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The Eagle

332 customer reviews

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(Jun 21, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In 2nd-Century Britain, celebrated Roman soldier Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) embarks on a dangerous quest to restore the tarnished reputation of his father and find the golden emblem that disappeared with him and thousands of troops twenty years earlier. But the highlands of Caledonia are a savage wilderness, and Marcus must rely on his embittered slave, Esca (Jamie Bell), to navigate the perilous region. Their journey pushes them beyond the boundaries of loyalty and betrayal, friendship and hatred, deceit and heroism. Donald Sutherland co-stars in this gripping, gritty, action-packed adventure from acclaimed director Kevin Macdonald.

Epic filmmaking has fallen out of favor, but The Eagle fights hard to bring it back. Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) chose to lead a Roman garrison in occupied Britain because that's where his father lost a military standard--a metal eagle, representing the glory of imperial Rome--on an expedition into the northern wilds. To reclaim his family honor, Aquila sets off into native territory to recover the eagle, with only a slave named Esca (Jamie Bell) to help him--but the more Aquila learns about Esca's history, the more he has reason to doubt his slave's loyalty. The Eagle starts with engaging momentum; this is a work of fiction, but there's an impressive commitment to the details of life, evoking the sights, sounds, and smells of a raw and brutal time. (Director Kevin Macdonald began as a documentarian, which no doubt contributes to his appreciation for grit and sweat.) Tatum is not the most versatile actor but he has enough solid charisma to anchor the movie; Bell's fluid emotional presence keeps their relationship dynamic. The movie loses steam in the last third, as the outcome is never really in doubt and the plot mechanics start to feel a bit rote. But for anyone with an interest in the era, or who simply enjoys a taste of blood and thunder, The Eagle has pleasures aplenty. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • Alternate Ending
  • Deleted Scenes
  • The Eagle: The Making of a Roman Epic
  • Feature Commentary with Director Kevin Macdonald (Unrated Version Only)

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Channing Tatum, Mark Strong
    • Directors: Kevin Macdonald
    • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
    • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
    • Dubbed: French, Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: Unrated
    • Studio: Focus Features
    • DVD Release Date: June 21, 2011
    • Run Time: 114 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (332 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B0034G4P58
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,868 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "The Eagle" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    163 of 170 people found the following review helpful By Chris Swanson VINE VOICE on February 12, 2011
    Back in the early second century, the Ninth Legion disappeared from history. The current going theory is that they were wiped out in combat in the Eastern Provinces, but there's also a theory that they were destroyed fighting the Picts in what is now called Scotland. That's the jumping-off point for The Eagle, a rather lightweight sword and sandals film staring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell.

    Tatum plays Marcus Flavius Aquila, son of the commander of the Ninth Legion. He's gone into the army himself and worked hard to get sent to Britannia, where he hopes to not only recover his father's honor, but also that of the Legion and to recover it's beloved standard; a gold eagle. The Roman legions fetishized their eagles (or "aquila", a word suspiciously similiar to the last name of our hero), to an impressive degree. Better in many ways to lose every man in your legion than to lose your standard.

    Anyhow, young Marcus gets to Britannia, takes command of a legion, promptly gets injured and drummed out of the service, then acquires Esca (Jamie Bell), a young slave. He eventually hatches a plan to find the Eagle and along with Esca, heads north into darkest Caledonia. Along the way the two fight, bond and generally have an interesting time of it.

    I really enjoyed this movie. It was entertaining, well-done and well-paced. Several of the plot twists were telegraphed well in advance, including the biggest one, which was shown to us in the trailers. But that minor complaint aside, it was good. The historical accuracy was decent (though some of the tactics the Romans employ made me roll my eyes. Where's your pila, boys?), and anytime I see a movie with Romans not using stirrups I get a least a bit happy. Plus it was cool hearing the Picts speaking Gaelic.
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    125 of 135 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 11, 2011
    Format: Blu-ray
    Around the year 100, the Roman Legio IX Hispana supposedly went missing somewhere in Britain. Nobody really knows what happened to them.

    But that hasn't stopped writers and moviemakers from speculating about what did happen. "The Eagle" is a solid adaptation of Rosemary Sutcliff's novel "The Eagle of the Ninth" -- a gritty, mud-slicked quest movie set in a time when Rome still ruled the world. Channing Tatum is a little wooden, but he's more than made up for by Jamie Bell's subtle performance.

    Centurion Marcus Flavius Aquila (Tatum) is the son of the Ninth Legion's commander, and is determined to regain his family honor. But after he's horribly wounded in battle, he finds himself honorably discharged and facing a life of boredom... until he hears rumors that the Ninth Legion's golden eagle has been seen north of Hadrian's Wall. If he can get the eagle, his family's honor will be restored.

    The problem is, no Roman has gone past the wall and lived to tell about it. So Aquila sets out to northern Britain, with his Briton slave Esca (Bell) as his only guide -- and quickly runs into deserters, rogue warriors, and the deadly blue-painted Seal People who helped destroy the Ninth Legion. Can they rely on each other long enough to find the golden eagle... and can they make it back to Roman land alive?

    Of the three movies made about the Lost Legion in the last few years, "The Eagle" is probably the grittiest and most realistic -- there are no glorious battles, Hollywoodized Celts or Arthuriana. Instead, director Kevin Macdonald fills the movie with mud, rain, cold pale light, grimy little outposts, frenetic small battles and the spare expanses of Scotland.

    And for the most part, the movie succeeds.
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    105 of 115 people found the following review helpful By M. Natisin on February 23, 2011
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    Loosely based on Rosemary Sutcliff's novel The Eagle of the Ninth (The Roman Britain Trilogy), with its sweeping cinematography and the hauntingly atmospheric score by Atli Orvarsson, this movie set in Britain 140 AD starts as a slice-of-life military drama and quickly twists off into epic adventure. Though billed as some sort of soldier/daddy-worship epic, with nary a woman in sight, this movie unravels into an amazing bromance that seems more like a love story between two young men from different walks of life than anything else.

    Marcus(Channing Tatum) is forced out of his career as a soldier by battle wounds received while defending his first command post in distant Britain. The son of an infamous Roman commander who marched 5000 men into northern Britain and subsequently vanished, Marcus's dream of winning back his family's honor through soldierly deeds is summarily crushed by his discharge from service. Languishing in civilian life in his uncle's villa, Marcus' hatches a plan to win his family's honor back with the help of his Briton slave, Esca (Jamie Bell), by different means. Marcus will find the eagle standard of his father's lost legion by traveling into the hostile unconquered northern lands (Caledonia, or modern day Scotland) and Esca will lead the way. The tension and conflict between The Eagle's two main characters powers the movie along to its surprisingly up-beat conclusion.

    It is a rare treat to see a movie that takes place in pre-Christian Britain.
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