With the eye-capturing prologue and powerful opening, the minute the film starts I’m hooked. Ridley Scott doesn’t fail to deliver the revived “sword and sandal” genre with his epic roman adventure, ‘Gladiator’. This larger then life original brings Rome alive with its extraordinary graphics and impressive actors, such as Russell Crowe, Richard Harris and the late Oliver Reed. Director Scott and his crew spared no expense in bringing the look and feel of the Roman Empire to life on the big screen. For the most part, the results are stunning. Battle scenes are violent, chaotic, and thrilling. The restored vision of ancient Rome is a wonder to behold. Scott's attention to detail, his use of subtle symbolism, and his construction of scenes all point to a skilled, effective director.
Maximus (Russell Crowe) portrays a glorious Roman general chosen by the dying Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) to succeed him as Rome’s leader. The Emperor’s incestuous son (Joaquin Phoenix) desires the throne, and in a jealous rage murders his father. He next attempts to remove his threatening rival and sends order to have Maximus’ young son and wife murdered. Maximus flees and returns home to discover his family’s tragic fate. Desperate and weak, Maximus falls into the hands of a slave merchant (Oliver Reed) and is forced into becoming a gladiator, his only goal to avenge himself against the Emperor responsible for the assassination of his wife and son.
“The general who became a slave, The slave who became a gladiator, The gladiator defied an empire.”
CGI is used in a lot of modern films, but this epic is a fine example of its wonders. The Coliseum itself was rebuilt with only the first three rows being actual; the rest was CGI. After the tragic death of the great Oliver Reed due to a heart attack,