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Timon -> The Historical Epic Thread (13/5/2006 3:25:16 PM)

After the success of Gladiator, swords and sandal flicks were back in. The genre hadn't been popular since the 1960s when spiralling production costs had forced studios to look for cheaper spectacles such as disaster movies.

However as with every genre revival, there have been a few misfires. For every Gladiator, you get a King Arthur. Even moderate success such as Troy and Kingdom of Heaven suffered heavy criticism and average box office so has the bubble burst?

Are studios going to once again looking for cheaper alternatives to mass spectacle and armies of extras?

One option is what WB are doing with Zack Synder's upcoming epic THE 300. Instead of lavish sets and the costs of filming in foreign locations, it's being filmed entirely against green screen Sin City style.

Personally i'm intrigued but there's always something about seeing actually sets, actual extras and well...real places. Even if the FX are astounding, i still think it will lack that element of realism. I know how useful computers are to enhance extra numbers but this just seems to be taking the idea too far.  Ins Synder's defence though, he is basing his film on Frank Miller's comic of the same name rather than the actual historical events.

For those of you who don't know you're history, the true story of 300 Spartans (led by King Leonidas play by Gerard Butler) who, along with about 7,000 allied Greeks, held back an army of 500,000 to a million Persians (you read that right) for several days in 480 B.C. at the Battle of Thermopylae. Though they lost the battle, they held back the Persians long enough for the Greek states to rally together. The key to success were the "Gates of Fire", a narrow pass in the mountaintops where the Spartans positioned themselves, acting like a valve, keeping the Persians from passing, even as their own dead served as shields.

From the production diaries i've seen, it looks very good BUT is there still an audience for such films?

[image]http://300themovie.warnerbros.com/images/pop_up/combat/combat_part1.jpg[/image]

[image]http://300themovie.warnerbros.com/images/pop_up/dawn_march/dawn_march_part1.jpg[/image]

[image]http://300themovie.warnerbros.com/images/pop_up/hot_gates/hot_gates_part1.jpg[/image]

[image]http://300themovie.warnerbros.com/images/pop_up/greek/greek_part4.gif[/image] 

[image]http://300themovie.warnerbros.com/images/pop_up/well/well_part4.jpg[/image]




doctorolorinbats1975 -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 3:27:35 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Timon

From the production diaries i've seen, it looks very good BUT is there still an audience for such films?



I am damn well ready for a good epic, despite all the dissapointments post Gladiator.

300 will live or die by the acting, but I hope like Sin City it will have a surrealness enabling it to survive with epics more aimed at truly recreating the classical world.




Gav -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 4:00:02 PM)

I heard theres going to be a movie of Milton's Paradise Lost, which should be a lot of fun.

I've always had a hunch that for all his talk of doing "small" and "personal" films, George Lucas would do a historical, roman epic, in the mold of "Fall of the Roman Empire"  So, look out for any hints to come out of the Lucasfilm camp, about this over the next few years.




doctorolorinbats1975 -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 4:04:10 PM)

I do believe Lucas always had a taste for the epics, given his SW prequels were more modelled stylistically on that genre. Fall of the Roman Empire would be interesting, given how Lucas seemingly wants to make his politics revelant (Palpatine as Bush anyone?).




Mozza -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 4:05:39 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Timon
For those of you who don't know you're history, the true story of 300 Spartans (led by King Leonidas play by Gerard Butler) who, along with about 7,000 allied Greeks, held back an army of 500,000 to a million Persians (you read that right) for several days in 480 B.C. at the Battle of Thermopylae. Though they lost the battle, they held back the Persians long enough for the Greek states to rally together. The key to success were the "Gates of Fire", a narrow pass in the mountaintops where the Spartans positioned themselves, acting like a valve, keeping the Persians from passing, even as their own dead served as shields.


[pedant] According to Spartan records, Leonidas ordered the rest of the Greeks out of the pass, in case they failed and they all died.  Otherwise, you go it right. [/pedant]

It's a great piece of derring-do, but my main concern with it is Zack Snyder.  I mean, his main other credit is the Dawn of The Dead remake!  This is a whole new ball-park, as the expression goes.

But, to stick with the topic, I don't think there was a "bubble" to burst.  The studios tried to make one by rushing in Troy and Alexander the Great projects, but Gladiator was a one-off.




doctorolorinbats1975 -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 4:12:25 PM)

I hope Snyder can make 300 good: my biggest concern with historical epics is if they can make an old world of old values accessible and engaging to a modern audience. Alexander suffers from a dry treatment of it's hero. I wish Snyder good luck in humanising the Spartans: his DOTD remake was a siege movie stylistically anyway.




Timon -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 4:43:53 PM)

Well they're not doing as well as they used to. Kingdom of Heaven was considered a flop in the States and Tristan & Isolde practically sank without trace.

Let's see what other 'historical swords and sandalesque' films we've got coming...

Pathfinder

A film that has drastically fallen under the radar considering its subject.

Honour, War, Love, Hate and ruddy big swords.

Pathfinder tells the story of a young Norse boy left behind after his clan shipwrecks on the Eastern shores of North America. Despite his lineage, the boy is raised by the very Indians his kinsmen set out to destroy.

Now, as the Vikings return to stage another barbaric raid on his village, the 25 year-old Norse warrior (Lord of the Ring's Karl Urban) wages a personal war to stop the Vikings' trail of death and destruction. Forging his own path, his destiny is revealed and his identity re-claimed.

Sounds awesome doesn't it? Native Americans vs. Vikings? Could be the cinematic smackdown of the year. Tomahawks and arrows flying against huge horned helmets and axes.

Plus Russell Means is in it. He's a long time Native American rights activist who publicly criticises films that innacuratly depicts Native Americans. He famously derided Dances With Wolves but supported and stared in Last Of The Mohicans as Hawkeye's adoptive father Chingachgook. If he's agreed to be in this film then the film-makers must really be being making an effort. I'm sure i've read a book about Viking/Native American conflicts before. Despite it's odd premise, it's widely agreed that the Norse seamen DID reach and explore the American mainland. That itself would have been an awesome film.

Moon Bloodgood, Clancy Brown (Shawshank Redemption, Starship Troopers), Jay Tavare, Nathaniel Arcand and Ralf Moeller (Big German from Gladiator) also star. Could this be the film that really puts Karl Urban on the map after the failure of Doom?

[image]http://latinoreview.com/images/upload/movieimages/movieimage_3297.jpg[/image]

Trailer

Beowulf & Grendel
 
Adapted from the Anglo-Saxon epic poem, Beowulf, BEOWULF & GRENDEL is a medieval adventure that tells the blood-soaked tale of a Norse warrior's battle against the great and murderous troll, Grendel. Heads will roll in this provocative take on the first major work of English literature. Out of allegiance to the King Hrothgar, the much respected Lord of the Danes, Beowulf leads a troop of warriors across the sea to rid a village of the marauding monster. The monster, Grendel, is not a creature of mythic powers, but one of flesh and blood - immense flesh and raging blood, driven by a vengeance from being wronged, while Beowulf, a victorious soldier in his own right, has become increasingly troubled by the hero-myth rising up around his exploits. Beowulf's willingness to kill on behalf of Hrothgar wavers when it becomes clear that the King is more responsible for the troll's rampages than was first apparent. As a soldier, Beowulf is unaccustomed to hesitating. His relationship with the mesmerizing witch, Selma, creates deeper confusion. Swinging his sword at a great, stinking beast is no longer such a simple act. The story is set in barbarous Northern Europe where the reign of the many-gods is giving way to one - the southern invader, Christ. Beowulf is a man caught between sides in this great shift, his simple code transforming and falling apart before his eyes. Building toward an inevitable and terrible battle, this is a tale where vengeance, loyalty and mercy powerfully entwine
I've heard it's already out on DVD in Canada. Trailer looks quite good.

[image]http://www.beowulfandgrendel.com/beowulfpictures/2006/cover/images/BGweb2a_01.jpg[/image]

Trailer


The Last Legion

This is set during the last days of the Roman Empires. As the Roman empire crumbles, young Romulus Augustus flees the city and is kidnapped by Visigoths. A "Last Legion" on loyal troops embarks on a perilous voyage to Britain to track him down and save him.

The film has an impressive cast including Colin Firth, Ben Kingsley, Kevin McKidd, Alexander Siddig, John Hannah and Bollywood stunner Aishwarya Rai.

Currently shooting in Slovakia, Bratislava, The Last Legion is produced by Dino De Laurentis, based on the novel by Valerio [Massimo] Manfredi and directed by Doug Lefler (apparantly the 'genius' that gave us Dragonheart 2).

Ben Kingsley has said "It's an epic movie...spectacular like Excalibur, enthralling fascinating like The Gladiator."
 
I've watched the below French preview and it looks..........ok. Looks very Xena-esque which is not what you want. I think it's going to be a case of wait and see but at the moment i've very unsure.

[image]http://www.firth.com/images/legion/coronation2.jpg[/image]

More Info, pics and clips here

French Trailer/Preview

Oh and a remake of Clash Of The Titans is planned....




doctorolorinbats1975 -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 4:46:56 PM)

What the hell! Wasn't even aware of these three!




Mason Verger -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 5:07:58 PM)

Sunday 14 May
BBC1 are showing Hannibal The Conqueror at 8.30pm and a documentary at 10.55pm.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/breakfast/4753017.stm 

Vin Diesel wants to make a Hannibal movie for the cinema.




Timon -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 5:17:29 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mason Verger

Sunday 14 May
BBC1 are showing Hannibal The Conqueror at 8.30pm and a documentary at 10.55pm.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/breakfast/4753017.stm 

Vin Diesel wants to make a Hannibal movie for the cinema.


Awesome!

I'll be watching that. From the Radio Times

This feature-length dramatisation of Hannibal's audacious military campaign to beat the Romans by marching his army 1,500 miles over the Alps is definitely one for viewers who like their history bloody. Every five minutes someone gets stabbed or decapitated, while the battle scenes are bathed in so much gore, they must have had a Hollywood movie-sized budget for fake blood. So beware: it may be educational but some younger viewers may find it too violent. Alexander Siddig plays the young Carthaginian warrior with the necessary zeal, while Kenneth Cranham gives the voiceover suitable gravitas. Overall, it's a well-executed if lengthy drama that reveals a bit more about the man behind the myth and gives us some impressive set pieces. However, there are a few clunking moments. notably when the dialogue spells out the obvious. I wouldn't want to be in those mountains when the snows come," a soldier tells Hannibal. And guess what happens next? While the snow and wind machines are used extensively, Hannibal's elephants, sadly, don't get much of a look-in.
 
Good to see Alexander Siddig in things. After Deep Space Nine, i hoped he'd continue to be on our screens and he's done really well. Kingdom of Heaven, Syrianna, The Last Legion and this.
 
[image]http://www.trekkiesworld.de/images/hannibal1_480.jpg[/image]
 
Can't wait.





doctorolorinbats1975 -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 5:20:29 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Timon
Good to see Alexander Siddig in things. After Deep Space Nine, i hoped he'd continue to be on our screens and he's done really well. Kingdom of Heaven, Syrianna, The Last Legion and this.
 
[image]http://www.trekkiesworld.de/images/hannibal1_480.jpg[/image]
 
Can't wait.
 
Me too.
 
I do believe Gladiator was a one-off though: as Mozza said Hollywood merely tried to create a bubble. To quote one of Gladiator's writers on the DVD:
 
"The success of Gladiator shows people don't want historical epics, they want good movies!"




Gimli The Dwarf -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 5:53:48 PM)

I think Gladiator stands out as the best epic of recent years, although I've enjoyed  the others - Troy, Alexander, King Arthur, Kingdom Of Heaven. Of the upcoming ones, Pathfinder looks pretty good, as does The 300. It will be interesting to see how an epic-style film will turn out via green screen.




doctorolorinbats1975 -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 5:56:44 PM)

I am an epic lover: narrow it down though to historical ones and the only one I gave above two stars since Gladiator was Scott's own KOH.




Dragar 11(New Birth) -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 6:18:31 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Gimli The Dwarf

I think Gladiator stands out as the best epic of recent years, although I've enjoyed  the others - Troy, Alexander, King Arthur, Kingdom Of Heaven. Of the upcoming ones, Pathfinder looks pretty good, as does The 300. It will be interesting to see how an epic-stile film will turn out via green screen.








Agreed[sm=happy34.gif]




Jack's Rage -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 6:43:14 PM)

Timon - I agree with the jist of what your saying. But I don't think people realize that Troy actually did quite well with a world wide box office of about $500 million. In fact in comparison Gladiator did about 450 million world wide. Of course I'm sure Gladiator has had better DVD sales. But still its unfair to group Troy with Kingdom of Heaven and Alexander that had world wide grosses of about $200 million and $170 million respectively.




Henry JW -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 7:35:06 PM)

Pathfinder actually sounds quite interesting and I agree that Gladiator from recent years has been the best 'Historical epic' although Kingdom of Heaven wasn't bad...The 'Historical epic' is one of my favourite genres and It's one I hope doesn't die out...




Timon -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 8:27:50 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Jack's Rage

Timon - I agree with the jist of what your saying. But I don't think people realize that Troy actually did quite well with a world wide box office of about $500 million. In fact in comparison Gladiator did about 450 million world wide. Of course I'm sure Gladiator has had better DVD sales. But still its unfair to group Troy with Kingdom of Heaven and Alexander that had world wide grosses of about $200 million and $170 million respectively.


Troy did make $500 million but apparantly WB were still disappointed. I think with the star wattage and the fact it cost just south of $200 million, they were expecting much more.




Harry Lime -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 8:41:25 PM)

I don't think the bubble has burst. As has been pointed out, there are plenty in the pipeline and history holds many great stories for Hollywood to plunder.
 
I also feel Kingdom Of Heaven was very unfairly maligned. It was much better than Alexander, King Arthur and Troy in my opinion.




The Mighty Quinn -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (13/5/2006 9:11:11 PM)

None of the epics of recent years have been able to measure up to Gladiator, and the likes of Alexander (on a second watch not as bad as everyone said it was) and Kingdom of Heaven (Good, but can't wait for the directors cut) do suffer in its shadow. King Arthur was dire though and although Troy wasn't that bad a film, the liberties they took with Homer's original story annoyed me.




Timon -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (14/5/2006 2:57:47 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Harry Lime

I don't think the bubble has burst. As has been pointed out, there are plenty in the pipeline and history holds many great stories for Hollywood to plunder.
 
I also feel Kingdom Of Heaven was very unfairly maligned. It was much better than Alexander, King Arthur and Troy in my opinion.


Never saw Alexander....was thinking about getting the Director's Cut as it's meant to be much better but it doesn't have the DVD extras of the Theatrical release.

Personally i'd love to see more epics. As a history student, i love them. I even wrote my dissertation on the "Rewriting of History for Film."

How about a film about the Defeat of the Spanish Armada? Or the wars of Ancient Egypt?




doctorolorinbats1975 -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (14/5/2006 2:59:26 PM)

Now that Timon's bought it up, I want a movie about Joshua, Moses' succeeder. I heard they were planning a new version of The Ten Commandments: been done, I want this grittier tale.




Timon -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (15/5/2006 2:04:55 PM)

Did anyone see the HANNIBAL docudrama last night on BBC1?

It was quite well done especially the wide battle shots. Didn't like the framing of the screen and typing of information like;

Mago: Brother of Hannibal
 
Looked very out of place. Looks like it was a Cold War film. Was half expecting to see a submarine and "Somewhere in the Mediterrean" being typed up....

Still, a very entertaining and interesting 90 mins.




robotnic -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (15/5/2006 3:04:25 PM)

'Genre' films, for example historical epics like these, tend to be cyclic. Think how the Western came and went - I think it'll be the same for this type of film. They'll be back

That doesn't go to say that there isn't a market or an audience for this type of film, I think they just seem to have reached a point where we're getting fed up with them, or they aren't living up to our expectations.




Mason Verger -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (15/5/2006 3:39:37 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Timon

quote:

ORIGINAL: Harry Lime

I don't think the bubble has burst. As has been pointed out, there are plenty in the pipeline and history holds many great stories for Hollywood to plunder.
 
I also feel Kingdom Of Heaven was very unfairly maligned. It was much better than Alexander, King Arthur and Troy in my opinion.


Never saw Alexander....was thinking about getting the Director's Cut as it's meant to be much better but it doesn't have the DVD extras of the Theatrical release.

Personally i'd love to see more epics. As a history student, i love them. I even wrote my dissertation on the "Rewriting of History for Film."

How about a film about the Defeat of the Spanish Armada? Or the wars of Ancient Egypt?


The Region 1 version of Alexander has 2 discs.

http://www.dvdconcept.com/?page=shop/flypage&product_id=42983&category_id=&

[sm=893banghead-thumb.gif]




HIM -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (15/5/2006 3:53:22 PM)

I can't believe no one's mentioned Lord of the Rings in this thread yet! Sure it's a classed as a 'Fantasy Epic', but I think there's a hell of a lot of crossover between fantasy and historical epics, not least because they're epics. I'd say that Beowulf & Grendal was much more influenced by LotR than Gladiator.

Also, whoever said Gladiator was a one off was correct. Just look at what happened when Ridley Scott returned to the genre. He couldn't beat it or even match it. I think Gladiator set the bar so high that anything that came after has just been a let down and subsequantly the genre which Gladiator reinvented has suffered. I actually really enjoyed Troy and thought Kingdom of Heaven was alreet, but they just weren't in the same league as Gladiator.




doctorolorinbats1975 -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (15/5/2006 5:20:26 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: HIM

I can't believe no one's mentioned Lord of the Rings in this thread yet! Sure it's a classed as a 'Fantasy Epic', but I think there's a hell of a lot of crossover between fantasy and historical epics, not least because they're epics. I'd say that Beowulf & Grendal was much more influenced by LotR than Gladiator.

Also, whoever said Gladiator was a one off was correct. Just look at what happened when Ridley Scott returned to the genre. He couldn't beat it or even match it. I think Gladiator set the bar so high that anything that came after has just been a let down and subsequantly the genre which Gladiator reinvented has suffered. I actually really enjoyed Troy and thought Kingdom of Heaven was alreet, but they just weren't in the same league as Gladiator.


I think Timon very much talked about historical epics: as superb as Peter Jackson is, his films aren't exploring that specific realm of story.

You could argue for Gladiator though: it creates a great film and feels like a classic legend though it isn't. Ironically, Troy was inspired by one.




doctorolorinbats1975 -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (15/5/2006 5:25:56 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Timon

Did anyone see the HANNIBAL docudrama last night on BBC1?

It was quite well done especially the wide battle shots. Didn't like the framing of the screen and typing of information like;

Mago: Brother of Hannibal
 
Looked very out of place. Looks like it was a Cold War film. Was half expecting to see a submarine and "Somewhere in the Mediterrean" being typed up....

Still, a very entertaining and interesting 90 mins.


I very much enjoyed it: however, my only gripe is that it didn't look like 50 000 men travelling to Italy. I guess the budget ran out.

Unless Vin Diesel really has got his act together (Find Me Guilty got superb reviews), I'll take this over his version.




vic_vega -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (15/5/2006 7:03:09 PM)

Slightly [sm=schild15.gif]


If you're interested in the 300,

[image]http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/0330491024.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg[/image]


Is quite an interesting story. Its fiction, but based around the events of the time  at  the Battle of Thermopylae and the Persian Wars.




Timon -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (15/5/2006 8:14:44 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: vic_vega

Slightly [sm=schild15.gif]


If you're interested in the 300,

[image]http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/0330491024.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg[/image]


Is quite an interesting story. Its fiction, but based around the events of the time  at  the Battle of Thermopylae and the Persian Wars.



I was thinking of getting Gates of Fire by Steve Pressman. Apparantly it's 'the' book to get to learn about the Battle of Thermopylae.

[image]http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/0553812165.02.LZZZZZZZ.jpg[/image]




vic_vega -> RE: Has The 'Historical Epic' Bubble Burst? (16/5/2006 12:19:35 AM)

I'll certainly check that out it looks quite interesting. The Battle of Thermopylae is only really one chapter of Spartan - it concentrates more on the lifestyle in Sparta between the ruling class and their slaves.




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