Gladiator:
Reminiscent of a Grand Spectacle

        Film making is now considered art, but it takes an expert to know how to accurately and flawlessly project a film correctly. There can be more people working on one project than living in fifty-percent of American cities and towns. Its takes time, money; but more importantly, it takes skill. Gladiator has always been the best in my mind. Even with all the movies I have seen in my lifetime, from the first films of Panavision to the animated Pixar films of the late 90s and early millennia, it had remained my favorite.

        Ridley Scott was given direction for this film because of his long career; however, it was this film which truly launched him into the driver's seat of his own career. He followed Gladiator with Hannibal (2001) Black Hawk Down (2001), and Kingdom of Heaven (2005). The story is marvelously told by a wonderful cast led by Russell Crowe (Maximus), Connie Nelson (Lucilla), and the vile villain Joaquin Phoenix (Commodus). Awards abound for this film, winning an Oscar for best actor, best visual effects, best sound, best costume design, and best picture. Best supporting actor, art direction, cinematography, editing, direction, score, and screenplay rounded out the total of twelve nominations for the Academy Awards in 2001. Only twenty-three films in the history of the Oscars have received as many or more than twelve. This is quite the feat in an age where movies are contemplated for years and can take years to make. Ridley Scott definitely directed this film perfectly.

        The sets had to be a daunting task to build and computer generate. Reproducing the entire city of Rome, the Coliseum and few complete towns spread throughout the Empire was a main reason the movie was nominated for best art direction. The camera angles in the film give breath-taking views of the fights, cities and allow you to know what is going on at all times. However, it is the musical score which truly adds a sixth sense to understanding the story. The music of Hans Zimmer completes any film. I do wish though this movie would have been nominated for best choreography. The fight scenes are realistic and genuine and never lose interest throughout each entire match.

        The story begins with our humble main character, Maximus Decimus Meridius, leading his Roman army as a mighty general and ends with our humble character trying to exact revenge upon the man responsible for his family's death. This is a story of one man doing what he thinks is best which leads him on a path to help an Empire. The opening battle scene sets the stage for a battle-of-will within Maximus from a mere man to legend.

        Full of deceit, love, loyalty, action, blood, and a bunch of one-liners, Gladiator is a wonderful movie which will be considered a great movie in twenty, thirty, or even fifty years. It will be a timeless classic. My favorite line in the movie is in from Maximus when he defeats five gladiators by himself and throws his swords at the gladiator owners and screams:

         "Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?"

Eric Morris

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