GLADIATOR delivers the goods, at the box office and for this reviewer...
May 7th, 2000
It's late Sunday and the word is out, GLADIATOR is tops at the box office (big surprise). A $32.7 million opening is something special.
GLADIATOR - THE CREATORS
Directed by: Ridley Scott (BLADE RUNNER, ALIEN)
Written by: Screenwriting credits are given to David H. Franzoni (AMISTAD, 1997), John Logan (ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, 1999) and William Nicholson.
GLADIATOR - THE PITCH
Franzoni pitched the movie to Scott by first showing him a painting of a Gladiator standing in the middle of the Coliseum. Sword drawn, standing motionless, sweat and blood dripping from his brow. Then he went into his pitch. When he was done, Scott paused, and said, "I can do this." (or at least this is the rumor)
GLADIATOR - THE ACTOR
The best movie of the year so far, and it will be the box office hit of the year. The direction is superb and the acting is first class. The intensity Russell Crowe gives his characters (you need to see him in ROMPER STOMPER) is phenomenal, all of them, and Maximus (his character in this movie) is no different. Crowe brings to the table what most actors can not, pure agonizing, riveting, piercing intensity. Mel Gibson in LETHAL WEAPON was intense, but in a wild and crazed way. In Crowe the actor you have someone who can make you feel the pain of his character without uttering a word, or swinging a fist. His eyes, face and even the snot running out of his nose draws the audience into the depths of his character's emotions. You feel his pain, you feel his joy, and you cannot escape it. The hair rises on the back of your neck, it's that cool. He is the GLADIATOR of actors, Russell Crowe is the new king of action. He brings width and dimension to action characters that we have not seen in a long time, before my time for sure.
GLADIATOR - THE STORY
Gut wrenching, and exhilarating. I'm not going to rehash the entire story, by now you should know what the story is about. But let me tell you, you'll be on the edge of your seat one moment, and trying to keep from jumping out of it the next. The action is fast and furious. The GLADIATOR scenes are very cool. My favorite action scene takes place when Maximus and his gang fight for the first time in Rome. A reenactment of the battle of Carthage where Rome defeated the barbarians, I believe lead by Hannibal. Anyway, Crowe (Maximus) and his mates play the part of the barbarians. Well, when it's all said and done the history books will have to be re-written. The story is a roller coaster ride of emotions. Maximus is wronged, you want him to get his revenge. As an audience you want your payoff. If you're going to put our hero through so much, and the audience through so much, you better give us the payoff. The hero better have his day. And I tell you, until the very end you're never sure what's going to happen. The payoff was there, and well worth it. The ending is fantastic. Even though you know the hero will prevail, you don't want it to be obvious. I'm telling you, it's a great ending.
GLADIATOR - THE MOVIE
Larger than life. If you have a pulse, you'll like this movie. But, what's it about? A soldier, a warrior, a GLADIATOR? The theme of this movie is about justice, keeping your word, and honor. You have the ultimate hero to cheer for, and man does this movie deliver. It's not just a guy flick, my wife loved it as well. You've never seen a hero like Maximus. I found myself swept away, which is what I expect. You will walk out of the theater knowing you have experienced something special. This movie stays with you, for several hours afterward. Never before has a hero like Maximus been presented on screen. A truly great movie, and worthy of your attention. Man, where's my sword!