Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Eagle.

The 2010 movie, I just got it from NetFlix. I read the book ("The Eagle of the 9th" by Rosemary Sutcliff) back in middle school, so naturally I wanted to see the movie version.
If you haven't seen it you haven't missed much. Young Roman legionary officer Marcus Flavius Aquila, serving in Britain, sets out to redeem his family's honor. The 9th Legion under the command of Marcus's father, had set off into the wilds of Scotland some 20 years before and never returned. Marcus sets off north of Hadrian's Wall to recover the Legion's standard, one of the famous golden eagles of Rome. His only companion is Esca, a British slave of Marcus's.
It's a dreadful trip. It rains all the time, their rations run out. On the way up they pick up clues to the location of the lost eagle. The way back is worse, with angry Picts chasing them all the way on foot. The have to eat their game raw lest a fire give them away. Their horses wear out and in the last reel they are on foot, still pursued by war painted Picts. The Picts go in for olive drab warpaint from head to toe, that dehumanizes them completely. Marcus and Esca work out a number of personal differences on the trip. In the end Marcus and Esca return to civilization alive, unwounded, with the Eagle, and good friends.
My objection to the movie is it is a long, uncomfortable, dangerous, rainy trek thru the wilderness. Never a dry campsite, a good meal, it's just endless misery. It's not a trip I care to make, ever. The sets and costumes are good, the score is acceptable, the camera work is up to standard. Acting is OK, characterization is decent considering that the book was a Young Adult book with no girl friends or love interests.

No comments: