly, we cannot choose how but, what we can decide is how we meet that end, in order that we are remembered, as men.

This quote made me think of this list actually. Yes, we will all die one day. I’m not exactly on my way into the arena to fight my last, bloody battle, but just the thought of dying (old and happy in my bed one day) inspires me to squeeze just that little bit more into life…

I’m glad I squeezed in ‘Gladiator’.

8.5 pumpkins.

Have you seen ‘Gladiator’? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below.

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11 responses »

    • Why, I’m glad you asked! As far as this film has taught me, I would have to say “Australian”, “British”, and “Australian pretending to be British”.

      Sarcasm noted. Thanks for playing! lol

  1. I actually have the DVD of this movie. Being a Roman History tragic (am currently reading Peter Heather’s “The Fall of the Roman Empire” and Seutonis’s “Twelve Caesars”…) I couldn’t wait to see it. I do find it hilarious however, as for most of the movie I can’t understand a word Russell Crowe says, even with the volume at maximum!!

    • Oh I see the mistake, you should’ve had the volume at “Maximus” instead haha! (Tragic).

      It’s a thoroughly historically inaccurate film I’ve no doubt, so it’s probably hard to sit through if you like the real deal!

    • Yes I think the number of heads that roll would start to get more than a little disturbing after a while. It’s funny, I felt the same way – I was sure I would think it rubbish but in the end I liked it! Guess it goes to show you can’t judge a movie by its cover!

  2. Yes, I agree. I enjoyed this film — although I think that Leaf Phoenix should have won the Academy Award instead of Kiwi Russ. Mind you, I gave it 7/10; 1.5 less than you (I still don’t agree with the half-pumpkins, just by the way). And by my spreadsheet, I have you 62/100 of the most popular-rated movies now & only 7 left that I have seen & you have not. At my command, download hell.

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