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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  History and Archeology (Moderator: David Atherton)  |  Topic: "Centurion" Out Now 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: "Centurion" Out Now  (Read 3825 times)
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« on: April 25, 2010, 12:39:58 pm »

Hey everyone,

Have just returned from seeing "Centurion", a fanastic Roman Actioner, set on the Northern Frontier in 117AD. The film is very gritty, brutal and quite historically accurate by Hollywood standards! It follows the exploits of the 9th Legion as they do battle with The Picts and there are great turns from Dominic "Jimmy McNulty" West as General Virilus and Michael Fassbender as Centurion Quintus Dias. There are some visceral battle scenes and breathtaking shots of the incredible highland scottish landscape throughout.


http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/review.asp?FID=136078

Whatever your opinions on these types of films - It's not often that any real creative attention is given to Roman History in the film industry, so show your support by taking your friends along to see this movie when you get a chance, it's a real romp.
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2010, 02:28:13 pm »

The film does indeed look stunning...alas the historical premise is as flimsy as the movie posters that advertise it. The 9th legion was not wiped out by angry "Picts" (I won't get into the fact the Picts were not contemporary to the period) in 117 AD, in fact most historians believe it was deployed to the continent (the Rhine) and was destroyed in a later eastern campaign.

Rosemary Sutcliff wrote an excellent book called The Eagle of the Ninth concerning the same time period and it is one of my favorite Roman novels. Soon to be a film as well.

Will I go see Centurion? Yes! lol  I love this kind of film.
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2010, 11:42:19 am »

As good as Rosana Podesta as Helen of Troy and Cedric Hardwicke as Priam in a Trojan palace with elements of Knossos and downward tapered more-or-less Antonine herms for columns?  Priam was even made to intone, straight into the camera, "Is this the face that sank a hundred ships?"  Ms. Podesta's shorty chiton was permanent pleated nylon, too.  One of life's unforgettable hoots.  Pat L.
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2010, 12:27:19 pm »

coincidently we just watched that film this past Saturday night and my wife was commenting on the Minoan architecture too!
they did gloss over the war rather quickly, and Patroklos' non-role made Achilles' dragging of Hector's body seem random pointless. still, it wasn't nearly as terrible as 'Troy', and i thought they got the ships down rather well. it also had the redeeming point of being BB's first film role (small though it was).

as far as 'Centurion' goes, i'll have to wait for further review. as it is it looks like 'Gladiator' to me, and i can live without that.

~ Peter
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2010, 12:36:54 pm »

as far as 'Centurion' goes, i'll have to wait for further review. as it is it looks like 'Gladiator' to me, and i can live without that.

~ Peter

Well if you go in expecting Citizen Kane then yes you may be dissapointed, but how often do we get to see Roman armies fight it out on the big screen... probably the last time was, as you say, Gladiator. They probably look similar as they both feature an abundance of big bloody battles in muddy forests,  OTT heroics and rampant machismo...but don't let that put you off. I would rather that than the latest Rom-Com off the Hollywood conveyer belt.
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2010, 01:06:23 pm »

no, i'm not expecting Citizen Kane, just something other than manufactured 'history'.
why do they do this? couldn't the story have held up just as well if they had had the Ninth in the right place fighting the historical enemy? very much like Gladiator having Commodus dying in the ring or Troy killing Agamemnon at Troy (i can't begin to tell you how much those two pissed me off!). wouldn't the battle scenes have moved you just as viscerally if they were done right?
i'm not trying to be some obssessive history Nazi here, but neither of those examples moved the plot along in any significant way, so why do it?

i just don't see the point and it ruins the experience for me, but that's just me.

~ Peter
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2010, 01:11:43 pm »

No, it's not just you. It's annoying, because I'm sure they would have found someone willing and able to be an advisor for the historical accuracy. These just come from a different conveyer belt.
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2010, 01:28:48 pm »

Wishing for historical accuracy from Hollywood is kind of like wishing for oranges from an apple tree. If they can totally mess up a biopic, which is recent history, how can they possibly manage ancient history? Audiences don't want, or even expect, accuracy, they simply wish to be entertained. In our modern culture, entertained means lots of things being destroyed, blown up, people being shot and stabbed, etc. The only thing that differentiates the movies, largely, are the 'skins' - IE, are the characters carrying swords, briefcases, or laser pistols?
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2010, 01:37:21 pm »

The film's focus (The fate of the 9th) is one on which the sources are largely silent anyway, so I think we can afford them a few flights of fancy in this case. Most of it deals with a few lowly soldiers. It's not like "Caligula" or "Gladiator" which completely disregarded any notions of historical accuracy on a monumental scale. I've seen the film and the broad strokes are all accurate enough.
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2010, 09:42:14 pm »

no, i'm not expecting Citizen Kane, just something other than manufactured 'history'.
why do they do this? couldn't the story have held up just as well if they had had the Ninth in the right place fighting the historical enemy? very much like Gladiator having Commodus dying in the ring or Troy killing Agamemnon at Troy (i can't begin to tell you how much those two pissed me off!). wouldn't the battle scenes have moved you just as viscerally if they were done right?
i'm not trying to be some obssessive history Nazi here, but neither of those examples moved the plot along in any significant way, so why do it?

i just don't see the point and it ruins the experience for me, but that's just me.

~ Peter

You know the really sad part? The majority of people who saw "Gladiator" actually believe that what they saw in that movie is the TRUTH!

mz
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2010, 10:12:46 pm »

Stephen Dando-Collins has a series of books which follow specific historical Roman legions throughout the centuries.  They are easy to read and don't get bogged down in the small details or bit players.  Great for those new to history and also those more experienced.  I don't agree with all of his conclusions but it is a must read for anyone interested in the Legions of Rome.  He has a way of making the real life stories and people come alive.   My favorite is "Mark Antony's Hero's: How the 3rd Gallica Legion saved an Apostle and Created an Emperor".  This legion saw lots of action under Marcus Antonius, Helping Herod the Great, Vespasian and later Marcus Antonius Primus.  I highly recommend this series.
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« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2010, 07:31:28 am »

I'm not sure why, but this reminded me of a film reviewer here who gave Gladiator a low score because his suspension of disbelief was completely shattered when he saw domes in the vista of Rome scene, because domes weren't invented until the renaissance.

From the gear pictures the film seems to have made broadly accurate legionaires, which is enough to convince me to go and see it.
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You know the really sad part? The majority of people who saw "Gladiator" actually believe that what they saw in that movie is the TRUTH!

mz
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« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2010, 07:50:55 am »

Domes not invented? What about the Pantheon?
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« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2010, 08:03:27 am »

Exactly, the reviewers statement is hilariously ironic given that Romans effectively invented the dome.
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2010, 01:43:00 pm »

Western Europe lost the technology, which may well be why we have church towers rather than domes. It was recovered at the Renaissance, but the reviewer's world doesn't seem to extend beyond his own region, quite apart from his ignorance of history!
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« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2010, 01:56:56 pm »

a film reviewer here who gave Gladiator a low score because his suspension of disbelief was completely shattered when he saw domes in the vista of Rome scene, because domes weren't invented until the renaissance.

Funny, my suspension of disbelief was shattered in the same shot from the Gladiator but not because of the domes, but because the filmakers decided to completely ignore the basic geography of central Rome in favour of some strange fantasy creation. Colosseum aside, all the buildings and open spaces are completely and knowingly erroneous (watch the extras on DVD). I would have loved to have seen their recreations of the Forum etc but they couldn't be bothered. It might as well have been set on Mars, if you are going to set it in Ancient Rome then do that! This is my pet peev, which I acknowledge would not bother 99% of viewers.
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« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2010, 07:53:52 am »

Regarding "Gladiator," all the above being said, I LOVED the film and have it in my not-extensive-by-any-measure DVD library.

mz
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« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2010, 03:27:13 am »

I broadly agree with both detractors and supporters of modern cinemas take on historical drama.  Yes inaccuracy is annoying, but despite its faults Gladiator tugged on my emotions a number of times and I confess to owning the DVD. (Troy however, was so bad I couldn’t stand it and walked out before the end.) 
The writer and director Neil Marshall as I understand, is mostly a thriller/horror film maker (not my cup of tea) but seems to have loved the modern myth of a 9th legion being lost to the Picts in Scotland and decided to make a film about it. Familiar with Xenophon's book Anabasis he has told the story of military disaster and a small band of soldiers struggling to return home.
I found a bit more of the interview with Neil Marshall that was on the link Kained but Able posted for us.

See- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KtefDwxb7o&feature=related

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« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2010, 10:51:31 am »

Rosemary Sutcliff wrote an excellent book called The Eagle of the Ninth concerning the same time period and it is one of my favorite Roman novels. Soon to be a film as well.

One of my favourite historical authors. What do you know about the planned film?

Francis

P.S. I'll go and see Centurion, but I won't suspend my disbelief - I'll leave it at home completely...
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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2010, 02:20:00 pm »

Trusty wikipedia at your service: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eagle_of_the_Ninth_(film)

And some stills from the production: http://movies.yahoo.com/photos/movie-stills/gallery/2299/the-eagle-of-the-ninth-stills#photo0

Certainly looks like it will be a quality production.
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« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2010, 03:15:31 pm »

Can the almost simultaneous appearance of two films about the Roman superpower getting bogged down in a grim, mountainous land beyond the borders of civilisation, a place of elusive attackers, shameful debacles, fierce warriors, ambushes and cruel deaths, perhaps have something to do with a certain place called A-----stan? At least we're not yet being offered a film about Varus and his lost legions - that would be pessimistic! 
Anyway, I look forward to both films.

Francis
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« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2010, 05:53:00 pm »

Quote from: Britannicus on May 16, 2010, 03:15:31 pm
At least we're not yet being offered a film about Varus and his lost legions - that would be pessimistic! 

Ah! But what a fine idea that would be!
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« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2010, 02:05:50 pm »

What a film it could be though! It could start with the arrogant Varus swaggering across northern Germany, treating allies like subjects and subjects like slaves in true imperial fashion, assuming the natives were cowed and not very capable anyway. It could end with the hero, after travails without number, arriving at Augustus' palace and announcing that his legions no longer existed. Augustus collapses with the anguished cry, 'Quintillius Varus, give me back my legions!' I can see it now.
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« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2010, 07:12:17 am »

Back again with another Holly-Rome effort , this one possible saved by some nice shots of a reconstructed Hadrian's Wall.

Check out this trailer for "The Eagle" -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diY-ccvdcUk

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In 140 AD, two men - master and slave - venture beyond the edge of the known world on a dangerous and obsessive quest that will push them beyond the boundaries of loyalty and betrayal, friendship and hatred, deceit and heroism...The Roman epic adventure THE EAGLE stars Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell and is directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald. 20 years earlier, Rome's 5,000-strong Ninth Legion, under the command of Flavius Aquila, marched north carrying their treasured golden Eagle emblem. They never returned; Legion and Eagle simply vanished into the mists. Hearing a rumor that the Eagle has been seen in a tribal temple in the far north, Flavius' son Marcus (Tatum), determined to restore the tarnished reputation of his father, is galvanized into action. Accompanied only by his slave Esca (Bell), Marcus sets out into the vast and dangerous highlands of Scotland - to confront its savage tribes, make peace with his father's memory, and retrieve the hallowed Eagle. Along the way Marcus realizes that the mystery of his father's disappearance may well be linked to the secret of his own slave's identity and loyalty - a secret all the more pressing when the two come face-to-face with the warriors of the fearsome Seal Prince (Tahar Rahim).
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« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2010, 02:59:03 pm »

Well, I finally got to see Centurion - or at least a sanitized, airline version of it - on a long-haul flight. I loved the scenery, and I liked the costumes and uniforms. It wasn't bad as an action film, that is, something about one step up from computer games. But what irks me about films like Centurion (and the trailer for The Eagle too) is that so many film-makers seem to be stuck in a nostalgic, "noble savage" groove about the ancient world. Why can't they appreciate that, despite the cruelties, the mainstream cultures of Greece, Rome and even Byzantium were A Good Thing?
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