Thursday, May 08, 2008


So once upon a time I was underwhelmed by Spartacus. I don't know what was going through my head. I must have been crazy at the time. I do know that I saw it first when I was like ten, which is, supposedly, before the age of reason. My point being that it may not have been too unreasonable for me to be unreasonable. Whatevs. Saw Spartacus today on DVD, and boy howdy what a spectacle.

It got me thinking...

There's an awful lot, I thought, about it that really isn't very dated. Much of the in Rome sub-plot and political runabout especially looked and felt and sounded as upbeat as the contemporary stuff that pleases me the most. And the scenes of the thousand zillion marching extras, and the battle maneuvers, in my eyes put recent depictions of the same to utter smallness. Even LOTR, with all it's scale, had computer generated extras. The most dated parts of it, I thought, were the music, and the performances of the two main leads, Kirk Douglas and Jean Simmons.

Another thing that struck me about the movie; the distinct, somewhat propagandist feeling, anti-slavery overtones. Part of the voice-over prolog saying of Spartacus, "A man contemplating the destruction of slavery two thousand years before that destruction would actually come to pass." Blah, blah, blah. The modernity would just creep in; the relationship between Douglas and Simmons especially.

I think that essentially half of this three hour movie was screen time with Kirk Douglas and Jean Simmons. Someone could make a lot of money if they editted them out, wrote a new soundtrack, and repackaged Spartacus as a completely different film only about Roman political intrigue.

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