The Eagle (2011) ” … an anti-Gladiator movie?” | The Warden’s Walk | Movie Review

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The novel The Eagle of the Ninth, by Rosemary Sutcliff, is one of blogger David Urbach’s favourite authors: “I desperately wanted to see this (film The Eagle). Been waiting for it for years”. David has commented previously here on this Rosemary Sutcliff blog, and writes his own intriguing The Wardens Walk, with reviews of fantasy and sci-fi books, movies, and webcomics. He writes a long, thoughtful analysis of The Eagle. He starts his key thoughts section:

In some ways, The Eagle is sort of an anti-Gladiator movie. The scale is realistic and human rather than epic. The locales are tangibly real instead of glitzy CGI. The heroes do not engage in superstar posturing, do not splatter their enemies’ blood at every opportunity, and do value honor and mercy over revenge. It may not be as thrilling or spectacular as Gladiator, but it’s more internally consistent, and, in its own way, wiser and more heartening.

His recommendation is:

Not a perfect movie, but very good and rather unique. For those who like movies about ancient Rome and period adventure stories, yes. Also, if you saw Gladiator (2000) and thought “Well that’s fun, but I wonder what it all really looked like,” then you should see this movie. The Eagle should appeal to movie-lovers who are frustrated with the way modern action movies prefer to ignore story and character in favor of rushing from bloody killing to bloody killing. It’s an exciting adventure that really does care about the characters and their relationship

And after a detailed analysis, in ‘quick conclusion’ he comments:

…  despite some flaws with ‘Shaky Cam’ and a bare-bones script, The Eagle is an exciting and beautiful-looking adventure, with a strong sense of place and themes that are wiser and more unique than are usually found in period Hollywood movies.

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