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Reappraising Gladiator 
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Post Reappraising Gladiator
OK, looks like the winner is in.

I have it at at least 4 votes, which beats everything else.

Shall we aim to watch by the end of this week? Is that enough time for everyone?

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Mon May 12, 2014 5:22 am
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
Loved the film, so always up for a rewatch of it.


Mon May 12, 2014 11:20 am
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
Mixed feelings. I really didn't care much for it the first time I saw it, but have come to appreciate it a lot more with time. Crowe is solid in it, but I really, really love Joaquin Phoenix' performance. I do admit the film is a bit spotty, particularly towards the middle, but the first and last acts are great.

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Tue May 13, 2014 8:55 pm
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
Right, well.

The opening scene is obviously fantastic, but also kind of disjointed. Perhaps it's meant to be, but knowing Ridlley Scott it's probably largely accidental.

Gladiator switches between quite profound and soap operatics on an almost scene-by-scene basis. It avoids the temptation to resort to the ridiculously high camp that the TV series Rome would later succumb to a few years later (still blows my mind how people dug that, but hey ho), but has its fair share of campy scenes. And Pheonix gives a hell of a campy performance as the baddy.

I hated Pheonix's performance when I first saw this. But now I kind of appreciate it as quite selfless. He aims to portray a kind of mumma's boy version of a tyrant without any redeeming features, and I feel his decision (assuming it was his) not to swallow the scenery with something completely over the top should be commended.

Richard Harris adds a real touch of class for all his unfortunately brief screen-time, and Reed plays his part with his customary yet charming lack of subtlety.

Broadly speaking, after watching it for the first time in a few years, I think it just about works. The "fiction contract" is just about held in place. Gladiator is of course easy to take the piss out of if you refuse to swallow the guff, but it does have an element of cultishness about it.

Crowe deserved his Oscar. Because without his brand of intense, old school physicality, this film collapses. Crowe IS Gladiator. Without him you have a borderline comedy on your hands. Scott isn't a good film maker, for me. Some of the scenes have an ambitious rawness about them, but he can't really pull it off. "The Battle of Carthage" re-enactment is a mess, and yet should anchor the films action sequences. The best action scene is an early one, with Crowe fighting in the provinces - the one where he wipes a few dudes out then throws his sword at the spectators. "Are you not entertained", kind of, yeah. But not without reservation.

I was 18 when this was released. I liked it very much, whilst knowing it was essentially bait for 18 year olds like me. My Dad described it as a pantomime. Now my view lies somewhere between the two.

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Wed May 14, 2014 5:58 am
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
NotHughGrant wrote:
Right, well.

The opening scene is obviously fantastic, but also kind of disjointed. Perhaps it's meant to be, but knowing Ridlley Scott it's probably largely accidental.

Gladiator switches between quite profound and soap operatics on an almost scene-by-scene basis. It avoids the temptation to resort to the ridiculously high camp that the TV series Rome would later succumb to a few years later (still blows my mind how people dug that, but hey ho), but has its fair share of campy scenes. And Pheonix gives a hell of a campy performance as the baddy.

I hated Pheonix's performance when I first saw this. But now I kind of appreciate it as quite selfless. He aims to portray a kind of mumma's boy version of a tyrant without any redeeming features, and I feel his decision (assuming it was his) not to swallow the scenery with something completely over the top should be commended.

Richard Harris adds a real touch of class for all his unfortunately brief screen-time, and Reed plays his part with his customary yet charming lack of subtlety.

Broadly speaking, after watching it for the first time in a few years, I think it just about works. The "fiction contract" is just about held in place. Gladiator is of course easy to take the piss out of if you refuse to swallow the guff, but it does have an element of cultishness about it.

Crowe deserved his Oscar. Because without his brand of intense, old school physicality, this film collapses. Crowe IS Gladiator. Without him you have a borderline comedy on your hands. Scott isn't a good film maker, for me. Some of the scenes have an ambitious rawness about them, but he can't really pull it off. "The Battle of Carthage" re-enactment is a mess, and yet should anchor the films action sequences. The best action scene is an early one, with Crowe fighting in the provinces - the one where he wipes a few dudes out then throws his sword at the spectators. "Are you not entertained", kind of, yeah. But not without reservation.

I was 18 when this was released. I liked it very much, whilst knowing it was essentially bait for 18 year olds like me. My Dad described it as a pantomime. Now my view lies somewhere between the two.


Yeah, that's not bad. It's a fucking hopeless film, somewhat saved by Crowe's sort of not bad take on a hard cunt. At age 24 it was sickening, at age 31 it kind of got bettter for some fucked up reason? When viewed today though, it's a sick joke.

Pheonix is horrible. Let's stop making excuses for how bad he was in this junk. If it weren't for so many memorable perfomances he's given since Walk the Line, it would be easy to liken his effort in this rubbish, akin to Brando's in The Island of Dr. Moreau.

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Wed May 14, 2014 10:01 am
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
Liked this one a lot when I saw it during its original theatrical run in the summer of 2000. Today, my opinion of it is still the same separate from the hype. It's an entertaining popcorn film that's more thoughtful than most blockbusters. ***. But best picture of the year? I think not.

I strongly suspect that the overhype came into play because Gladiator was a distinctive one in a bland mainstream blockbuster world.

As far as historical sword epics go, I'd rank Gladiator lower than Braveheart. But ahead of many misfires such as Kingdom Of Heaven.

For the most part, Scott manages to balance the serious side with the fun side. He doesn't push too far into camp nor into flat-our dreariness like the abysmal King Arthur. The battle scenes are shot well without resorting the shaky cam approach that's become de rage over the last decade or so. I wonder if this were made today would Scott use shaky cam? Can't say for sure. But as I noted before Scott as a filmmaker is at his best with sci-fi or epic material and this reminds us.

When watching this originally, I noted that Joaquin Phoenix brought a certain level of complexity to Commodius that's often missing in most blockbuster villains. Re-watching, I maintain that that stands. He's portrayed as an evil man who's been cast aside by those who are supposed to love. The way Phoenix plays him doesn't make you feel sorry for or root for him. But gives him more depth.

But Crowe is ultimately the glue that holds this film together. He elevates a role that would have been generic or over the top in another actor's hands. His performance isn't as complex as two of his previous ones (Bud White in LA Confidential and Jeffrey Wigand in The Insider). But it's a great one for this type of film.

So it's an entertaining popcorn film. No more no less. If the Academy wanted to give BP to a picture with mayhem in it, Crouching Tiger would have been a better choice. On the other hand, Gladiator is better than other undeserving ones like the English Patient. Faint praise sure. But true.

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Wed May 14, 2014 10:34 am
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
Got it in my instant queue, but with my son's baseball season in full swing I may not get to it in reasonable time. I enjoyed it quite a bit when it came out and, unlike most around here, was pleasantly surprised by the Academy Award. Was 37 when I first (and last) saw it. Don't remember a tremendous amount, but the opening scene is among the most memorable of scenes filed in my brain.


Wed May 14, 2014 10:47 am
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
wisey wrote:
NotHughGrant wrote:
Right, well.

The opening scene is obviously fantastic, but also kind of disjointed. Perhaps it's meant to be, but knowing Ridlley Scott it's probably largely accidental.

Gladiator switches between quite profound and soap operatics on an almost scene-by-scene basis. It avoids the temptation to resort to the ridiculously high camp that the TV series Rome would later succumb to a few years later (still blows my mind how people dug that, but hey ho), but has its fair share of campy scenes. And Pheonix gives a hell of a campy performance as the baddy.

I hated Pheonix's performance when I first saw this. But now I kind of appreciate it as quite selfless. He aims to portray a kind of mumma's boy version of a tyrant without any redeeming features, and I feel his decision (assuming it was his) not to swallow the scenery with something completely over the top should be commended.

Richard Harris adds a real touch of class for all his unfortunately brief screen-time, and Reed plays his part with his customary yet charming lack of subtlety.

Broadly speaking, after watching it for the first time in a few years, I think it just about works. The "fiction contract" is just about held in place. Gladiator is of course easy to take the piss out of if you refuse to swallow the guff, but it does have an element of cultishness about it.

Crowe deserved his Oscar. Because without his brand of intense, old school physicality, this film collapses. Crowe IS Gladiator. Without him you have a borderline comedy on your hands. Scott isn't a good film maker, for me. Some of the scenes have an ambitious rawness about them, but he can't really pull it off. "The Battle of Carthage" re-enactment is a mess, and yet should anchor the films action sequences. The best action scene is an early one, with Crowe fighting in the provinces - the one where he wipes a few dudes out then throws his sword at the spectators. "Are you not entertained", kind of, yeah. But not without reservation.

I was 18 when this was released. I liked it very much, whilst knowing it was essentially bait for 18 year olds like me. My Dad described it as a pantomime. Now my view lies somewhere between the two.


Yeah, that's not bad. It's a fucking hopeless film, somewhat saved by Crowe's sort of not bad take on a hard cunt. At age 24 it was sickening, at age 31 it kind of got bettter for some fucked up reason? When viewed today though, it's a sick joke.

Pheonix is horrible. Let's stop making excuses for how bad he was in this junk. If it weren't for so many memorable perfomances he's given since Walk the Line, it would be easy to liken his effort in this rubbish, akin to Brando's in The Island of Dr. Moreau.


:lol: :lol:

Crowe makes it watchable. But having said that, I actually prefer Spartacus

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Wed May 14, 2014 11:14 am
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
Full disclosure: I never saw this film in its entirety and the last time I sat down with it was not long after its first release on DVD. In other words, I was on the cusp of taking movies seriously, but not quite there yet. My impression of the movie was that it was dour and the fights weren't very creative.

I'm sure the style of Gladiator seemed very fresh and edgy for its time, but looking back on it now, the seeds for the decline of strong direction in action/adventure movies were planted by this film. Some of the shots are gorgeously composed; others are oppressive and confused and others yet are simple reverses between talking heads. The editing in the battle sequences is downright terrible. The film is laden with post-production flourishes that don't seem to serve any storytelling function that I can recognize. They mainly call attention to themselves. The actors are on hand to be stern and to recite Star Warsian dialogue; Phoenix does the best he can to enliven the material and everybody else just tries not to smile.

I did not hate Gladiator, but I can't help wondering if people held it in such esteem at the time of its release because there was nothing much like it. Nowadays, there's way too much like it.

It strikes me that without the stylistic flummery and a massive reduction in budget, this might have made a scrappy little B-grade picture. Its lavishness hurts it far more than it helps.

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Fri May 16, 2014 7:22 pm
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
I agree with Ken's complaints, I remembered the action scenes being bland and unexciting, but had forgotten just how confusing, sloppy and messy they were. The editing is actually even worse then that of the Bourne sequels. Much as I love Crowe as an actor, his performance in this film just did absolutely nothing for me, it seemed like he was only doing it for a paycheck, aside from the late Oliver Reed, none of the acting in the film really did much of anything for me. So ultimately my opinion of this film really hasn't changed much, I was only reminded of why I hate it, historical epics in general don't do much for me, and this was no exception, about the nicest thing I can say about this film is that it dosen't suck quite as badly as "Alexander", but that's not really saying much.

I think this film was only a success because people hadn't seen anything like it before, if it had come out today, there's little chance it would've been nominated for anything except Razzies and it likely would've bombed.


Fri May 16, 2014 10:14 pm
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
Jeff Wilder wrote:

Quote:
As far as historical sword epics go, I'd rank Gladiator lower than Braveheart. But ahead of many misfires such as Kingdom Of Heaven.


Have you see the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven? It's actually very good, almost a completely different film.


Sun May 18, 2014 1:26 am
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
Raf wrote:
Jeff Wilder wrote:

Quote:
As far as historical sword epics go, I'd rank Gladiator lower than Braveheart. But ahead of many misfires such as Kingdom Of Heaven.


Have you see the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven? It's actually very good, almost a completely different film.


Didn't like either. Gladiator was just plain stupid with a script that bordered on embarrassing, while Kingdom of Heaven: The Director's Cut misfired because Orlando Bloom's character doesn't actually do anything until the end.

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Mon May 19, 2014 12:20 am
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
moviemkr7 wrote:
Raf wrote:
Jeff Wilder wrote:

Quote:
As far as historical sword epics go, I'd rank Gladiator lower than Braveheart. But ahead of many misfires such as Kingdom Of Heaven.


Have you see the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven? It's actually very good, almost a completely different film.


Didn't like either. Gladiator was just plain stupid with a script that bordered on embarrassing, while Kingdom of Heaven: The Director's Cut misfired because Orlando Bloom's character doesn't actually do anything until the end.

I guess it's true -- people's general perceptions of this film live or die on their opinion of Orlando Bloom. :|


Wed May 21, 2014 2:27 am
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
And rightly so.

I watched Kingdom of Heaven when it was released in early 2005, and my first thought was "good film, shame about Orlando Bloom".

It was a miscasting. Any film where the worst actor in it is also the lead is the very definition of miscasting.

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Wed May 21, 2014 4:26 am
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
Luckily I have a weekend coming up where I'm mostly free, so I'll be watching GLADIATOR again on Sunday. At the time, it was my favorite movie of 2000, and one of three times that decade my #1 film matched up with the Best Picture winner (other two-- LOTR: RETURN OF THE KING and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN) Let's see how well that holds up. My post will be amended with my thoughts.

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Wed May 21, 2014 9:50 pm
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
KWRoss wrote:
one of three times that decade my #1 film matched up with the Best Picture winner (other two-- LOTR: RETURN OF THE KING and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN) Let's see how well that holds up. My post will be amended with my thoughts.


Twice that happened for me in the 2000s (2006 with The Departed and the following year with No Country).

2000: Almost Famous
2001: Mulholland Drive
2002: Minority Report
2003: Mystic River
2004: Before Sunset
2005: Sin City
2006: The Departed
2007: No Country For Old Men
2008: Doubt
2009: Precious

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Wed May 21, 2014 10:51 pm
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
My #1 movie of the year only matched with the Academy Award's pick twice in the 2000's as well. They were 2003 (Return of the King) and 2006 (The Departed). Gladiator is close though. It's #3 or 4 on my top 10 of 2000.

Gladiator is actually my favorite Ridley Scott film. It's his masterpiece IMO. His best work. Better than Alien (so-so IMO) and better than Blade Runner, which is a fine film, but doesn't quite achieve greatness, although I must confess that it's probably in need of a rewatch. Heck, maybe even Alien as well. I like a lot of slow burn movies, but Alien was just kind of dull IMO. Aliens is a far superior movie in every imaginable. In fact, Aliens is my top 20 of all time. I love it.


Thu May 22, 2014 4:22 am
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Post Re: Reappraising Gladiator
ilovemovies wrote:
My #1 movie of the year only matched with the Academy Award's pick twice in the 2000's as well. They were 2003 (Return of the King) and 2006 (The Departed). Gladiator is close though. It's #3 or 4 on my top 10 of 2000.

Gladiator is actually my favorite Ridley Scott film. It's his masterpiece IMO. His best work. Better than Alien (so-so IMO) and better than Blade Runner, which is a fine film, but doesn't quite achieve greatness, although I must confess that it's probably in need of a rewatch. Heck, maybe even Alien as well. I like a lot of slow burn movies, but Alien was just kind of dull IMO. Aliens is a far superior movie in every imaginable. In fact, Aliens is my top 20 of all time. I love it.

I think you definitely should rewatch it. For me this felt like amateur hour for Scott, I didn't think it was possible for him to direct such an awful film, but somehow he managed.


Fri May 30, 2014 12:13 pm
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