Blind Spot Series: Gladiator (2000)

gladiator-2000-movie-review-blind-spot-seriesDirector: Ridley Scott

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

Runtime: 155 Minutes

Main Cast: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, David Schofield, John Shrapnel, Tomas Arana

Plot: Maximus was a strong and loved Roman general, so much so that the aging Emperor Marcus Aurelius chooses him to be his heir over his own son, Commodus. A power struggle breaks out and Maximus’ family are slaughtered, leaving Maximus himself captured and put into the Gladiator games. Now fuelled by vengeance, Maximus sets his sights on rising up the ranks and avenge his wife and son.

My Thoughts: My timing couldn’t be more perfect with my Blind Spot choices lately. I’d chosen The Matrix as my choice last month right when a Keanu Reeves obsession hit, and I was over the moon to realise my June pick was Gladiator when I’ve been spending as much time as possible playing Assassins Creed: Odyssey. One thing I hadn’t realised was how long the movie was, IMDB says it’s just over 2 and a half hours but I think I had some kind of special edition because my copy was just a few minutes shy of 3 hours! Why are all these famously amazing movies so darn long?!

Anyway, I’ll get straight to the point. I did enjoy Gladiator, in fact, I got really into it for the last hour or so, but it took me a long while to actually get invested. Call me uncultured (I wouldn’t argue with you) but Maximus’ story was just so similar to Spartacus’, and that’s a story I know in great detail thanks to the Starz! TV Show, which I know came later but cut me some slack.

Once I’d convinced myself to empty my thoughts and just enjoy the movie for what it was, I had a blast. I loved how Maximus managed to get the other gladiators to work together as one unit, and his rivalry with Commodus was intense. I also now know where the line “Are you not entertained?!”. I think where similar movies go all in for the action and choreographed fight scenes, Gladiator delivers some of the best dialogue I’ve heard in a movie. You can sense when someone’s about to dish out a killer speech, and those are the best moments.

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Best Bit: The scene where Commodus is praising this ‘Gladiator’ and asks him his name will be the moment that I always remember the movie for. “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

Worst Bit: I get that the focus of the movie is the hatred between Maximus and Commodus, but with such a long runtime I would have liked some of the side characters to have got a little more limelight.

Fun Trivia: The wounds on Russell Crowe’s face after the opening battle scene are real, caused when his horse startled and backed him into tree branches. The stitches in his cheek are clearly visible when he is telling Commodus he intends to return home.

My Rating: In true gladiator games style, I give it 4 thumbs up!

gladiator-2000-russell-crowe-thumbs-up-live

blind-spot-series-2019-banner-v2The Blind Spot Series was created a few years ago by Ryan at The Matinee, and is now hosted by Sofia at Returning Videotapes. As part of the Series, bloggers choose 1 movie to watch and review each month that is deemed a ‘classic’ or ‘must-watch’. To see the rest of my picks for the year, check out my announcement post here.

2019 Blind Spot Movie List

blind-spot-series-movies-2019

Apologies for the radio silence for the last week or so, but I’ve just been taking the time to enjoy the Christmas break, as well as deal with a lot of illnesses (and a broken TV!) in the family. I’ve spent some time planning for 2019 and part of that includes taking part in the Blind Spot challenge, created originally by Ryan at The Matinee and now hosted by Sofia at Returning Videotapes.

I’ve tried a couple of years to take part but always fell behind around Spring. I think it’s because I picked movies that although deemed classic, amazing, must-see, etc – they weren’t movies that really interested me, so it was really hard to find the drive to give up an evening for them.

This year I’ve been more realistic about what I think I would actually like to watch, and so without further ado, here are my choices for 2019:

JANUARY – Oldboy (2003)

FEBRUARY – Rear Window (1954)

MARCH – Saving Private Ryan (1998)

APRIL – Heat (1995)

MAY – The Matrix (1999)

JUNE – Gladiator (2000)

JULY – American Beauty (1999)

AUGUST – Chicago (2002)

SEPTEMBER – The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

OCTOBER – The Shining (1980)

NOVEMBER – Million Dollar Baby (2004)

DECEMBER – Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Wish me luck! I’ll update this post with links as and when my reviews are up, and I’ll probably pin the post to the menu of my blog for easy viewing.