Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Gladiator (2000)



Reviews and Comments

Don't be fooled by Gladiator's Best Picture and Best Actor wins at the Academy Awards. This is one of the weakest Best Pictures in Oscar history. It bears the visage of a Roman epic, but take away the costumes and the (surprisingly poor) computer-generated sets, and it's a classic B-movie formula, where a creepy badguy shafts a tragedy-ridden goodguy, and the goodguy spends the rest of the movie trying to survive long enough to get his revenge.

With this reworking of the formula, the ante is upped a bit: this film is excessively violent and bloody. It's understandable, given the subject matter, but the film is not purposeful enough to justify it. I wonder with regret why modern mindless entertainment must be so violent in entertaining the masses, but I suppose today's society is still a lot better in that regard than the times Gladiator portrays, during which actual death and gore in the arena were how the masses got their mindless entertainment. Unfortunately, it is not Gladiator's strengths but its weaknesses that provoke such thought. Try as it might to be important, and succeed as it did with the Academy, this movie is just a boring drama with occasional grisly action scenes.

So it's a formulaic summer blockbuster, but is it a good one? Eh. It's not a good sign that, for all the various tragedies and victories that pepper the last half hour, I didn't much care what happened.