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Fierce general. Skilled orator. Savvy politician. This is Julius Caesar, one of the worlds greatest leaders and ruler of the Roman Empire. His ascent to power is filled with sacrifice, murder and betrayal. With the beautiful Cleopatra on one arm and a sword in the other, Caesar seized control of a vast territory, winning legions of followers, making enemies and creating history, before falling at the hands of Brutus, his most trusted ally. This is an ageless story in an epic presentation unlike anything ever seen before. Julius Caesar: a remarkable man who became an unforgettable legend. COLOR / APPROX, 187 MINUTES. DVD FEATURES: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen 2.0 Dolby Stereo The Making of Julius Caesar featurette
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Top customer reviews
I no that i will be rewatching this often, and i would reccomend it to any fan of caesar, rome, ancient history, or a good move.
The thing I liked best about this film is that in my opinion it is a fairly realistic look at Julius Caesar. It mostly does not try to glorify him (as did, for example, Colleen McCullough in her Masters of Rome series of books). Nor does it demonize him. The film shows that Caesar went to Gaul and provoked wars mainly for his own political purposes (to enhance his stature at home) and that when the Senate sought to call him to account, this is what motivated him to turn his army against Rome and essentially overthrow the Roman Republic. These are not necessarily laudable acts, and the film does not gloss over these points. The scenes of Caesar imperiously dictating harsh laws and proscriptions to the Senate show that by the time of his death, absolute power had indeed corrupted Caesar absolutely.
The film has a much better attention to detail concerning Roman parapernalia such as the lictors who attended the Roman Consul, and other similar details. Purists will appreciate this.
Another excellent quality of this film is the casting and acting, both are excellent. The acting is generally good. Jeremy Sisto was criticized for his portrayal of Caesar, but I thought he did a reasonably good job. Richard Harris absolutely nails the role of the Dictator, Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Christopher Walken did fine as Cato, although this was not a major role in the film. Heino Ferch was a very convincing Vercingetorix (the King of the Gauls). I did not think that Jay Rodan was a convincing Mark Antony. Overall, though, this film surprises with the performances that its generally excellent cast turns in. This film is sufficiently good, in fact, that one why it was not a "bigger" film. I have not enjoyed a film as much as this one in several years, causing it to merit 5 stars.
The sets, acting, and DVD reproduction of this film are all excellent. This film will satisfy those of us who seek historical accuracy in a film about one of history's great figures, but the storyline will similarly engage those who simply are interested in good dramatic entertainment. This one is highly recommended.
This production is a good one for a straight-to-television production. It is a four-hour miniseries (the television nomenclature equivalent for `epic'). It plays a bit loose with the historic progression, but keeps many of the broad strokes intact - Rome's trouble under Sulla, Caesar's early difficulties becoming established, his military alliance and familial partnership with Pompey, destined to falter; the conquest of Gaul and the march back to Rome, the fiery oratory of Cato, and the climactic death in the Senate.
Caesar is a complex character, one who defies encapsulation in so short a span as four hours. Given that Caesar was surrounded by many equally intriguing characters, it is little wonder that productions about Caesar often fall victim to a particular interpretation. Sisto's performance, and Edel's direction, makes Caesar in some ways a walking statue - and this is not a necessarily inappropriate style. Caesar was very conscious of appearances and public perceptions, and took great pains to always appear in a certain fashion that would enhance his power and reputation. Sisto's Caesar does show such some emotional range, but this is often mitigated by `events of state'.
Richard Harris, in one of his final performances as Sulla, puts in a much more dynamic performance, however brief; some may recall Harris as the wise emperor Marcus Aurelius in `Gladiator' a few years prior to this production, a very different role indeed from the ambitious, capricious and over-emotional Sulla. Christopher Walken as Cato also turns in an almost over-the-top performance (Cato and Cicero seem to be a combined character here, in some respects). Christopher Noth plays Pompey, but does so at extremes - he is either flat and ineffective, or overly emotional and ineffective. Noth has done good work elsewhere, but this is not one of his better pieces.
The female characters in this production are largely marginalized; even the famous Cleopatra/Caesar affair in minimized. While the role of Cleopatra is often overplayed in the Caesar story, it does have a decided role. Also, the role of Augustus is completely missing.
Filming was done in Malta and in Bulgaria, which brought in lots of locals into the production. A replica of the Roman Forum was constructed, which is an impressive piece of scenery. Also, the Gaul encampment, where Caesar overcomes Celtic warriors, is well constructed and visually powerful. German actor Heino Ferch plays the role of the Celtic leader with aplomb. In scenes where he appears, he steals the show so completely that no Caesar could resist.
It is interesting that the television series, `Rome', is currently enjoying a major success with essentially the same time period. This could have been a great epic / mini-series; instead, it is passing fair. Costumes are great, sets and location good. The story line is interesting, even if out of sync with actual history. The performances are spotty but occasionally effective. The writing takes the story along, but almost as if it were a rendering about Rome and Caesar than a piece for actors to perform in.
Those who like the `sword and sandals' kind of film will find this interesting. Others may find it tolerable. Those who are easily irritated at historical inaccuracies of detail may well find this film infuriating, as lots of bits are rearranged for dramatic effect. Even so, it is an epic that might be worth a rainy day or night's viewing.
There are no real DVD extras to speak of, at least not on the copy I have.