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!

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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.

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Review: Alien: Covenant (2017)

alien-covenant-movie-review-2017Take this post with a pinch of salt and good humour. I’m not a Horror connoisseur, and I’ve watched approximately 2 and a half movies in the Alien franchise to date. They are the original Alien (actually kind of loved it), half of Aliens (it was on TV late at night, I’ll finish it someday) and Prometheus (saw it at the cinema, can’t remember anything). You’re probably wondering how I wound up at the cinema in the first place to see Alien: Covenant, right? It’s the husbands fault, despite being a wuss like me he loves the Alien series, and we’d both goaded each other into watching something scary together.

Here’s the plot, as I understand it. A ship bound for a faraway planet holds a small crew and a couple thousand frozen people ready to start a new colony (I’m not talking about Passengers I promise). Their ship is damaged and during repairs, one of the crew members’ helmet picks up a transmission from a much closer planet seemingly just as habitable as their original destination.

I’m not going to beat around the bush here. What ruins this movie is the fact that not one member of this crew seems to have watched a Horror movie before. This is 2 hours of dumb people doing dumb things. Here’s mistake numero uno: Months, if not years of research into this new planet must have taken place, and yet the crew change course on a whim, simply because none of them particularly want to go back into space sleep again.

Why not, do you ask? To tell you would ruin the surprise, but you know how much I can’t stand James Franco? I LOVE HIM in this movie. Best role he’s ever done, officially.

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While I’m at it, here’s some other stupid stuff that happens:
– Far too many people go off to investigate solo. Guys come on, you know that means you’re gonna die.
– Oh, you’ve managed to contain an alien in a locked room? Best open the door then!
– I dread to think how much all this tech cost, but apparently everyone’s shoes have the same grip as old Converse. Blood seems to be even more slippery than banana peel.
– What’s this creepy, squishy, giant alien egg here? Best stick my face in it!

I guess common sense isn’t a prerequisite for space travel, huh.

The movie’s highlight has to be Michael Fassbender, who just never puts in a bad performance. He’s in Covenant twice, because I completely forgot that he was also in Prometheus, and so we’re treated to double the Fassbender-robot action. Speaking of which…I simply can’t ignore the weirdly erotic flute playing scene where Fassbender-bot kisses himself…and talks about fingering…*cough*. It all got very awkward in that dark cinema room for a few minutes.

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Finally, movie makers, if I see your plot twist coming a mile off, you didn’t do a very good job. Although, thanks for making me feel smart, I had the most gleeful face when I got to call it before my husband did. He’s the kind of guy to call a plot twist during an opening sequence, and even though sometimes I think it’s luck and he’s just being an ass, I’m never 100% sure. He might have weird powers.

Who’s in for Prometheus 3 in a couple of years then? You can count me in, this piece of trash was hella fun! 2.5 out of 5 erotic bone flutes from me, that might be enough to share out with the remaining crew. You blow, and I’ll do the fingering. I can’t even type it without feeling the shame!

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