Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Slowly I turn, step by step . . . .

I was pretty good about not saying anything. I saw it with my wife, and I didn't bore her with it. I watched the DVD with my Dad, and didn't say anything about it. But now that Ridley Scott himself has, thanks to Mark Shea, provoked me beyond all human endurance, I'm gonna say something about it. Scott describes his cinematic and historical work of genius, the movie Gladiator: "And really just leaning into the reality of it. We went heavily on the German front, seeing the troops in battle. Once you have the Roman centurions in muddy trenches, suddenly there's a contemporary connection. If you always lean in the reality, it's going to be more interesting than any fantasy you could create. The reality of it? That battle scene, where the Roman legions square off against German barbarians in Marcus Aurelius' day, features war chants by the German barbarians. The war chants are lifted straight from the soundtrack of Zulu, a 1960s production about the defense of Rourke's Drift by Her Brittanic Majesty's army against the African tribe of the same name during the 19th century. "Leaning into the reality of it" apparently means German barbarians screaming "Zulu! Zulu!" at the Romans, who probably ought to have been shown standing behind their fortifications singing "That's Amore!" with Dean Martin.

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