Gladiator is the kind of movie upon which Hollywood once built its reputation but rarely produces anymore: the spectacle. Filled with larger-than-life characters, gorgeous scenery, impressive set design, and epic storytelling, Gladiator is designed not just to entertain, but to enthrall. It draws audiences in and immerses them in a reality that is not their own. A boisterous reaction is expected every time the protagonist defies the odds and wins a conflict, or changes the tide of battle in his favor. This is filmmaking on a grand scale.
Director Ridley Scott made his name in movies by helming two acknowledged science fiction classics: Alien and Blade Runner. Aside from those films, however, his resume is littered with mediocre and unpromising titles, such as his most recent outing, G.I. Jane. (Some argue that Scott returned to form with 1991's overrated Thelma and Louise, but that's not an opinion I share.) Gladiator represents the British-born filmmaker's second attempt at an historical epic, and is far more successful than his previous endeavor, the stultifying 1492: Conquest of Paradise, which recounted Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World.
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