Movie Thoughts: Gladiator

Gladiator was a 2000 historical drama film starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, and Connie Nielsen. I was blown away by this movie for many years. I loved everything about it but especially the music and the fighting. The big battle at the beginning was so cool to see in the theater. Everything seemed so realistic, like this is what could have happened. The movie really catered to men’s power fantasy. The intro battle showed what the hero was capable of, then the rest of the movie was a series of tests against him. After each one he appeared to be more and more powerful until the end when he killed the most powerful human that lived at that time. I was teenager, so I loved all of this. While it was mostly a guy movie, women could enjoy some parts of it too. There were a lot of action scenes in the movie, but also many quieter, dialogue heavy scenes.

Gladiator is still one of my favorite movies of all time, but I do consider it to have flaws now. First of all, the movie was very depressing pretty much throughout. There were short times of happiness, but for the most part it was pretty sad and dark. In addition, the fighting scenes were extremely graphic with limbs and heads being cut off on camera. There was very little bad language and no sex scenes, but the violence alone was enough for this movie to get an R rating. These days I prefer movies that are more tame. I don’t want to see that much violence. I also like more positive movies. It’s okay to have darkness, but there needs to be pockets of happiness and humor throughout the movie, and especially at the end.

I will always remember seeing Gladiator for the first time with my dad. We were talking about it for weeks. That’s always the sign of a good movie. If I am still interested in a movie weeks after seeing it, there must be something good about it. My friends for some reason didn’t really get into it. I don’t know why. Some of them were more sophisticated I guess and thought the plot was too simple. Some of them said they hated Russell Crowe’s acting. Others had nothing to say about it either way. I was the only kid I knew that really liked it. I remember I went to a job interview at Blockbuster Video. One of the questions was what my favorite movie was. After saying Gladiator, the lady said “Really?”, not knowing what to think about it. I guess other young people liked Adam Sandler movies or the more recent Transformers movies.

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