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So, an epic that’s not actually epic. An epic for the masses. And a pretty good job it did too, at least I thought it did until the LOTR trilogy came along, but that’s another story.

At first glance, there isn’t alot to the plot of Gladiator – some popular guy is doing a little too well, then evil slightly strange guy comes along, kills good guy’s family and threatens to destroy an entire civilization. Good guy manages to fight his way back, back to the top, and finally kill bad guy, before dying too.

A nice revenge story with heaps of bloody death, a number of one-liners and lots of shouting and grimacing thrown in for good measure. But herein lies the problem with alot of moviegoers (me too, I can admit, although I try to combat it when I can) – they watch a movie with too many preconceptions and expectations, and so the movie they see gets a little warped (and sometimes a lot).

By simplifying Gladiator’s plot too much you miss out the machinations of Commodus’ sister Lucilla (with one of the senators), the tortured soul of Commodus (it was bad parenting, see? or was it…), the camp pomp of the slave owner (Oliver Reed’s character), and the slaves themselves, to name a few. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, you really should, and make sure you actually watch the film you are seeing, rather than the film you think you are seeing.

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  • Chris Kent

    I liked Gladiator, though saw it as a rehash of the superior Spartacus and even moreso Ben-Hur. In fact, going by your simplified description of Gladiator, you have pretty much described Ben-Hur verbatim.

    The Hans Zimmer soundtrack to Gladiator is extraordinary. Highly recommended whether one has seen the film or not….

  • jadester

    unfortunately, i haven’t seen either spartacus or ben hur yet. I know i really should though (will do one day)
    I agree that the music is quite something. Certainly helps the overall “feel” of the film

  • Chris Kent

    I am working on a blog as we speak on how many films of today mirror better films of the past – To Live and Die in LA, Hidalgo, Gladiator, Titanic, etc…..

    Spartacus was one of Stanley Kubrick’s earliest films, and he later disowned it….it’s fantastic. Ben-Hur is at times laughable, others unforgettable. Gladiator is superior, though the two films mirror each other…..

  • Michael Bravo

    I’d like to point out that the soundtrack is not exclusively by Zimmer (who does an excellent job, too), but also by Lisa Gerrard of the Dead Can Dance fame.

  • Chris Kent

    You are exactly right Michael. My apologies.

  • mwanji

    I thought Commodus the only interesting character (probably the only interesting thing) in the movie. How this movie could win an Oscar over “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” remains a mystery to me.

  • Chris Kent

    Yeah, I was surprised too. If a movie wins best picture it should also win best director. I know Ridley Scott didn’t win. I can’t remember who won best director that year.