Thursday Movie Picks: Ancient World (3600 BC – 500 AD)

This week has one of those themes were I’m just.. what… because I don’t really know any movies from that time period.. I think. And when I have to Google for help, I feel like I’m cheating a bit. But what else can I do when I’m so flustered that I can’t even name a single movie to recommend off the top of my head. So I obviously cheated and turns out I’ve seen exactly three movies inside this theme and one of them barely fits in between the given time periods.

1. TROY, 2004

Now, this movie is close to 15 years old and I saw this when I was fifteen in a cinema, which is also one of the few things I remember of the movie. I remember that the theater was empty, except me and my best friend, and we were watching half naked Brad Pitt fighting. I mean, you can’t blame me for not remembering the movie all that well because those were Pitt’s glory years and he was wearing almost no clothes. But that being said, I remember it being a good movie, and nobody can deny that the legend of the Trojan Horse in itself is interesting enough for a movie plot. Oh, and did I mention half naked Brad Pitt in his prime, I did, well.. it’s worth mentioning.

2. 300, 2006

“This is Sparta!” yells Gerard Butler really aggressively and pushes someone into a bottomless hole that doesn’t have any safety rails around it – which is just unsafe really. But yes, I’ve seen 300 and I must say it’s a weird movie, yet, I like that is so different and has a little bit of Sin City cinematography vibes going on – not surprising since both comic books are written by Frank Miller. The colour scheme the movie adapts from the comics makes the film a little better, in my opinion. But in terms of movie experiences, 300 is not a bad movie. If anything, it’s a great example of a comic book based movie that stays true to the comic. And honestly, I think it’s one of the best Zack Snyder movies  out there.

3. KING ARTHUR, 2004

So, here is when I get a little confused because I’m not entirely sure it fits into the timeframe.. but I think it almost does, or it barely passes the 500 AD but oh well. King Arthur is one of those stories that everyone has heard snippets of and with the upcoming Guy Ritchie movie with Charlie Hunnam as the lead, I think it wouldn’t hurt to see this 2004 edition of the story. Even though it’s not the best movie out there, I think it’s an important one.. even if it’s for all the wrong reasons. In other words, I know there is a lot of merit to King Arthur to make a good movie and there hasn’t been one yet.


 THIS SERIES IS CREATED BY WANDERING THROUGH THE SHELVES

 

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18 thoughts on “Thursday Movie Picks: Ancient World (3600 BC – 500 AD)”

    1. I was literally going down the list of movies that fit this timeframe and picking the ones I had at least seen.. so honestly, like I said, I barely remember any of them myself. 😀

  1. I haven’t seen Troy in ages, literally, but I remember enjoying it. It’s also one of the first DVDs I’ve bought.

    1. Nice! I think having some memories attached to a certain movie makes it a lot better in your mind in a way.. I have a lot of those movies from the late 90’s and early 00’s that aren’t that great but somehow memorable.. I don’t know if I want to ruin those memories by watching these movies now.. I might not enjoy Troy that much anymore.

  2. Huh, seen them all theatrically, neither was particularly good but I remember Owen was hot in King Arthur and Bloom was so hysterically bad in Troy

    1. When has Bloom been absolutely great though? Like.. sure, his Legolas was pretty cool but that was because he has been made into a meme due to his expressions while on screen but not in focus. 😀

  3. My experience with Troy was the opposite to yours but then I saw it opening weekend and the theatre was packed. I liked it, but then I’m a sucker for this type of film, and the cast aside from Prime Pitt was awesome-most excited that they convinced Julie Christie to make a brief appearance as his mother!-with Eric Bana giving the best performance of the leads.

    300 was so innovative when it came out and exciting as well, the endless imitators has blunted its edge but I still watch it from time to time.

    King Arthur is probably a trifle beyond the limit but we work with what we have so it’s a good pick. I was anxious to see it when it came out since I’m a big fan of both the story and the three leads. It wasn’t bad but I had really hoped for much more.

    No good King Arthur movie!?!?!? You must never have seen John Boorman’s “Excalibur”. It is an absolutely marvelous mystical version of the story with a brilliant Nicol Williamson as Merlin, a deliciously evil Helen Mirren as Morgana and just starting out small roles for Liam Neesom, Gabriel Byrne and Patrick Stewart.

    I love any movie that deals with antiquity so this was another fun week for me. I had lots to choose from but my sweet spot is the big star-studded lush Biblical epics of the 50’s. The apex of those is the overblown, overlong and over the top but still massively entertaining “The Ten Commandments” which is an essential but which I’ve used already however I still could have come up with at least a dozen more and winnowed down to these three:

    Quo Vadis? (1951)-Huge, impressive epic of Nero’s (Peter Ustinov) reign and his persecution of the Christians. Against the broader scale of the story (with amazing sets and a literal cast of thousands) is the tale of Roman general Marcus Vinicius (Robert Taylor) who falls in love with the Christian Lygia (Deborah Kerr) and slowly adopts her religion, a very dangerous decision for the time. Vast in scope with pageantry and a human feel that can’t be replicated by CGI that thanks to the direction and performances, Leo Genn is particularly fine as Marcus’s Uncle Petronius, remains more accessible than many similar films of the period.

    Land of the Pharaohs (1955)-Hooty nonsense about the building of the Great Pyramid in ancient Egypt. Packed with quality British actors, including Jack Hawkins, James Robertson Justice and Sydney Chaplin, extravagantly playing to the back row and best of all (well most campily of all anyway) a young and very beautiful Joan Collins vamping it up as the pharaoh’s wife Nellifer. To say she’s good would be a stretch but she sure is entertaining. The usually excellent Howard Hawks doesn’t seem to have a handle on the pace of the story so despite the florid ridiculousness of the picture it occasionally drags.

    Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)-Fictional sequel to The Robe picks up where that film ended. The movie follows two stories: faithful Demetrius (Victor Mature) the soldier converted to Christianity in the first picture is pressed into being a gladiator and catches the eye of the salacious Messalina (Susan Hayward) wife of Emperor Caligula’s uncle which causes a crisis of conscience. Meanwhile the mad Caligula pursues Jesus’s robe believing it to have magical powers. Star-studded if improbably cast (i.e. Ernest Borgnine as a Roman centurion) with future stars Anne Bancroft and Julie Newmar appearing briefly. Nicely produced if a bit overblown.

    1. I have not seen Excalibur which is why I probably haven’t seen any good King Arthur movies. I keep seeing his legend used in various random places but none have stuck with me so I can’t name them off the top of my head. I might give Excalibur a try before Ritchie’s adaptation comes out because I really want to compare his version to the best version, and I trust you when you say Excalibur is great! Hopefully I will have some time soon.

      I have not even heard of the movies you mention here because like I said, this is not my theme at all but I might someday venture into that world.

  4. Have seen this all and not quite impressed with King Arthur. I hope Guy Ritchie’s take on this story will be great.
    However, Troy was quite good. The production value is astonishing, but there are too many cliches around. Perhaps we just know the story too good.
    My favorite among the three is 300. It’s packed with fun and fun only.

    1. I think my favourite is also 300 from this list because that’s the stand out from the list. Sure, Troy is all big and flashy, but I think in terms of bringing something new to the table, 300 succeeded with that. I also remembered, ironically, Troy and 300 were both movies I saw with my best friend, which is funny because we rarely watched anything serious and sticked with teen flicks. 😀

  5. Ah, yes Troy and Brad Pitt…I saw this in the theatre and liked it quite a bit. I really liked Peter O’Toole and Eric Bana but the gal who plays Helen and Bloom as Paris were weak. 300 was really well done and enjoyable. I get what you mean about the comic book style and that is true! I never thought of it that way but great way to describe it. King Arthur probably lived in the 600’s but he could have been earlier and I am certain there was a king like him that did exist. Usually these legends have some basis in fact. This film was ok but I’m with Joel, nothing compares to Excalibur which is a great film about the legend…..one of my favourites.

    1. You know I googled the hell out of it and there were mentions of King Arthur as somebody from the early 500’s, but there was also this “Arthur (Clive Owen) is portrayed as a Roman cavalry officer, also known as Artorius Castus, the son of a Roman father and a Celtic mother, who commands a unit of Sarmatian auxiliary cavalry in Britain at the close of the Roman occupation in 467 A.D.” … so I got hella confused and thought, well, maybe this version of the movie happens before some of the other ones. 😀

      I’ve heard Excalibur mentioned twice now in my comments and I already promised to see it soon, sooner now since you mentioned it as your favourite!, so I will get back to you on that one!

  6. I also went with 300 and Troy. King Arthur I only saw the one time in theaters. Don’t feel bad about using google, I do sometimes as well. Especially when the first picks that come to mind are ones I’ve used already.

    1. Well, I try not to with TMP but sometimes I’m so at lost. Like I usually use it for one pick max, but this time I had to find all three. 😀
      But for TV theme next week, I don’t need any help at all,.. muhahaha! 😀

  7. Damn. I had no idea that Troy was that old…but I too also saw it in the theater. Think I was 60 at the time.

    Anyway, solid picks on your end, as I fairly enjoyed the two that I’ve seen (I don’t think I’ve ever made it to the end of a King Arthur movie…yet?). Troy had a lot of decent fight scenes, and Brad was in top form (though I’ll take doe-eyed Meet Joe Black and dirty Tyler Durden…uh, if you asked me to…which you didn’t), but I’m with Dell. 300 is where it’s at. It’s essentially two hours of shouting, killing and humping…meaning it’s pretty much my favorite movie ever.

    Great post!

  8. Troy – I didn’t like it. I thought most of the acting were terrible, but it was pretty to look at.
    300 – I picked 300 too. I agree, the color scheme looked better than the comics.
    King Arthur – Not sure where the myth/legends place King Arthur, I think there are differing opinions on it. But the movie seems to be set around the fall of the Roman Empire so I think it fits the period.

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