Here’s a quick postviewous instead of a ponderous one from the baggadocious.
Gladiator won a ton of awards. People loved that shit. I remember enjoying the flick but not getting carried away like all the other loonies. Here are my thoughts after viewing ten years removed from the release:
- The dialogue is (mostly) crap. The ramblings of Commodus are forgettable. The war speech is by the numbers. The only memorable lines come from Proximo. Speaking of Proximo…
- The characters are 1D or 2D. Maximus might be the worst offender. Alls he wants to do is get home to his beloved wifeypoo and chile and his waving fields of wheat. He’s the worst. The tall redhead (I could look up her name, but what’s the point really?) sister of Commodus is pretty weak. I can’t remember if they ever talk about her son’s biological father. Could it be Maximus? What the fuck happened between them? And what the fuck happened between her and her pops the dead emperor? The opportunity for depth that’s never really explored. Commodus is also pretty stale. Sure we get a little bit of “why didn’t father love me as much as Maximus?” but it’s really just a load of shit. He’s a psychopath and that’s that.1 Other minor characters aren’t too interesting or aren’t fleshed out except for my man Proximo. Proximo is killer. He has the best lines about death and duty and the like. He is a businessman / entertainer / gladiator / father. And he has the worst fucking death in the flick. Bullshit.
- The acting is okay. Crowe is solid with what little he has but there’s no way he should have been nominated for awards. Joaquin was at times over the top, at times on his game. His lip scar added a lot to the character.. not sure if we can credit him with that. The redhead was fine just fine. It looked like Richard Harris wasn’t too drunk and played a passible aging emperor. The guy playing Proximo was money of course. The cats playing Crowe’s wife and child were turrible.
- Tech departments are terrific. Cinematography and production design are top notch. The visual effects hold up pretty well, particularly the sequence with the tigers.2 Obvi the fight choreography was on point. The editing was wonderful. The war / gladiating stuff is good of course. The sequence when Maximus is waking up in slavery has a deft touch.
- Story is a tad dodgy. We never resolve the tension between Maximus and redhead. But the worst part was the climactic fight between Commodus and Maximus. I don’t buy for a second that Commodus would fight Maximus under any circumstances. They tried to soften it up a bit with that shiv to the lung… but I still don’t think he’d risk it. He may be insane and evil and all, but he’s not smart and a bit narcissistic.
It’s a fun flick. But that’s about it.
This, being a postviewous review, means that it is either A) a movie that is no longer in the theaters but is being watched for the first time by the reviewer; B) a movie that was seen by the reviewer in the theater but was then revisited soon after it was released on DVD/Blu-ray; or C) a “classic” (don’t eat our lunches if you don’t think a particular movie should be dubbed as such) that has been viewed so many times that a new review should be written and consumed.