Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Epic Historical Movies

so this is the topic that got me thinking about doing a blog! in a roundabout way! i was talking about this with my boyfriend, then thought about putting it as a facebook note, then concurrently i was thinking i need an online presence if i ever wanna make a production company and why not start now ages before i’m ready to start it!

so in this category i would say are the following movies (obviously you can beg to differ! but i’m still gonna ignore you! haha!) : Gladiator, Alexander, Kingdom of Heaven, Last Legion, King Arthur, Troy, Braveheart. so theres a ton of others. but i’m gonna ignore lower budget ones, and the older ones coz they’re not my thing (such a different style that doesnt appeal to me at all!) i feel the success of Gladiator spawned a renewed interest in these. so except for Braveheart, they’re all post-Gladiator. now Gladiator is one of my all-time favourite movies, and absolute fave in this genre. so i measure all else against it! :) and ok i will admit Braveheart was also awesome!! not much complaints about that one, altho i wouldnt have said Mel could portray a burly fighting scotsman but he did it!

rant begin: why do all the movies mentioned above suck so much!??! i watched them with such hope, hope that was dashed and trampled. :( actually not all. King Arthur is maybe my 2nd fave now in the genre! clive owen’s great, keira knightley is fierce, and the other ‘knights of the round table’ are all kick-ass and some are super cute!! ie. ioan gruffudd and mads mikkelsen! i liked the fights in it, and stellan skarsgĂ„rd was amazingly scary! i loved the costumes and that they all had such different types of weapons and swords! i’ve watched it a bunch of times now and lovin it more and more! Last Legion’s quite decent too. story of how Excalibur came to be. supposedly julius caesar’s sword hidden away. found by the boy romulus who escapes to britain and becomes pendragon. (italian novel so of course Excalibur comes from rome/italy! ;) colin firth isnt your typical hero for these kinds of movies but they were saying in the extras they were looking for a more ‘thinking man’ hero so that kind of fits. and they have a chick who kicks ass!! and not just with a bow like keira! played by aishwarya rai who’s cool but zero fighting background, just a dancer. like ziyi zhang from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero. which to me is unfortunate coz theres so few female fighting roles i wish they’d use actresses who have a background as fighters/martial artists!

main rant: (haha) those 2 were decent and i quite like them. but i’ll start with Kingdom of Heaven.... i had such hopes coz it was ridley scott from Gladiator directing and orlando bloom is pretty cool. but it sucked in my opinion. so much so that altho i saw it on the plane i forgot and bought it thinking i hadn’t seen it. orlando is sooooooo not good enough to play the epic hero type! i think the worst to me was his attempt at the standard “rousing speech” thats always in these types of movies... EPIC FAIL!! he just cant pull it off. i also realized i was disappointed with that movie coz i hate the crusades. killing done by all sides in the name of religion. not as defense of your homeland. hard to get behind the cause then for me. even tho in that movie the christian leader was preaching tolerance of all inside jerusalem... why were the christians even there in the first place? they hadnt been there for ages!

then you’ve got Alexander which just droned on and on, and again i dont think colin farrell is epic hero material. kinda boring altogether. and then there’s Troy... sigh... potentially great but it just didnt do it for me? eric bana’s great but doesnt dominate as a character. brad pitt was great, but his character wasnt meant to be a pure hero, so you couldnt get behind him either. it does have great fights tho, especially the spear one in front of the gates.

i think one thing that extra-disappointed me in these movies was the lack of cool women fighters or heroes in it! thats probably what saved King Arthur and Last Legion for me!

oh and i’m super hopeful about the new Robin Hood!! ridley scott with russell crowe again AND with cate blanchett!! :)))) fingers crossed folks!!


Harry said...

This is Harry testing your comment section. Success?

Lady Knight said...

haha yesss!! successs! i see it plus got the email notification i wanted! :)

Bionic Buddha said...

How about Excalibur? One of the "old" ones that doesn't hold up to modern movies I guess, but it was one of the first historical/fantasy movies I ever saw and remains a favourite. A rare opportunity to see Patrick Stewart SUCK (he was bald even back then).

Have you seen Mists of Avalon? A really interesting take on the old-religion-vs-new-religion (Pagans vs. Christians) side of the Arthurian legend. Don't remember if there was any cool combat though.

Agree the Crusades were awful, but that's what makes them so (historically) interesting. How can people get so deranged? The survival rate for European crusaders was dismally low, how did the rulers of the time get - i dunno - hundreds of thousands of knights and commoners to march for a year to go fight in a foreign land? Fascinating.

Troy was a bit disappointing, but still a good effort at filming a very difficult story. Most disappointing for me is that they don't seem to be working on the sequel. I thought that was the whole reason for casting a rising star (Sean Bean - well he WAS, at the time) in the relatively minor role of Odysseus.

Does this thread have to be about _historical_ movies? Conan the Barbarian was my favourite. :)

I don't have much hope for the new Robin Hood movie actually. It looks like action porn: "let's cut out all this story and character stuff to make room for more fights, chases and impalements!" I hope I'm wrong.

-Johnny 0.

Lady Knight said...

haha i think us two could wax philosophical on this subject forever!! :P ... so yea Excalibur is really good but i gotta admit i’m not in love with it coz of the style of that era. altho that might also be coz i’ve watched it for the first time recently after having seen all these modern ones. and yea patrick stewart did suck in it! haha! actually one thats classic favourite for me is Willow!! :) coz yea one of the first i saw and loved!

and yea totally saw Mists of Avalon! very cool take and i totally enjoyed it! i actually read the book too ages ago and the movie surprisingly didnt butcher it! i was considering including that along with a slew of others but decided to go with the ones that came to mind first or it would get too long! maybe i should write a part 2 to this post! :)

wow good points re: the crusades... like despite the extremely low survival rate they still got fighters to go?? you’re right... in terms of that its very intriguing!

Troy... yea maybe the story is just hard to do in a film? and yea good point?? sean bean was rising (sucks he’s been low profile since? i quite like him!) and i forgot about him being odysseus!! which would be a great tie-in for another movie! reminds me tho of Eragon and Golden Compass since they didnt do spectacularly they’re ignoring the need for the sequels! grrrrr!!

haha yea i’d love to talk about fantasy movies too! so much so that i’m planning a separate post! :) conan was great... but maybe coz i’m a girl i always loved Red Sonja more!! haha! :)

ack... god... i really hope robin hood doesnt end up that way. grrrr!! altho yea... i wouldnt be surprised if it did. its such the current trend with a lot of movies.

spacechampion said...

Sean Bean is cast as Ned Stark in Game of Thrones for HBO! Having read the books, George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, I say he is perfect for the role. A great character actor is a series that is made for great characters. They got the guy who won an Oscar for CGI in Avatar, so Game of Thrones is going to look great too. Winter is Coming!

There are a lot of people who hold Excaliber in high esteem because no fantasy movie before Lord of the Rings has been able to touch it.

Troy is a long story that can't be done justice in a 2-hour movie.

Johnny O. said...

I'm ready to talk about movies anytime, Lady Knight! Sure, keep the conversation going in future posts.

Willow was great.

I just read a great novel treatment of The Illiad, called The Song of Troy by Colleen McCullough. Much more readable than the original ;-) and it makes real people of the characters, inferring some of the real motivations and emotions that were driving them.

Ugh, Red Sonja! I was first in line on opening day, and it was SO disappointing! I think I was about 15 at the time? I haven't seen it since, so I can't even tell you now why I didn't like it. Maybe because Arnold played a bit character named Lord somebody or other instead of Conan. Copyright issues?

Spacechampion, thanks for the news about Game Of Thrones. That was a good book but I ran out of steam before finishing the series. A movie adaptation should be much more digestable :)

spacechampion said...

Your welcome - but it isn't a movie, it's a TV series. 10 episodes for the first book.

Lady Knight said...

hey guys! finally replying! :/ the Game of Thrones series totally looks like its gonna be great! Sean Bean as Ned Stark... simply awesome!! love that guy and loved that character. which ties me into my opinion of the series... Ned dying was the first of many disappointments. sigh. :( ..... but its gonna make for a great tv show!! i'm glad! and glad Legend of the Seeker is out there as well! 2 good fantasy tv shows?!?! unheard of!

another thought of mine on Excalibur... like i said i watched it recently, and wasnt keen on it (so much so that i put in King Arthur right after to... hmm... how to put it... change the taste in my head? :P) ... but it may be partly coz the more they've learnt about king arthur its likely he lived around 5th/6th(?) century AD rather than the full plate armour of 14-16th(?) centuries that most of the tales are set at/written during? (i'm hazy on details!) and i realized i hate full plate armour era... boring fighting!! haha! ok i dont really hate it but not as enamoured with it! :)

good to hear about that novel treatment of the Illiad! my dad keeps encouraging me to read the original but i havent been up for it! and i love novels totally coz of characterization!

so Red Sonja disappointed eh? yea arnold being minor could be a factor?

in any case.... lotsa great stuff out there!! woohoo!