Decode the question: How has the composer represented the concept of heroism in the film Gladiator? Make specific reference to two key scenes in the film. You MUST NOT choose scenes which have been analysed already in the course work (i.e. scenes I-III, XI-XIII, and XXVI). Write approximately 1000 words. Select Two key scenes:
XXXI -Maximus has defeated the greatest gladiator ever to fight XLVI – The Final Battle
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Organise ideas, texts & references: Summary, presentation of Heroic concept, references to 2 keyed scenes with quotes & notes Draft – Do the draft as needed above
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Maximus was a powerful Roman General (strong belief, inner strength never dies, stood up for his belief no matter the consequences), loved by the people and the aging Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, known in history as the final of the Five Good Emperors. Before his death, the Emperor chose Maximus to be his heir over his own son, Commodus in an attempt to allow Rome to once more become a Republic. Then a power struggle left Maximus and his family condemned to death. The powerful General was unable to save his family, and his loss let him captured and put into slavery and trained as a Gladiator by Proximo until he died. The only desire that fueled him at the time was the chance to rise to the top so that he would be able to look into the eyes of the man who would feel his revenge and fulfill the dying wish of his emperor.
The time came when Proximo’s troupe was called to Rome to participate in a marathon of gladiator games held at the behest of the new emperor, Commodus. Once in Rome, Maximus wasted no time in making his presence known, and was soon involved in a plot to overthrow the emperor with his former-love Lucilla, Commodus’ sister, after whom he lusted, and also the widowed mother of Lucius, heir to the empire after his uncle, and democratic-minded senator, Gracchus was reinstated for Rome to republic. The composer has set up the representation of the heroism concept (50-60%) throughout the Gladiator film, from the opening scene, when the Hero leaves his pleasant vision (his wife and child) to return to the Germania battle field and to: – face the 1st execution
– 1st fight as a gladiator
– release his name
– fight against the greatest warrior
– face Commodus
– fight in the Final battle
As the opening scene and the above listed 3 scenes where the heroic concept has been discussed in the course work, the responder can also find the concept of heroism in the fight against the greatest gladiator and in the Final battle.
The fight against the greatest gladiator
Tigris turns to Caesar’s box, with swords crossed, he bows, “We who are about to die salute you.” Maximus stands by, showing no salute whatsoever. As Maximus gets ready to fight the large doors to the arena are thrown open, surprising Maximus. From each door emerges a team of men, who run into the arena. Each team picks up a chain from the sand. Maximus becomes distracted and Tigris kicks sand into Maximus’ face and begins the fight. As the fight continues and as Maximus is thrown to the ground, a trap door opens and out jumps a large tiger, pouncing at the fighting gladiators. Maximus is now having to escape the claws of the tigers as he battles Tigris.
In the background can be heard “loose, loose, loose” and “pull, pull, pull” as the handlers coordinate their efforts in handling each of the tigers that are now on the arena floor growling and charging at Maximus.] [Maximus manages to disarm Tigris, switching his sword from one hand to the other, Maximus stands ready to finish off Tigris. Suddenly, a fourth tiger jumps out of a trap door and jumps at Maximus. In that split second, Maximus turns and the tiger is speared with his sword. Maximus is thrown to the sand as the large beast lays atop him. Maximus stabs the beast repeatedly, killing it. The crowds cheer wildly. Tigris moves in for an attack. Maximus, on his back with the beast still on him, manages to grab Tigris’ own hatchet and with great force spikes him in the foot. Tigris bends over in pain, blood pouring from the opening of his mask. Maximus stands and kicks Tigris over to the ground. He is finished.
The Final battle
The trap door to the arena opens as the lift rises, encircled with the Praetorian as they stand behind their black shields. In the middle, the white clad Commodus, gazing upwardly, basking in the sun and the wounded, dying Maximus stand. All the while, Quintus staring at Maximus. As they reach the arena, the Praetorian take their place at the perimeter of the arena. Maximus stumbles to the center, slowly stooping to pick up a handful of sand, with a watchful eye on Quintus. Maximus rubs the sand in his hands and reaches for his sword but Quintus tosses it aside, and out of reach. Maximus painfully moves to where the sword has been tossed and picks it up, immediately swinging at Commodus. The two do battle. Maximus roars as he attacks Commodus. Commodus manages to cut Maximus’ leg.
Although wounded, Maximus cuts Commodus’ arm causing him to drop his sword.] [Maximus begins to drift into the after-life and as he sees the gate to his home, the sword drops from his hand. Meanwhile, Commodus is calling Quintus for his sword but Quintus does not comply. Commodus then turns to the Praetorian, calling out “sword”. The guards begin to pull their swords when Quintus quickly tells them to “sheath your swords” and they quickly comply. As Commodus reaches for his hidden dagger, Maximus quickly returns to this life and, unarmed but for his strength and determination, does battle with Commodus, turning Commodus’ knife against him. Commodus tries relentlessly to fight Maximus off but Maximus slowly plunges the knife into Commodus’ throat, further and further until it can go no further. Commodus falls to the ground. The fight over, Maximus begins to drift as he reaches out his bloodied hand, to push open the gate that leads to his home. Peace, once again, overcomes Maximus when Quintus calls to him. “Maximus, Maximus.” Maximus regains consciousness.]
To bring to life ancient Rome, director Ridley Scott employed great period costumes, chariots and horses, lots of dark-haired actors and actresses, and an amazing looking coliseum in the time period set in the movie. The musical score was possibly the best feature of this film, as the music is haunting and perfectly punctuates the dramatic action in soft, then ever-increasing tempos. It was a real trick to make music that would accentuate the flavor of this historical piece, and not distract it. The film used a very potent combination of long shots and close-ups to heighten the drama and yet propel responder into the immensity of the situation: the overwhelming doom that seems to be around any and every corner in Rome. For instance, at this scene where Maximus has defeated the greatest gladiator ever to fight, in a long, drawn-out battle. The bested warrior lies fallen at Maximus’ feet, awaiting his demise. The crowd chants “Kill, Kill, Kill!” The long shot shows Emperor Commodus watching Maximus, and in the shot, the emperor is shown in the foreground, and Maximus appears small in the background. In this way the responder get a sense of the power that Commodus holds over Maximus.
Now a medium-long shot of the crowd to get a sense of how many people are chanting for the vanquished opponent’s death; they all appear in unison, willfully they crave blood. Next a close-up of the emperor as he dramatically steps forward, arm extended. If he gives a thumbs up, the opponent should live. If he gives a thumbs-down, the opponent should be killed. His arm hangs outward and all eyes in the coliseum fall upon his hand. He gives the thumbs-down, and the crowd goes wild with roars of approval. Finally, a close-up of Maximus as he throws down his own sword in complete defiance to the emperor and to the people. The skillful editing helps contrast the morals Maximus and Commodus possess: Commodus is ruthless and political, Maximus does only what he has to, no more no less, and he is a man of his own conviction. This scene helps responder to understand why earlier the dying emperor Marcus Aurelius wanted Maximus to succeed him, he knew Maximus would do the right thing and not be swayed easily by popular opinion.
A leader must lead, not follow. Whenever the composer wanted the responder to get a sense of the size of this coliseum, he employed the cinematographer to use long range shots. When he wanted responder to get a sense of the hustle and bustle of Rome, a hand-held camera was used. The Final battle: The composer used a number of different techniques during the filming of the Final battle, including muted, washed out colors in the Coliseum. The scene is bright and colour comes across perfectly, setting the mood for the scene of battle. The fighting is filmed replete with quick cuts and a frenetic filming process; it’s disorienting but not so much that we can’t keep track of who’s who and what each participant is doing in said battle. The fighting is realistic without zooming in on the gore, as the violence speaks for itself.
The composer correctly makes the scenes exciting without the need for a barf bucket.. Combat is supposed to be jarring and disorienting and the filming process actually communicates this sense to the responder very well. The responder’d have to agree, as the scenes outstanding in special effects. They are seeing the Coliseum when it is a new(100 years old) and its grand structure, as it would have been in ancient Rome. Stunts are well coordinated and real tigers were used in a particular fight scene, grabbing out just inches from Maximus and his opponent. He earned his act on those days of shooting.
Sound – The soundtrack with its haunting score, is very memorable its scope and theme. Sound track manages to take a main character theme and vary it depending on the action, making it subtle and sweet at times, brooding and depressing at others. Throughout the film, the same musical elements are applied, bring unity and depth to the story. Besides digital sound, Dolby 5.1 is also included on the same disc
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