Archive for the ‘The Eagle (of the Ninth) film’ Category
Groucho Marx once said: ‘Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read!’. Hence one blog about books: Inside a Dog. The blog’s author recently caught up with The Eagle film in Australia, which prompted him to enthuse about Rosemary Sutcliff “all over again”.
Today I finally got to see the movie based on Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle Of The Ninth. That’s made me think about her books all over again – I love them! I think she’s the greatest writer of historical fiction for children and teens in the twentieth century. In fact, judging by what I’ve read in the last eleven years, maybe the best of this century too.
Rosemary Sutcliff‘s The Eagle of the Ninth became The Eagle film earlier this year. Any chance of a BAFTA? One of the problems on the internet is knowing the authority of particular sites; but my Google alert on Rosemary Sutcliff threw up this comment today at ScreenDaily, which was not encouraging.
Director Kevin Macdonald has shared in two Korda award wins for Touching The Void (2003) and The Last King Of Scotland (2006). Producer Duncan Kenworthy is a Bafta stalwart with multiple nominations to his credit and a best film win for Four Weddings And A Funeral (1994). The adaptation of Rosemary Sutcliff’s 1954 children’s classic The Eagle Of The Ninth may have been a labour of love for both producer and director, but the lack of widespread critical support for the film and a UK release date back in March would seem to work against either of them adding to their Bafta renown this year.
The Eagle belongs to a sub-genre of the adventure and historical film genres that some critics, reviewers, and fans call “sword and sandal” (or “sword and shield” as Roger Ebert calls them). Troy, 300, and Gladiator (the best picture Oscar winner back in 2000) are recent examples of sword and sandal flicks. Like those films, The Eagle is about men of war and about the honor they seek to gain, regain, or retain.
However, this film offers something more. Marcus Aquila is clearly the hero, and his quest to recover the eagle standard is a heroic one. However, the society to which he belongs, the Roman Empire, is not heroic. The film contrasts Marcus’ behavior as a warrior with Rome’s behavior towards the people the empire conquers. The film views the quest for honor from two sides – Rome and Rome’s opponents – is personified by Marcus’ slave, Esca, played by Jamie Bell, who gives this film’s best performance.
What appeals to me about this film is that it is a rousing, manly adventure that is open to different points of view – including those of the antagonists. The Eagle reminds us that while war, even battle, may seem simple, it is complex, indeed, even messy.
The Eagle is not perfect. Marcus’ time at the garrison, the battles, and the chases through the forest are superb cinema, while the character moments are somewhat dull. I for one liked Channing Tatum’s pugnacious performance. It is the movie star sweet to this movie’s determination not to be straight-forward rah-rah about war. The Eagle is a film I’ll come back to many times.
Rosemary Sutcliff‘s The Eagle of the Ninth has long been a set text for boys of a certain age, and Kevin Macdonald’s sword-and-sandal-swinging screen adaptation The Eagle (2011, Universal, 12) doesn’t stint on the kind of action beloved of this core audience. While Neil Marshall’s similarly themed (and underrated) Centurion descended head first into an enjoyably gruelling bloodbath, Macdonald’s adventure does a canny job of suggesting great violence while reining in the explicit visuals just enough to secure an all-important 12 certificate.
The impressively versatile Jamie Bell (whose finest work remains the sadly little seen Dear Wendy) makes for an engagingly conflicted antihero as the slave who must do his master’s bidding in the service of an unrepayable debt – leading Channing Tatum’s Roman legion north of Hadrian’s Wall in search of the titular lost emblem. While the result may lack the depth and complexity of Sutcliff’s source, it still adds up to a breast-beating romp packed with muscular battles, manly conflicts and meaty moral dilemmas.
Over there in Scaremento USA someone likes The Eagle film / dvd , and in particular its resolution of what they consider a “key mystery” of “western civilisation”, which is not, as some might think, the mystery of death of the ninth legion which so inspired Rosemary Sutcliff in her children’s and young adult historical novel The Eagle of the Ninth!
… Anthony Dod Mantle‘s cinematography is kinetic when it needs to be, ruminative and pretty when it doesn’t. It looks good. In the history of Western civilization, few mysteries have sparked more debate than the one at the heart of The Eagle, Kevin Macdonald‘s somber film adaptation of the classic children’s novel by Rosemary Sutcliff. I’m not talking about the unexplained disappearance of the Ninth Spanish Legion of the Roman army, which hoofed into Britain in A.D. 117 and promptly vanished. It’s … Channing Tatum. Can he act, or not? I’m of the opinion that he can. Seriously, I’ve seen him do it.
Argentina: 29th September
Australia: 21st July
Brazil: 23rd September
Chile: 10th November
Colombia: 18th November
Ecuador: 25th November
Japan: Q1 2012
Panama: 25th November
Peru: 17th November
Venezuela: 18th November
These release dates for the DVD of The Eagle film by Kevin MacDonald, based on the historical novel for children and young adults The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, are provisional. The DVD is already out in Canada, Singapore and the USA. John Ellis in Illinois has just commented elsewhere on this blog: “Here in Illinois, I have just watched this wonderful film. Absolutely great work by everyone involved. If one were to own just one Roman legion film, this should be that one. Authentic to a fault. There is a release with alternate endings and an unrated version. I honestly cannot praise this film enough.”
Australia: 3rd November 2011
Brazil: 25th April 2012
Finland: July 2011
Germany: 4th August 2011
Greece: 18th July 2011
Iceland: Q2, 2011
Mexico: 9th December 2011
New Zealand: 3rd November 2011
Portugal: 29th September 2011
Russia: 14th April 2011
South Africa: 5th August 2011
Spain: 14th September 2011
Sweden: 27th July 2011
Thailand: 12th July 2011
UK: 25th July 2011
The DVD of The Eagle film of Rosemary Sutcliff’s bestselling historical novel The Eagle of the Ninth was released yesterday (21 June) in the USA. It comes out in the UK on July 25th. Anyone know release dates in other ‘territories’ as they are called?
Here in the UK well known film-reviewers on Radio 5 Live, Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo, pronounced of the film:
“Verily, tis a hit!”