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.