And I say this having watched Gladiator two or three times during the 2000 Oscar season, and once on Bluray. I’m just done with it. Never again. I can’t tolerate the idea of sitting through Joaquin Phoenix‘s performance as Commodus — demonically boring, evil for the sake of evil, the Shallow Hal of villains.
Russell Crowe was once that thin, of course, but it’s hard to believe this now. When I think of his performance as Maximus, I think of two lines — “Are you not entertained?” and “The harvest, the harvest, the harvest.”
I didn’t care for the battle against the Germanic tribe in the beginning. I didn’t like the herky-jerky process used during the action sequences. I didn’t much care for Connie Neilsen‘s performance, nor Richard Harris‘s or Djimon Honsou‘s. The only things I really admired were (a) the CG reconstruction of the Colisseum, (b) the Colisseum battles, (c) Derek Jacobi and (d) the CG reanimation of the deceased Oliver Reed.
Which Roman epics would I would watch again? Almost any besides Gladiator. Anthony Mann‘s The Fall of the Roman Empire (’64), which tells the same story minus Maximus. Joseph Mankiewicz‘s Julius Caesar (’53). Stanley Kubrick and Kirk Douglas‘s Spartacus (’60). The BBC’s “I, Claudius” series. Any of them.