Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Russell Crowe, Connie Nielsen

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Produced by: Universal Pictures, Dreamworks SKG, Scott Free Productions

Distributed by: Dreamworks

Genre: action/adventure

Xibo's grade:


Average grade:



Review by Xibo Date seen: May 7, 2000
Viewing Location: Chelsea, NYC Grade: A
Summary: Extremely well done gladiator movie.
Russell Crowe has arrived. He absolutely fabulous as Maximus. Joaquin Phoenix plays the pantywaiste Commodus, a pathetic excuse for a Caesar. I thought naming him "Commodus" was too far over the top-- I mean, commode? Sheesh.

The story plays like an absurd D&D adventure where the main hero is a 20th level fighter. He's not only good, he's a general. He's not just good, he's awe-inspiring. He's not just good, but no one stands a chance against him. He just totally dominates like a hero should. It felt good to have a movie finally (after years) where the hero just completely dominates like that. My favorite scene is where he walks out and slays eight competitors in under a minute and yells out in disgust, "Are you not entertained?"

The war scenes at the beginning are of epic proportions. Some of the filming techniques reminded me of the battle scenes in "Saving Private Ryan", with blood and debris flying everywhere.

The scenes in Rome, with clouds and sunsets over the city, have to be amongst the best computer-generated imagery I've ever seen.

Finally, there's the soundtrack. It's very airy and moving, one of the better soundtracks I've heard in a long time. The vocals sound almost like Enya, but they aren't. I looked it up afterward, it was Lisa Gerard, from Dead Can Dance, and she's extremely talented. Hans Zimmer managed the bulk of the instrumentals.

All in all, I thought this was excellent, the only downside being the writing on Commodus's role. It would have been more interesting to have a stronger bad guy. 

B- B- B-
Review by Scalveg Date seen: May 7, 2000
Viewing Location: Fancy theater Grade: B-
Summary: Beautiful but banal
If someone told me "There's a new movie about a gladiator" this is the movie I would have expected... in nearly every detail. On the other hand, I'm a sucker for a well-produced film. At the end, I was just not engaged with the plot thoroughly to appreciate the closing scenes. 

B- B- B-
Review by teach Date seen: June 27, 2000
Viewing Location: Springfield, Missouri Grade: B-
Summary: Major action, very weak plot
Everyone raved about this movie so I had to see it. Perhaps my expectations were too high. There was a lot of bloody action, very well filmed. I liked the idea that the hero was never beaten. That was refreshing. However, the story line was weak and I felt the focus was on the fighting. I like a strong story which would have made this a great film. Needless to say, I was disappointed.  

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