Saturday, February 09, 2008

DVD Collection Part 3

Gladiator

Rating: 95

Plot summary: General Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius has a slight problem. That "true emperor" is in the twilight of his life, and wants Maximus to take over as leader of Rome. The humble soldier refuses. His reward? Marcus' power-hungry goat of a son Commodus kills his own father and orders the execution of Maximus and his family. Maximus escapes that fate, but is too late to save his wife and son. Grief-stricken, he becomes a slave, leading up to the longest and most unlikely revenge plan in the history of revenge plans. Along the way, he befriends a powerful senator, makes friends with a goofy Germanic slave, kind of rekindles a long-lost love, and saves Rome by giving Commodus the "Tavington treatment" (a blade right through the throat). This is all despite the fact that Commodus, the most powerful man in Rome, is a dirty, dirty, sister-kissing cheater.

Favorite Quote 1: They say no.
Favorite Quote 2: I will see you again. But not yet. Not yet.
Favorite Quote 3: Now we are free.
Favorite Quote 4: Now they love Maximus for his mercy!
Favorite Quote 5: Marcus Aurelius had a dream that was Rome, Proximo. That is not it. That is not it!

Why it's in my collection: Gladiator is one of those movies that just stuck with me for some reason. I remember going to see it with my father in the summer of 2000, thinking it was one of the coolest movies I'd ever seen. I loved the costumes, the sets, the action pieces. A true hero and a gripping story full of betrayal and political intrigue. I thought maybe one day I'd be able to write something just as compelling. Maybe one day...

Odd acquisition story: This is one of the first three DVDs I ever owned. In fact, the only reason I ever got into the DVD format was because of this movie. As I mentioned earlier, Gladiator just stuck with me for some reason. When it came out on home video, you had to wait until six months after the DVD release to get the VHS copy! Up until this point, I was completely pissed off at the DVD format. It was being shoved down my throat, and I was perfectly happy with my VHS tapes. But if I wanted to own Gladiator so I could watch it over and over again, I'd have to wait six months for the tape! So, after much thought and reflection, I realized I had enough money to buy a DVD player. I went to Kmart the day after Thanksgiving with my friend Brian and purchased a Samsung DVD player that was on sale. Along with that, I bought three movies: Gladiator, The Patriot (the Mel Gibson one, not the Jean-Claude Van Damme one), and Frequency. Of course, six months later, the VHS version came out. I didn't care...I'd finally caved to the DVD format, immersed in glorious widescreen, deleted scenes, director commentary, and delicious extra content. Would I own a DVD player today if it weren't for Gladiator? The answer to that question is a resounding yes. However, it's not a stretch to say I may not have caved into the format until the release of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace the next year.

Lingering Questions: Who is this Russell Crowe guy? You think he'll have much of a career after this? Could Joaquin Phoenix ever give a creepier performance than his incestuous turn as Commodus? If Oliver Reed hadn't died during filming, what would've happened to his character? Why did Hagen have to die?

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