Michael Isenberg (mikeisenberg) wrote in blogparty,
Michael Isenberg

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Gladiator vs. Spartacus

Just finished the opening battle scene in Gladiator. For some reason my memories of this movie were of it being rather melodramatic and pretty excessive. Whether it is or not is is those things, though, I had certainly forgotten just how badass it is.

So the question, of course, is which is the better movie: Gladiator, or Spartacus? I suppose Spartacus was equally as melodramatic and excessive, but for now I think I have to go with the classic, if for only one scene. When Rome sends the legion against Spartacus, and there are these great wide shots of an entire legion of men, brilliantly equipped, marching over a hill in formation and doing badass manouvers. It's simply amazing if you can see it on a big screen. Especially because it is shot so simply. There is no tricky editing or digital manipulation; you're looking at an army of badass Roman troops, highly disciplined, trained, and armed, in stark contrast with the rag-tag group that is Spartacus' slave army.

Gladiator's recreation of ancient Rome is also badass in the same "cinema of spectacle" fashion, but it isn't the same. The light reflecting off the spires of Rome passed through no lens and was exposed on no film. It is an artifice, a digital illusion. An image that one knows is an illusion cannot hold the same power as one that offers the "truth" of real film. Of course all film lies, and an image is an image...

but I'm gonna be late with this post, and I'm half distracted by the movie and babbling out of my head.
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