The senators want him to provide sewers for the city's Greek district, where the plague is raging, but Commodus decides instead on a season of games.Proximo arrives with his seasoned gladiators from Africa, who prove nearly invincible and threaten the emperor's popularity. A foolish choice in art direction casts a pall over Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" that no swordplay can cut through. Its colors are mud tones at the drab end of the palette, and it seems to have been filmed on grim and overcast days.
Events are staged to re-create famous battles, and after the visitors wipe out the home team, a puzzled Commodus tells his aide, "My history's a little hazy--but shouldn't the barbarians lose the battle of Carthage?
" Later, an announcer literally addresses the crowd in these words: "Caesar is pleased to bring you the only undefeated champion in Roman history--the legendary Titus!
It's only necessary to think back a few months, to Julie Taymor's "Titus," for a film set in ancient Rome that's immeasurably better to look at.
The visual accomplishment of "Titus" shames "Gladiator," and its story is a whole heck of a lot better than the "Gladiator" screenplay, even if Shakespeare didn't make his Titus the only undefeated champion in Roman history.
However, there were some divergences from historical facts to enhance interest, to preserve narrative continuity, and for safety or practical reasons. They were famous and consequently free men lined up to try their chance on the ground.
The brutal The imprecision’s are legion from the opening scene.After Maximus defeats the barbarians, Marcus names him protector of Rome.But he is left for dead by Marcus' son, a bitter rival named Commodus (the name comes from the Latin for "convenient" and not what you're thinking).This same story could have been rousing entertainment; I have just revisited the wonderful "Raiders of the Lost Ark," which is just as dimwitted but 12 times more fun. It employs depression as a substitute for personality, and believes that if the characters are bitter and morose enough, we won't notice how dull they are.Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) is one of those spoiled, self-indulgent, petulant Roman emperors made famous in the age of great Roman epics, which ended with "Spartacus" (1960).The moral backbone of the story is easily mastered.Commodus wants to be a dictator, but is opposed by the senate, led by Gracchus (Derek Jacobi).After escaping and finding that his wife and son have been murdered, Maximus finds his way to the deserts of North Africa, where he is sold as a slave to Proximo (the late Oliver Reed), a manager of gladiators.When Commodus lifts his late father's ban on gladiators in Rome, in an attempt to distract the people from hunger and plagues, Maximus slashes his way to the top, and the movie ends, of course, with the Big Fight.(There are blue skies in the hero's dreams of long-ago happiness, but that proves the point.) The story line is "Rocky" on downers.The hero, a general from Spain named Maximus (Russell Crowe), is a favorite of the dying emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris).