Last night I dreamed I was in the film Gladiator, and I had jumped into the body of Russell Crowe. I floated on my back within the silver gladiator suit, and the pebbled ground beneath moved along while I hovered. While this was going on, that is, as I floated inside Russell, the world was filled with the music of Hans Zimmer as he orchestrated his haunting, the-gods-are-watching-and-they-approve score. It occurred to me once again that if it weren’t for the score, the film would be just another Side A destroys Side B film. Think of films 300 or Troy if you don’t believe me.
Whenever there’s an empire movie, reputable actors with British accents (How else could the word “Rome” sound so beautiful if not for the English stuffing so much roundness into that one syllable?) and those not English like Russell and Phoenix, represent classical times in beautiful cinematography. The beauty of the age must be established in order to fulfill the need to protect it. Here comes all the exciting gore and brutality of war orchestrated with the grace and precision of real men, a dark dance indeed, with the romanticism of honor and glory. Yes, the genre is the same. However, 300 and Troy does not stick with you because it lacks a great score. What defines a perfect film? It must have an outstanding film score. Make it haunting, make it Celtic. It’s the way to go like the band, Elysium, used in Gladiator.
Have you noticed that these films hire Scottish and Australian actors to play Englishmen who are reenacting Romans and Greeks and Spartans? Are there no Mediterranean actors out there? At least with films Arthur or Braveheart the British accents make sense. Except for Mel who’s Australian but sounds American, and he gets his innards pulled at the end of the film for the error. In Robin Hood, there’s Russell Crowe paired again with Ridley Scott. This time, the movie is just mediocre. Why, when it’s the same story retold? It lacks a great score!
So three questions come to mind. What’s it feel like to be in Russell Crowe’s body? And, why do I keep going to these movies? I am a sucker for a British accent and a good score. What’s your favorite?