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Customer Review

30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars VENI VIDI VOMI, September 14, 2005
This review is from: Druids (DVD)
I came, I saw, and I got a vomit bag! Horrible rendition of the life and death of Vercingetorix, chief of the Gauls who fought Julius Caesar and was defeated at Alesia in 51 B.C. A heroic figure of great courage and dignity whose historical persona should have never been dragged into this amateurish attempt at filming an epic!

Although much of the subject is taken directly from Caesar's 'Commentaries', the script, acting, and direction are appallingly bad. The casting is equally bad. Klaus Maria Brandauer is a good actor but his casting as Caesar was a poor choice: he hardly seems convincing as a Roman with his heavy German accent. Max Von Sydow is also a great actor but has nothing to work with in this film other than a bad script and the inept direction of Jacques Dorfman. The movie itself has little to do with druids and one comes out no more informed as to druidism than before watching the film: why call it 'Druids' then? The most horrible casting is Christopher Lambert as Vercingetorix. Lambert's age, shabby constitution, and lifeless acting hardly reflects a fierce and muscular 20-year old Gaul nobleman whose charismatic appeal and valor united all of the tribes of Gaul into one force against the Roman invaders: a feat that no other Gaul or Celtic chieftain had ever been able to achieve before, during, or after Caesar.

The film location and settings were equally bad in that it was filmed in Canada and Eastern Europe instead of France; probably because the French government was too embarassed to be associated in any way with this pitiful film. These locations hardly match the plains, oak forests, and plateaus of central France. Although the final scene of the battle of Alesia does a decent job of showing how the Roman legions prepared fortifications with pallisades, trenches, and spikes against cavalry, the direction and editing of these scenes were inept. The scenes and sets failed to show how vast of a siege this really was. There were over 250,000 Gauls fighting 60,000 Roman legionaires over a relatively small area! The Romans had built over 12 miles of double pallisades with towers and forts to surround and invest the city of Alesia. These fortifications descended into valleys and rose on to hills surrounding the city and enemy camp. The hill town of Alesia in the movie looks more like what it is: bunch of stage props made out of particle board built on a reduced scale. In terms of factual errors, the characters and their dialogues are purely anachronistic. Historically, the film also makes the same mistake as so many other films covering antiquity: stirrups did not exist until the 7th Century A.D. Both Romans and Celts used a Celtic saddle to support themselves or rode bareback. The front and rear parts of the Celtic saddle curved inward near the thighs at the top to allow the rider to stand firm on the saddle. Stirrups were invented by Arabs. Although Celts often associated martial skills with female godesses as demonstrated in the film, the handling of this theme in this film is just tacky and meaningless. No one on the film seemed to really know much about the social and cultural details of their story. There is really nothing good at all to say about this film other than some minor glimpses of Roman fort and circumvellation/siege techniques. The soundtrack was equally horrible and a good example of what 'Conan' would have sounded like if Oliver Stone had chosen the music instead of John Milius and Basil Poledoris. A quasi-disco trendy soundtrack hardly sets the mood in a movie about antiquity: imagine how good of a movie Spartacus or Ben-Hur would have been with the Bee-Gees for a title theme and you have "Druids."

This movie doesn't even meet the most basic requirements for an epic film. Amazingly, all of the crew are equally to blame for their incompetence: Lambert; the director; the editor; the cast selection; the composer; and the set/prop crew, were all equally inept in their collaboration on this film. An epic requires a director who can convey a lot of symbolism and grandeur. Such a task was definitely not one Dorfman was competent to handle. Such films require a director to the likes of Kubrik, Scott, or Wyler. Apart for devoted Lambert fans and history teachers who want to show their students very brief sections showing how the Roman legions built their forts and defenses, this movie is definitely a trash can candidate: it's not even worth renting.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 13, 2007 1:26:23 PM PDT
Very good. Thank you for helping us to trash a really crappy, horrible movie. ^.^ Cheers for you.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2007 12:01:09 PM PDT
Octavius says:
My pleasure. Some films should simply never see the light of a movie screen or television set. This one is a perfect example.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2007 4:31:40 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 22, 2008 12:55:14 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2007 12:27:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 1, 2015 1:21:03 AM PDT
Octavius says:
True. Although all Celtic peoples shared more or less a common language and culture, they identified themselves exclusively by tribe. Vercingetorix was probably the first Celt to unify all of the tribes of Gaul along some form of "national" identity, hence, his name which in Latin-Celtic means, 'True king of the Gauls.'
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