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The Return of the Epic Film$
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Andrew Elliott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748684021

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748684021.001.0001

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‘There’s Nothing So Wrong with a Hollywood Script That a Bunch of Giant CGI Scorpions Can’t Solve’

‘There’s Nothing So Wrong with a Hollywood Script That a Bunch of Giant CGI Scorpions Can’t Solve’

Politics, Computer Generated Images and Camp in the Critical Reception of the Post- Gladiator Historical Epics

Chapter:
(p.57) Chapter 4 ‘There’s Nothing So Wrong with a Hollywood Script That a Bunch of Giant CGI Scorpions Can’t Solve’
Source:
The Return of the Epic Film
Author(s):

Mark Jancovich

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748684021.003.0004

Although many historical epics of the 1950s and 1960s are now regarded as cinema classics, their critical reception on their original release was quite different. These films were often seen as highly problematic cinematic exercises, with films such as Ben Hur being praised precisely for their difference from other films of this type. More recently, there is a claimed resurgence of this form of cinema following the success of Gladiator, although a series of similar projects were already in production when Gladiator was released. The case of Gladiator is an interesting one, as it demonstrates an unexpected critical response. Despite perceptions of the film as a critical success, Scott’s film opened to an initially frosty reception; conversely, films like 300 and Clash of the Titans were warmly received as extravagant showcases of spectacle and, later, 3D. This chapter explores the reception of Gladiator and compares it to that of other films released in the early to mid 2000s.

Keywords:   epic film, Gladiator (film), Thor (film), Clash of the Titans (film), 300 (film), critical reception, historical epic, CGI

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