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The Eagle - 15/3/2011 11:27:13 AM   
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- 15/3/2011 11:27:13 AM   


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From: Cape Town
Oh why can't we get a great Roman Britain epic? I was so looking forward to this. I agree with Helen O'Hara's blog on Season of the Witch and the same can be said about this film. (I haven't seen this film yet, but just wanted to leave a comment on the review, but now I have to give a star rating to submit this, so that's why there's a rating.)

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- 15/3/2011 11:27:14 AM   


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From: Cape Town
Oh why can't we get a great Roman Britain epic? I was so looking forward to this. I agree with Helen O'Hara's blog on Season of the Witch and the same can be said about this film. (I haven't seen this film yet, but just wanted to leave a comment on the review, but now I have to give a star rating to submit this, so that's why there's a rating.)

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Quibble - 16/3/2011 2:17:18 PM   


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Solid review- one for the DVD methinks. However the main point of posting is that the fate of the Ninth is by no means certain. The evidence thought to suggest that they were shipped to the modern day middle east (inscrptions in northern europe) was actually found to predate the ninth being posted to Britannia and probably dates from a time when the legion was fighting in modern day germany. Solid evidence of the ninth's movements places them in York some years later although that still doesn't indicate what eventually happened to them.

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Quibble - 16/3/2011 2:17:22 PM   


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Solid review- one for the DVD methinks. However the main point of posting is that the fate of the Ninth is by no means certain. The evidence thought to suggest that they were shipped to the modern day middle east (inscrptions in northern europe) was actually found to predate the ninth being posted to Britannia and probably dates from a time when the legion was fighting in modern day germany. Solid evidence of the ninth's movements places them in York some years later although that still doesn't indicate what eventually happened to them.

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I dont think.......... - 18/3/2011 9:28:43 AM   


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.........I could ever go and see a film that has Channing Tatum in it and take it seriously. He should be in GAP advert not a Roman Britain film!

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RE: I dont think.......... - 25/3/2011 9:40:34 AM   
Wild about Wilder

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It's OK would've rather it been bumped up to a 15cert with more blood , 1 question why do all the Romans have American accents? before you say because their all American i'm including the great Mark Strong in this.

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It's Hilarious - 25/3/2011 1:16:31 PM   

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Was laughing out loud by the end.

The closing scene was just missing a high five as they walked out the door.

More people died in the final battle then turned up for it, and there were survivours!

A shame as it seemed to start well, maybe I should look out for the original book .

I didn't mind the accents, it was set out all the romans had american accents so it was consistent. Like Enemy at the Gate

< Message edited by Manny -- 25/3/2011 1:18:29 PM >

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- 25/3/2011 7:57:02 PM   


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Good fight scenes ? That surely depends on whether you think cutting 5 times a second and shaking the camera all over the place makes for a good fight scene. As you'll have guessed, I don't.,

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Sloppy Seconds - 26/3/2011 3:06:41 AM   


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I think Channing Tatum turns in an oddly sympathetic and also, at times, reflective and touching performance. He did not have much to work with in terms of story or anything else for that matter. This is really a "buddy" picture set in ancient Rome between master and slave -- both young men bound by honor or duty... and slavery. After the smash hit Gladiator and the two year mini-series Rome there was going to be more in this genre. But, sometimes more is less... This type of film was inevitable, but overall I found the film to be boring, lifeless and totally not beleiveable for one minute. I agree with other reviewers here that the fight scenes were awful. However, before the fights began there was an excellent dramatic tension and lethality. I think this film really hints at Channing and Jamie's ability to turn a crappy script into something watchable. Imagine what they might do if they had a good story and an excellent script?

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RE: Sloppy Seconds - 27/3/2011 11:06:35 PM   

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From: Bristol
I really enjoyed it, however I can see why many have problems with it.

The film does take its time getting going and while others may bemoan it this, I enjoyed the leisurely pace it took in establishing the world our heroes inhabited.

I also didn't mind the whole 'American accent' issue. I've read why Kevin MacDonald decided to do this and it makes sense (so the Britons can be British and the Romans can be foreign) and I thought it was handled quite well. However Donald Sutherland was perhaps 'too' American.

The film also makes the most of the its stunning locations and I thought the action scenes were handled quite well, especially the calm before the storm in an early scene.

Tatum was fine overall and I really don't have much to say about him except that he did fine with what he had to do. Bell was much more watchable and he is rapidly overshadowing his co-stars, much like he did in Jumper....though that wasn't hard to do.

It pretty much had everything I look for in a film - Romans, a bromance and the slaughter of innocent children. Also, I thought it was quite bloody for a 12A. Nice!


< Message edited by Timon -- 27/3/2011 11:22:16 PM >


"I put no stock in religion. By the word 'religion', I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called 'The Will of God'. Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves."

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Truly dreadful... - 28/3/2011 7:00:19 PM   


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I went to see this the other night, as a film fan, as someone passionate about history, and as someone who adored the actual book by Rosemary Sutcliff as a kid. I have to say that it was one of the worst movies I've seen in a long time...
I like Kevin MacDonald's earlier movies, and thought the last King of Scotland as excellent, but he seems to have lost the plot and turned a great adventure story set in Roman Britain into a gritty polemic on American imperialism. At first I thought the Roman accents via the USA in the film was simply a convention like the 'oirish' Macedonians in Alexander, but it seemed to go deeper. When Mark Strong's character announced 'You don't know what it was like, you weren't there...' it seemed we'd strayed into Vietnam war territory, added to the scenes inside the seal people's hut which felt like they'd been lifted from Apocalypse Now.
The whole film was badly put together and scripted, the performances dodgy. Jamie Bell came out reasonably well, Mark Strong was barely in it, Donald Sutherland obviously there for the cheque, and frankly the plastic Eagle they were using as the prop was more animated than Channing Tatum.
Yes, it was historically dodgy (although the early battle scene at the fort wasn't bad), and strayed into Last of the Mohicans for some reason with the Picts, but it's biggest fault is that it strayed too far from the book (i.e. barely any relationship...). All the character material about the relationship between Marcus and Esca was dropped, as was Marcus' relationship with the girl next door (yes, there is a female character in the book) his attempts to find common ground with the locals at the beginning and his disguise as a Greek Occulist whilst wandering Scotland (rather than just wandering aimlessly as an obvious Roman ready to get knifed in the film).
I kept hearing the whirring sound of Rosemary Sutcliff spinning in her grave...
Don't bother seeing this load of tripe. Get Centurion out on DVD instead - histo

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RE: Truly dreadful... - 31/3/2011 2:07:54 PM   
film man aidy


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Pretty good night out at the cinema. I could live with the variety of accents, and certainly found myself caught up in flow of things. Very nicely shot, Real sets(for a change) and a nice performance from Jamie Bell.

SPOILER TO FOLLOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wasn't too keen on the bromance of the last 30 seconds or so. I mean - really?! It could have been lifted form Top Gun!

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Loved it! - 4/4/2011 10:23:39 PM   


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Well, I for one loved it. Yeah, it might've not been historically accurate but a) who can seriously say they know the ins and outs of Roman history, let alone the "true story" of the Ninth Legion and b) THIS IS CINEMA! ITS ALL MADE UP! Who cares if its historically accurate? The action sequences were great, Channing Tatum surprised me and I really enjoyed his and Jamie Bell's performances. The soundtrack was interesting, the cinematography atmospheric, and I adored the bromance. Yeah, they did seem like they were going to high five at the end. But, you know what? I was there with them. I wanted to high five too. All in all, a great night at the cinema!

< Message edited by Pittsy -- 4/4/2011 10:24:57 PM >

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RE: Loved it! - 7/4/2011 7:08:15 PM   
Dr Lenera


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In 140 AD, twenty years after the unexplained disappearance of the entire Ninth Legion in the mountains of Scotland, young centurion Marcus Aquila arrives from Rome to solve the mystery and restore the reputation of his father, the commander of the Ninth.  After an intense battle with the Picts, Marcus sets out across Hadrianís Wall into the uncharted highlands of Caledonia, accompanied by a local slave called Esca, to retrieve the lost legionís golden emblem, the Eagle Of The NinthÖ..

  The Eagle, which some have already said is an imitation of Centurion, is based on a novel called The Eagle Of The Ninth, which I do distinctly remember reading whilst at school [I was an avid reader then, what happened?], though I donít remember much about it.  Therefore I couldnít tell you if The Eagle, the second feature film from Kevin Macdonald, whose The Last King Of Scotland was widely acclaimed though didnít quite Ďwowí me, is close to its source or not.  What I can tell you is that it is a solid historical actioner, which fits squarely into the growing list of recent historical movies which empathise the grit and the mud and go for a very realistic approach [i.e.Centurion, Black Death], a trend which was supposedly started by Gladiator but to my mind really got underway with King Arthur.  Itís the antithesis of the approach favoured by many Old Hollywood movies, which often presented a far more romanticised view of Medieval and Ancient history, but this more recent approach perhaps seems more suited to our times.  I love those old epics like Ben Bur, but there is certainly a place for the way films like The Eagle are handled, and it does work pretty well for the most part.

The immediate impression I had was of a Western, but set in Ancient Briton.  At the beginning, you have somebody going to a remote outpost which is like the edge of Ďcivilisationí, and the similarities to Dances With Wolves are quite obvious, while later on I was reminded of earlier, related films such as A Man Called Horse!  Opening with two intense battle scenes, the film then seems to almost draw to a halt with some endless chat about honour and patriotism.  Never mind, eventually Marcusí quest begins and the film becomes the story of a rescue mission, except that of course itís not a person being rescued but an emblem. The pace is gradual but there is a fair bit of suspense which grows and grows.  Having the Romans speak English and the Picts speak Scottish Gaelic also works-itís  a nice device.  Thereís one superb sequence where Marcus and Esca have found one of the survivors of the Ninth legion, and, as they walk across an area filled with skulls and signs of a fierce battle, he tells of how they were massacred, and we see  quick shots of soldiers falling, blood etc.  There is a real feeling of dread here, aided by some especially eerie music, that borders on horror, and quite a bit of violence does ensure.  This is rated 12A, but honestly, it could have been a 15. As is often the case with the BBFC, they have given a film a lenient rating because itís Ďhistoricalí[ how I remember walking out at the end of Braveheart shocked at how brutal it was for a 15!] and, although itís mostly very quick, you do see decapitations, spurting blood and the like. Thereís even a bit where a young boy has his throat cut!.

The battle scenes are sadly shot in the way that is the norm now-lots of quick cuts and close ups, so that what is on screen is sometimes little more than a blur.  Itís especially sad here because the staging, or what you can see of it, is really good.  The final battle, though, does have some great aerial shots of the fighting.  Antony Dod Mandleís cinematography is stunning throughout, evoking a real poetry out of the bleak landscapes, but is most notable in the early scenes, where for once interiors are really dark [just as they should be] because they are lit only partially by the odd candle and daylight coming in through a window.  These scenes almost look as if they were shot using just natural light and almost have a Barry Lyndon look to them.  Another thing I liked a great deal is that Marcus is really quite dislikeable for most of the film, heís so bound up in things like Ďhonourí and the superiority of the Romans to everyone else , that he doesnít seem to have much humanity at all.  When he encounters the survivor I mentioned earlier, all he seems bothered by is that he fled a massacre and didnít stay to fight to his certain death.  He treats Esca like crap, and one thing I couldnít understand is why Esca is so loyal to him.  Their relationship is handled very well though, with little of the expected sentimentality.  Iíve read of a supposed homosexual element, but I didnít see it-Iím of the opinion that such things are often only there if you want them to be.

Initially I thought Channing Tatum was rather bland as Marcus, but then it occurred to me that his performance was intentional, since Marcus is quite an empty, hollow guy who wouldnít dream of showing anything resembling feelings.  Jamie Bell is given the more dynamic role of Esca but is hampered by the inconsistency of the character.  Unlike his previous score for Season Of The Witch, Atli Orvarsson contributes a fine score here, with effective use of unusual instruments and sounds.  When it comes down to it The Eagle doesnít have quite enough in it to distinguish it from other films of its ilk, but itís rather more interesting than you might expect and generally a solid effort all round.



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A mess - 13/4/2011 2:32:30 PM   


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Somewhere in this was a good film trying to come out, but nearly every opportunity was wasted. I can live with errors and odd accents, but this just didn't work, it was disjointed, had flawed logic and the two leads just failed to bond.
Part made by Film4 and it felt like a TV movie.....

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Enjoyable movie ! - 22/4/2011 6:26:16 PM   


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Jamie Bell. delivers a good Performance in this Movie & also good Performance from.
Channing Tatum a enjoyable movie .

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The Eagle: Review - 8/8/2011 2:50:48 AM   


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From: Ireland
The Eagle is an alright film. It had some good battle scenes and the story is a bit interesting to learn. The problems with the film is i personally have seen better films in this genre then this one and some scenes were just taking out of other films just to fill the space of scenes. I would recommend this film to be a rental.

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The Eagle Review - 28/3/2012 9:09:09 PM   
the film man


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The Eagle has a pleasantly traditional action-adventure appeal, but it's drowned out by Kevin Macdonald's stolid direction and Channing Tatum's uninspired work in the central role.

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RE: The Eagle Review - 30/4/2012 11:07:48 AM   
Vitamin F


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From: Norn Ireland, so it is


This should have been a lot better, there are just too many flaws.
The fight scenes look like they were edited with a breadknife to obtain a 12 certificate and seemed rather flat, and while the cliches (both dialogue and situation) are fewer than that other disappointment Centurion, that final scene as has been mentioned in previous posts is so out of place with the tone of the rest of the film that, yes indeed, all that was missing was a high five and a freeze-frame!

The Eagle looks like it could have been much more, but just seems to have been heavily edited down to under 2 hours (no proof, I'm just surmising) and also tails-off badly in the final act for some reason. The cinematography was great at times but never too flashy or fantastical. Watchable then, but forgettable. And whose idea was it to get Mark Strong doing an American accent, what was the point of that??

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RE: The Eagle Review - 30/4/2012 11:29:19 AM   
Russ Whitfield


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I enjoyed it - as Vitamin F says, watchable but forgettable. I'm a big fan of sword and sandals stuff, but most of the time what we get on the big screen disappoints (I'm looking at you "300").

The accents - well, it was confirmed in the director's commentary that they gave all the Romans American accents on purpose - like the did in Alexander O'Great (giving the Macedonians Irish accents, the Greeks English ones etc). I like the device, I think it works well.


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RE: The Eagle - 2/5/2012 5:35:30 PM   

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Well I'm loving all these historical films being made these days really interesting and gloriously epic and this film despite not being a huge Hollywood flick is really decent and worth the watch.
The plot revolving around the mystery of the Ninth Legion (Legio IX Hispana) has been passed around the history books for along time and no one really knows what happened to them but this film goes along with the safe bet that they were simply ambushed and beaten by local tribes (probably Picts) and all killed or executed.

Of course the film isn't totally accurate, the story that one Centurion (Aquila) goes behind enemy lines with a Briton slave to recapture the Eagle standard is pure fantasy, the way the film concludes is also pure fantasy and maybe should of ended in a more realistic fashion. Despite the obvious historical flaws, you can't blame the creators for alittle artistic license, this film is excellent fun and really well made from the costumes and tribal speech right to the fantastic location work.
The real Scottish Highlands and Glens are used for the backdrop in this film and boy does it work, some of the scenes look tremendous, really barren n bleak with rain n clouds aplenty, also the use of native tongue for all the tribal scenes really adds to the epic quality and realism although I'm unsure if they looked as they are portrayed. They do have a kind of Amazon rain forest type of look to them, think 'Apocalypto' or 'Last of the Mohican's' Huron look.
I'm also unsure if the local tongue used in the film is based on anything real, same with the 'Seal' tribe, never heard of them and its thought the Picts would of been the natives of the time.

Great fight sequences and a much more real feel to the film than the recent 'Centurion' which had a more blockbuster type urge to it. I'm unsure if anyone would really be that bothered about a flag standard that they would go through all that, not sure the Roman hierarchy would be bothered about it either as they would probably be more concerned about losing men and ground than the actual metal standard. Its all good and well acted from both the Roman front and Tribal front with Tatum and Bell looking quite similar to each other haha the tribal warriors of Caledonia also playing their parts really well.

< Message edited by Phubbs -- 2/5/2012 5:38:12 PM >

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RE: The Eagle - 21/5/2012 7:16:08 PM   


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From: Birmingham
The Eagle (2011)

If Iím wrong then I shall die: And thatís how it should be.

The Eagle is directed by Kevin Macdonald and adapted to screenplay by Jeremy Brock from the book The Eagle of the Ninth written by Rosemary Sutcliff. It stars Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Tahar Rahim and Mark Strong. Music is scored by Atli ÷rvarsson and cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle.

In 120 AD, The Roman Ninth Legion marched into Caledonia, they, along with their precious Golden Eagle standard, were never seen again. 20 years later and Marcus Flavius Aquila (Tatum) arrives in Britain to serve as a garrison commander. He carries a burden, though, for the Ninth Legion was led by his father. It is perhaps his destiny that he go forth into Caledonia to maybe solve the mystery and restore honour to the family name?

Better angry than dead.

A film of two different, but equally enjoyable, halves, The Eagle is a delightful throw back to the swords and shields movies of old. All things are in place for a rollicking tale of courage, friendship and honour, and the film mostly delivers on its premise. First half is all about character introduction and motives required for plotting. We get some clanking sword play and splendid synchronised army manoeuvres as a garrison defence unfolds. Great to report that CGI and digital blood are not dominating proceedings, this is very human, even if the editing is of the whippy kind. A turn of events then sees Marcus come by way of Bellís slave, incidents are defined and we then move into the second half of the picture.

Life, life, LIFE!

Here is where the film becomes a character piece as two men from different walks of life, enemies with anger and determination gnawing away at their souls, traverse the magnificent Scottish Highlands (Dod Mantleís photography is breath taking at times) to solve the mystery of The Ninth. What follows is an invigorating olde world adventure where mistrust, redemption and unknown tribes reside. Dialogue stays sharp and Macdonald never lest the pace sag. Thereís a pleasant adherence to period flavourings, with the Romans and their foes given an intelligent make over by the writer, while itís really refreshing to find there isnít a token female love interest jimmied into the story.

Film, perhaps inevitably given the modest budget and expectations afforded it, is far from flawless, but itís becoming increasingly difficult to understand just what the modern audience, or indeed old classics movie fans, expect of a genre film such as this? The churlish decry the casting of American Tatum in the lead, but what he lacks in actual depth of talent is more than compensated for by him knowing how to make the role of Marcus work. With impressive physicality and square jawed machismo, he cuts a splendid rugged figure, he also knows how to brood, essential for any stoic hero stung by a slur on his family name. Bell slots in nicely as the weak of body but strong of mind slave, Esca, the unrecognisable Rahim scores very well as a warrior tribesman, while the technical touches within the picture (including ÷rvarssonís score) are genre compliant.

Sutherlandís casting is odd, and Mark Strong is badly wasted, and the ending, whilst satisfactory, is not as grandiose as it should be. The latter more galling given the one they rejected, thatís available in the extras on the DVD, would have closed the film down far better. Yet this is a far better film than its box office take and internet ratings suggests it is. The days of magnificent historical epics and eye dazzling choreographed sword fights sadly look a long way off now. That doesnít mean that fans of such films have to accept any genre offering that comes their way, for example such as Neil Marshallís very uneven Centurion, but something like the smaller scale treats of The Eagle deserve our support. 7.5/10


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