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Memoirs of a Geisha is a 2005 film adaptation of the novel of the same name, produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and Spyglass Entertainment and by Douglas Wick's Red Wagon Productions. The picture was directed by Rob Marshall and was released in the United States on December 9, 2005 by Columbia Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures. It stars Zhang Ziyi, Ken Watanabe, Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh, Youki Kudoh, and Suzuka Ohgo. Ohgo plays the younger Sayuri in the movie, which was filmed in southern and northern California and in several locations in Kyoto, including the Kiyomizu temple and the Fushimi Inari shrine, the last film by Spyglass Entertainment teamed up with Buena Vista International for the Worldwide, before StudioCanal UK took over.
Memoirs of a Geisha tells the story of a young girl, Chiyo Sakamoto, who is sold into slavery by her family. Her new family then sends her off to school to become a geisha. This movie is mainly about older Chiyo and her struggle as a geisha to find love, in the process making a lot of enemies. The film was nominated and won numerous awards, including nominations for six Academy Awards, and eventually won three: Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.
The Japanese release of the film was titled Sayuri, the titular character's geisha name.
The film tells the story of Chiyo Sakamoto, a poor Japanese girl who has been sold along with her older sister Satsu into a life of servitude by her parents. Chiyo is taken in by the proprietress of a geisha house, Mother (Kaori Momoi), but Satsu is rejected and is sold to another house in the "pleasure district" of the Hanamachi. At the okiya, Chiyo also has numerous unpleasant run-ins with the okiya's senior Geisha Hatsumomo (Gong Li).
Chiyo conspires with Satsu to flee from their new lives. On the night of their planned escape, Chiyo falls off of a rooftop and is injured. Mother found out about Chiyo's attempt, and stops Chiyo's geisha training. Chiyo never sees Satsu again. Chiyo was then demoted to working as a slave to pay off her debts to Mother.
One day, the young Chiyo is noticed by the Chairman (Ken Watanabe) and his geisha companions. He then buys her an iced sorbet and gives her his handkerchief with some money in it. Inspired by his act of kindness, Chiyo resolves to become a geisha so that she may one day become a part of the Chairman’s life.
Several years later Chiyo is taken under the wing of Mameha (Michelle Yeoh), one of Kyoto's most successful geisha. Under Mameha's tutelage, Chiyo becomes a maiko and then takes the name of Sayuri. Hatsumomo becomes Sayuri's rival and seeks to destroy her. Sayuri reunites with the Chairman and longs to catch his attention. Sayuri grows in popularity and Hatsumomo spreads lies and rumors to ruin Sayuri's reputation. Meanwhile, Mameha starts a bidding war for Sayuri's mizuage, which will make her a full geisha. Sayuri gets named the lead dancer for a popular performance, where she catches the attention of bidders, including the Baron (Mameha's danna). The Baron invites Sayuri to his house for a party. Mameha tells Sayuri later that the bid was down to two people, Dr. Crab and the Baron. Mameha let it go to Dr. Crab because of her romantic feelings for the Baron, despite his bid being even higher. When returning home, Sayuri finds Hatsumomo in her room and they fight. Hatsumomo starts a fire in the okiya and then she is then exiled.
Sayuri's prosperous life is cut short by the outbreak of World War II. Sayuri and Mameha are separated, with Sayuri going to the hills to work for a kimono maker. After the war, Sayuri is reunited with Mameha, and they become geisha once more to impress an American Colonel that is going into business with Nobu and the Chairman. Sayuri meets back up with Pumpkin, who is now a flirty escort. Sayuri goes on a trip with Nobu, the Chairman, Pumpkin and the Americans to the Amami Islands.
At Amami the Colonel proposes Sayuri, but is rejected. Nobu saw the incident and confronts Sayuri. He finally confesses his feelings that he wants to become her danna. Sayuri is distraught and devises a plan to humiliate herself with the Colonel in front of Nobu. But because of her secret resentment of Sayuri, Pumpkin brings the Chairman instead, knowing that it would devastate Sayuri.
A few days later, after returning to Gion, Sayuri receives a call to go to the teahouse. While waiting, Sayuri expects Nobu to arrive, but instead the Chairman comes where he finally reveals to her that he knows she is Chiyo. He tells her that Nobu had learned about the affair and ceased being her danna. He also reveals that he was responsible for sending Mameha to her so that she could fulfill her dreams of becoming a geisha. Sayuri finally reveals her love to the Chairman, which she has been harbouring for over twenty years. The film ends with their loving embrace and kiss and a stroll through a beautiful Japanese garden.
Producer Steven Spielberg had been scheduled to direct Memoirs of a Geisha as the follow-up to Saving Private Ryan. However fellow DreamWorks executive David Geffen had tried to persuade him not to take on the project as he said, "I don't think it's good enough for him". Whether or not he was dissuaded from the project, he went on to direct A.I. Artificial Intelligence instead.
The three leading non-Japanese actresses (Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li, and Michelle Yeoh) were put through "geisha boot camp" before production commenced, during which they were trained in traditional geisha practices of musicianship, dance, and tea ceremony.
Production of the film took place from September 29, 2004 to January 31, 2005. It was decided by the producers that contemporary Japan looked much too modern to film a story which took place in the 1920s and '30s and it would be more cost-effective to create sets for the film on soundstages and locations in the United States, primarily in California. The majority of the film was shot on a large set built on a ranch in Thousand Oaks, California which was a detailed recreation of an early twentieth-century geisha district in Kyoto, Japan. Most interior scenes were filmed in Culver City, California at the Sony Pictures Studios lot. Other locations in California included San Francisco, Moss Beach, Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge, Sacramento, Yamashiro's Restaurant in Hollywood, the Japanese Gardens at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, and Downtown Los Angeles at the Belasco Theater on Hill Street. Towards the end of production, some scenes were shot in Kyoto, Japan, including the Fushimi Inari Taisha the head shrine of Inari, located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto.
In post-production, one of the tasks of the sound editors was to improve upon the English pronunciation of the international cast. This sometimes involved piecing together different clips of dialogue from other segments of the film to form new syllables from the film's actors, some of whom spoke partially phonetic English when they performed their roles on-set. The achievement of the sound editors earned them an Academy Award nomination for Best Achievement in Sound Editing.
In the Western hemisphere, the film received mixed reviews. In China and Japan, responses were sometimes very negative due to various controversies that arose from the film's casting and its relationship to history.
The British reviews for Memoirs of a Geisha were generally mixed. The New Statesman criticized Memoirs of a Geishas plot, saying that after Hatsumomo leaves, "the plot loses what little momentum it had and breaks down into one pretty visual after another" and says that the film version "abandons the original's scholarly mien to reveal the soap opera bubbling below". The Journal praised Ziyi, saying that she "exudes a heartbreaking innocence and vulnerablity" but said "too much of the character's yearning and despair is concealed behind the mask of white powder and rouge". London's The Evening Standard compared Memoirs of a Geisha to Cinderella and praised Gong Li, saying that "Li may be playing the loser of the piece but she saves this film" and Gong "endows Hatsumomo with genuine mystery". Eighteen days later, The Evening Standard put Memoirs of a Geisha on its Top Ten Films list. Glasgow's Daily Record praised the film, saying the "geisha world is drawn with such intimate detail that it seems timeless until the war, and with it the modern world comes crashing in".
In the United States, the film managed $57 million during its box office run. The film peaked at 1,654 screens,][ facing off against King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Fun with Dick and Jane. During its first week in limited release, the film screening in only eight theaters tallied up an $85,313 per theater average which made it second in highest per theater averages behind Brokeback Mountain for 2005.][ International gross reached $158 million.
Overall, the American reviews were mixed. Illinois' Daily Herald said that the "[s]trong acting, meticulously created sets, beautiful visuals, and a compelling story of a celebrity who can't have the one thing she really wants make Geisha memorable". The Washington Times called the film "a sumptuously faithful and evocative adaption" while adding that "[c]ontrasting dialects may remain a minor nuisance for some spectators, but the movie can presumably count on the pictorial curiosity of readers who enjoyed Mr. Golden's sense of immersion, both harrowing and [a]esthetic, in the culture of a geisha upbringing in the years that culminated in World War II".
The film scored a 35% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes; the consensus stated "Less nuanced than its source material, Memoirs of a Geisha may be a lavish production, but it still carries the simplistic air of a soap opera." On Metacritic, the film was given a 54/100 meaning "mixed or average review."
Controversy arose during casting of the film when some of the most prominent roles, including those of the geisha Sayuri, Hatsumomo and Mameha, did not go to Japanese actresses. Zhang Ziyi (Sayuri) and Gong Li (Hatsumomo) are both Chinese, whereas Michelle Yeoh (Mameha) is an ethnic Chinese from Malaysia. More notable is the fact that all three were already prominent fixtures in Chinese cinema.
The film-makers defended the decision, however, and attributed "acting ability and star power" as their main priorities in casting the roles and director Rob Marshall noted examples such as Irish-Mexican actor Anthony Quinn being cast as a Greek man in Zorba the Greek.
Opinion in the Asian community was mixed. To some Chinese, the casting was offensive because they mistook geisha for prostitutes, and because it revived memories of wartime Japanese atrocities.][ The Chinese government canceled the film's release there because of such connections, and a website denounced star Zhang Ziyi as an "embarrassment to China." This was exacerbated by the word "geigi" , a Japanese name for geisha used in the Kantō region, which includes Tokyo. The second character () could sometimes mean "prostitute" in Japanese language, though it actually had a variety of meanings and there was a clear distinction between geisha and prostitutes which were called "Yūjo" . The character 妓 only means "prostitute" in Chinese, and the correct translation into Chinese of the word "geisha" is 艺伎 (traditional Chinese: 藝伎), which does not use it. Some Japanese have expressed offense that people of their own nationality had not gotten the roles. Other Asians defended the casting, including the film's main Japanese star Ken Watanabe who said that "talent is more important than nationality."
In defense of the film, Zhang spoke:
Geisha was not meant to be a documentary. I remember seeing in the Chinese newspaper a piece that said we had only spent six weeks to learn everything and that that was not respectful toward the culture. It's like saying that if you're playing a mugger, you have to rob a certain number of people. To my mind, what this issue is all about, though, is the intense historical problems between China and Japan. The whole subject is a land mine. Maybe one of the reasons people made such a fuss about Geisha was that they were looking for a way to vent their anger.
Film critic Roger Ebert pointed out that the film was made by a Japanese-owned company, and that Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi outgross any Japanese actress even in the Japanese box office.
The film received some hostile responses in Mainland China, including its banning by the People's Republic of China. Relations between Japan and Mainland China were particularly tense due to two main factors: Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made a number of visits to Yasukuni Shrine, which honors all Japan's war dead, including some who were convicted war criminals, which was denounced by China's foreign ministry as honoring them; . Writer Hong Ying argued that "Art should be above national politics". Nevertheless, the release of Memoirs of a Geisha into this politically charged situation added to cultural conflict within and between China and Japan.
The film was originally scheduled to be shown in cinemas in the People's Republic of China on February 9, 2006. The Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television decided to ban the film on February 1, 2006, considering the film as "too sensitive". In doing so, it overturned a November decision to approve the film for screening.
The film is set in Japan during World War Two, when the Second Sino-Japanese War was taking place. During this time, Japan captured and forced Chinese women as "comfort women" for their men. Controversy arose in China from an apparent confusion of equating geisha with prostitution, and thus the connection with, and reminder of, comfort women being used in Japan at that time.
Newspaper sources, such as the Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post and the Shanghai Youth Daily, quoted the fears that the film may be banned by censors; there were concerns that the casting of Chinese actresses as geishas could rouse anti-Japan sentiment and stir up feelings over Japanese wartime actions in China, especially the use of Chinese women as forced sex workers.
National Board of Review
Screen Actors Guild Awards
NAACP Image Awards
The Memoirs of a Geisha official soundtrack featured Yo-Yo Ma performing the cello solos, as well as Itzhak Perlman performing the violin solos. The music was composed and conducted by John Williams, who won his fourth Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.
Kingdom of Heaven is a 2005 British-American epic action film directed by Ridley Scott and written by William Monahan. It stars Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Marton Csokas, Liam Neeson, Edward Norton, Ghassan Massoud, and Khaled El Nabawy.
The story is set during the Crusades of the 12th century. A French village blacksmith goes to aid the Kingdom of Jerusalem in its defense against the Ayyubid Muslim sultan Saladin, who is battling to reclaim the city from the Christians leading to the Battle of Hattin. The film script is a heavily fictionalized portrayal of the life of Balian of Ibelin (ca. 1143–93).
Most filming took place in Ouarzazate and Ait Benhaddou, Morocco, where Scott had previously filmed Gladiator and Black Hawk Down. A replica of medieval Jerusalem was constructed in the desert. Filming also took place in Spain, at the Loarre Castle (Huesca), Segovia, Ávila, Palma del Río and Casa de Pilatos in Sevilla.
In 1184, Balian, a French blacksmith, is haunted by his wife's recent suicide. A group of Crusaders arrives; one of them introduces himself as Balian's father, Baron Godfrey of Ibelin. Godfrey asks Balian to return with him to Jerusalem. Balian refuses and the Crusaders leave. The town priest, Balian's half-brother, reveals that he ordered Balian's wife beheaded before burial, a customary practice for people who commit suicide. Balian notices his brother wearing the cross that his wife wore before she was to be buried. In a fit of rage, Balian kills his brother, retrieves the crucifix, and flees the village. Balian pursues his father in the hope of gaining forgiveness and redemption for himself and his wife in Jerusalem. After he reaches Godfrey, soldiers sent by the priest's Bishop arrive, ostensibly to arrest Balian. In reality, the priest's nephew intends to assassinate Balian and Godfrey so that his father, and eventually he, may inherit Godfrey's barony. Godfrey refuses to surrender Balian, and the nephew launches a sneak attack against Godfrey. The attack fails, and Godfrey kills his nephew but is struck by an arrow that breaks off in his body.
In Messina, Godfrey knights Balian and, before succumbing to his injuries, orders Balian to serve the King of Jerusalem and protect the helpless. During Balian's journey to Jerusalem his ship runs aground in a storm, leaving Balian and a horse as the only survivors. When Balian releases the horse from the wreckage it flees in panic. Following the horse, Balian is confronted by a Muslim cavalier and what appears to be the cavalier's servant. A fight over the horse follows and Balian reluctantly slays the cavalier when attacked but spares the servant, asking him to guide him to Jerusalem. Upon arriving, Balian gives the horse to the servant and releases him. The man tells Balian his slain master was an important knight amongst the Saracens; his deed will gain him fame and their respect.
Balian becomes acquainted with Jerusalem's political arena: the leper King Baldwin IV, Tiberias the Marshal of Jerusalem, the King's sister, Princess Sibylla, and her husband Guy de Lusignan, who supports the anti-Muslim activities of brutal factions like the Knights Templar. Guy intends to rule after Baldwin's death and seeks to provoke a war that will allow him to dispose of the Muslims and claim the Kingdom for the Christians.
Guy and his co-conspirator, Raynald of Châtillon, massacre a Muslim trade caravan with the aid of the Templars. Saladin, leader of the Muslim forces, advances on Kerak, Raynald's castle, to punish him for his crime. Balian protects the villagers entering the castle from Saladin's cavalry, despite a request from Raynald to withdraw. Though outnumbered, Balian and his knights charge Saladin's cavalry, allowing the villagers time to flee. A fierce, but one-sided battle ensues in which Balian's surviving knights are captured. In the enemy camp, Balian encounters the servant he freed, Imad ad-Din, and learns he is actually Saladin's Chancellor. Imad ad-Din releases Balian to enter Kerak. Saladin arrives with his army to besiege Kerak, and King Baldwin IV approaches with his. They negotiate a Muslim retreat, and Baldwin swears to punish Raynald. Baldwin confronts Raynald, forcing him onto his knees. As Raynald grovels for mercy, Baldwin slaps him a few times and forces Raynald to kiss his diseased hand. The exertion associated with these events causes Baldwin to collapse, weakened beyond recovery. Saladin assures his generals that he will reclaim Jerusalem, but only when he is confident of victory.
Baldwin asks Balian to marry Sibylla, knowing they have affection for each other, but Balian refuses because in order for the marriage to occur, Guy would have to be killed. After Baldwin dies, Sibylla succeeds her brother and names Guy King of Jerusalem. Guy releases Raynald, asking him to give him a war, which Raynald does by murdering Saladin's sister. When Saladin's emissary relays demands for the return of his sister's body, the heads of those responsible and the surrender of Jerusalem, Guy decapitates the emissary and sends his head back to Damascus. Guy sends three Templars to assassinate Balian, the most strident voice against a war, though Balian survives the assassination attempt.
In council, war is agreed upon "because God wills it". Despite sound advice, they march into the desert to fight Saladin, leaving Jerusalem unguarded except for Balian, Tiberias, their knights, a few remaining Crusader soldiers, and the townspeople. Saladin's army attacks the Crusaders, and in the ensuing battle the Crusaders are annihilated. Guy and Raynald are captured. Saladin executes Raynald and then marches on Jerusalem, sparing Guy as king only out of tradition. Tiberias and his men leave for Cyprus, believing Jerusalem is lost, but Balian and his knights remain to protect the villagers. Knowing they cannot defeat the Saracens, they hope to hold their enemies off long enough for the Saracens to offer terms. After a battle that lasts three days, Saladin, impressed by the Christians' bravery, offers terms: Balian surrenders Jerusalem when Saladin offers the inhabitants safe passage to Christian lands.
In the marching column of citizens, Balian finds Sibylla, who has renounced her claim as Queen of Jerusalem and other cities. After Balian returns to his village in France, English knights ride through looking for Balian, defender of Jerusalem. Balian replies that he is merely the blacksmith, the man leading the knights identifies himself as King Richard I of England, and they commence a new Crusade to retake Jerusalem. Richard rides off, Balian is joined by Sibylla, and passing by Balian's wife's grave, they ride toward a new life together.
An epilogue states that the Third Crusade ended in an uneasy truce between Richard and Saladin after three years of war, and concludes that "nearly a thousand years later, peace in the Kingdom of Heaven remains elusive".
Many of the characters in the film are fictionalized versions of historical figures:
Bloom's character, Balian of Ibelin, was a close ally of Raymond; however, he was a mature gentleman, just a year or two younger than Raymond, and one of the most important nobles in the kingdom, not a French blacksmith. His father Barisan (which was originally his own name, modified into French as 'Balian') founded the Ibelin family in the east, and probably came from Italy. Balian and Sibylla were indeed united in the defense of Jerusalem; however, no romantic relationship existed between the two. Balian married Sibylla's stepmother Maria Comnena, Dowager Queen of Jerusalem and Lady of Nablus. The Old French Continuation of William of Tyre (the so-called Chronicle of Ernoul) claimed that Sibylla had been infatuated with Balian's older brother Baldwin of Ibelin, a widower over twice her age, but this is doubtful; instead, it seems that Raymond of Tripoli attempted a coup to marry her off to him to strengthen the position of his faction; however, this legend seems to have been behind the film's creation of a romance between Sibylla and a member of the Ibelin family.
King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, who reigned from 1174 to 1185, was a leper, and his sister Sibylla did marry Guy of Lusignan. Also, Baldwin IV had a falling out with Guy before his death, and so Guy did not succeed Baldwin IV immediately. Baldwin crowned Sibylla's son from her previous marriage to William of Montferrat, five-year-old Baldwin V co-king in his own lifetime, in 1183. The little boy reigned as sole king for one year, dying in 1186 at nine years of age. After her son's death, Sibylla and Guy (to whom she was devoted) garrisoned the city, and she claimed the throne. The coronation scene in the movie was, in real life, more of a shock: Sibylla had been forced to promise to divorce Guy before becoming queen, with the assurance that she would be permitted to pick her own consort. After being crowned by Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem (who is unnamed in the movie), she chose to crown Guy as her consort. Raymond III of Tripoli, the film's Tiberias, was not present, but was in Nablus attempting a coup, with Balian of Ibelin, to raise her half-sister (Balian's stepdaughter), princess Isabella of Jerusalem, to the throne; however, Isabella's husband, Humphrey IV of Toron, refusing to precipitate a civil war, swore allegiance to Guy.
Raymond of Tripoli was a cousin of Amalric I of Jerusalem, and one of the Kingdom's most powerful nobles, as well as sometime regent. He had a claim to the throne himself, but, being childless, instead tried to advance his allies the Ibelin family. He was often in conflict with Guy and Raynald, who had risen to their positions by marrying wealthy heiresses and through the king's favor. Guy and Raynald did harass Saladin's caravans, and the claim that Raynald captured Saladin's sister is based on the account given in the Old French Continuation of William of Tyre. This claim is not supported by any other accounts, and is generally believed to be false. In actuality, after Raynald's attack on one caravan, Saladin made sure that the next one, in which his sister was traveling, was properly guarded: the lady came to no harm.
Balian's relations with Richard were far from amicable, because he supported Conrad against Richard's vassal Guy. He and his wife Maria arranged her daughter Isabella's forcible divorce from Humphrey of Toron so she could marry Conrad. Ambroise, who wrote a poetic account of the crusade, called Balian "more false than a goblin" and said he "should be hunted with dogs".
An episode of The History Channel's series History vs. Hollywood analyzed the historical accuracy of the film. This program and a Movie Real (a series by A&E Network) episode about Kingdom of Heaven were both included on the DVD release.
The visual style of Kingdom of Heaven emphasizes set design and impressive cinematography in almost every scene. It is notable for its "visually stunning cinematography and haunting music". Cinematographer John Mathieson created many large, sweeping landscapes, where the cinematography, supporting performances, and battle sequences are meticulously mounted. The cinematography and scenes of set-pieces have been described as "ballets of light and color" (as in films by Akira Kurosawa). Director Ridley Scott's visual acumen was described as the main draw of Kingdom of Heaven with the stellar, stunning cinematography and "jaw-dropping combat sequences" based on the production design of Arthur Max.
The music differs in style and content from the soundtrack of Scott's earlier 2000 film Gladiator and many other subsequent films depicting historical events. A combination of medieval, middle-eastern, contemporary classical, and popular influences, the soundtrack is largely the result of British film-score composer Harry Gregson-Williams. Jerry Goldsmith's "Valhalla" theme from The 13th Warrior and "Vide Cor Meum" (originally used by Scott in the Hannibal movie and composed by Patrick Cassidy and Hans Zimmer), sung by Danielle de Niese and Bruno Lazzaretti were used as replacements for original music by Gregson-Williams.
Upon its release, it was met with a mixed reception, with many critics being divided on the film. Critics such as Roger Ebert, however, found the film's message to be deeper than Scott's Gladiator.
The cast was widely praised. Jack Moore described Edward Norton's performance as "phenomenal", and "so far removed from anything that he has ever done that we see the true complexities of his talent". The Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud was also praised for his portrayal of Saladin, described by The New York Times as "cool as a tall glass of water". Also commended were Eva Green, who plays Princess Sibylla "with a measure of cool that defies her surroundings", and Jeremy Irons.
However, lead actor Bloom's performance generally elicited a lukewarm reception from American critics, with the Boston Globe stating Bloom was "not actively bad as Balian of Ibelin", but nevertheless "seems like a man holding the fort for a genuine star who never arrives". One critic conceded that Balian was more of a "brave and principled thinker-warrior" rather than a strong commander, and Balian used brains rather than brawn to gain advantage in battle. The real Knights Templar closely resembled the Knights Hospitaller who helped Balian of Ibelin, and the protection of the kingdom, unlike the film's representation of them as the villains.
Bloom had gained 20 pounds for the part, and the Extended Director's Cut (detailed below) of Kingdom of Heaven reveals even more complex facets of Bloom's role, involving connections with unknown relatives. Despite the criticism, Bloom won two awards for his performance.
Online, general criticism has been also divided, but leaning towards the positive. As of early 2006, the Yahoo! Movies rating for Kingdom of Heaven was a "B" from the critics (based on 15 Reviews). This rating equates to "good" according to Yahoo! Movie's rating system. On Rotten Tomatoes, only 39% of critics gave the film a positive review. The aggregate review site Metacritic scored a 63/100, which means the film received "generally favorable reviews" according to the website's weighted average system.
Academic criticism has focused on the supposed peaceful relationship between Christians and Muslims in Jerusalem and other cities depicted. Crusader historians such as Jonathan Riley-Smith, quoted by The Daily Telegraph, called the film "dangerous to Arab relations", claiming the movie was Osama bin Laden's version of the Crusades and would "fuel the Islamic fundamentalists". Riley-Smith further commented against the historical accuracy stating "nonsense like this will only reinforce existing myths", arguing that the film "relied on the romanticized view of the Crusades propagated by Sir Walter Scott in his book The Talisman, published in 1825 and now discredited by academics." Fellow Crusade historian Jonathan Phillips also spoke against the film. Paul Halsall defended Scott, claiming that "historians can't criticize filmmakers for having to make the decisions they have to make... [Scott is] not writing a history textbook".
Thomas F. Madden, Director of Saint Louis University's Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, criticized the film's presentation of the Crusades:
Given events in the modern world it is lamentable that there is so large a gulf between what professional historians know about the Crusades and what the general population believes. This movie only widens that gulf. The shame of it is that dozens of distinguished historians across the globe would have been only too happy to help Scott and Monahan get it right.
Scott himself defended this depiction of the Muslim-Christian relationship in footage on the DVD version of the movie's extra features. Scott sees this portrayal as being a contemporary look at the history. He argued that peace and brutality are concepts relative to one's own experience, and since contemporary society is so far removed from the brutal times in which the movie takes place, he told the story in a way that he felt was true to the source material, yet was more accessible to a modern audience. In other words, the "peace" that existed was exaggerated to fit modern ideas of what such a peace would be. At the time, it was merely a lull in Muslim-Christian violence compared to the standards of the period. The recurring use of "Assalamu Alaikum", the traditional Arabic greeting meaning "Peace be with you", is spoken both in Arabic and English several times.
The "Director's Cut" of the film is a four-disc set, two of which are dedicated to a feature-length documentary called "The Path to Redemption". This feature contains an additional featurette on historical accuracy called "Creative Accuracy: The Scholars Speak", where a number of academics support the film's contemporary relevance and historical accuracy. Among these historians is Dr. Nancy Caciola, who said that despite the various inaccuracies and fictionalized/dramatized details she considered the film a "responsible depiction of the period."
Screenwriter William Monahan, who is a long-term enthusiast of the period, has said "If it isn't in, it doesn't mean we didn't know it... What you use, in drama, is what plays. Shakespeare did the same."
Caciola agreed with the fictionalization of characters on the grounds that "crafting a character who is someone the audience can identify with" is necessary in a film. She said that "I, as a professional, have spent much time with medieval people, so to speak, in the texts that I read; and quite honestly there are very few of them that if I met in the flesh I feel that I would be very fond of." This appears to echo the sentiments of Scott himself.
The historical content and the religious and political messages present have received praise and condemnation, sentiments and perceptions. John Harlow of the Times Online wrote that Christianity is portrayed in an unfavorable light and the value of Christian belief is diminished, especially in the portrayal of Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem. When journalist Robert Fisk watched the film in a Beirut cinema, he reported that the Muslim audience rose to their feet and applauded wildly during a scene in the film in which Saladin respectfully places a fallen cross back on top of a table after it had fallen during the three-day siege of the city.
The film was a box office flop in the U.S. and Canada, earning $47 million against a budget of around $130 million, but was successful in Europe and the rest of the world, with the worldwide box office earnings totaling at $211,643,158. It was also a big success in Arabic-speaking countries, especially Egypt. Scott insinuated that the U.S. disaster of the film was the result of bad advertising, which presented the film as an adventure with a love story rather than as an examination of religious conflict. It's also been noted that the film was altered from its original version to be shorter and follow a simpler plot line. This "less sophisticated" version is what hit theaters, although Scott and some of his crew felt it was watered down, explaining that by editing, "You've gone in there and taken little bits from everything".
Like some other Scott films, Kingdom of Heaven found success on DVD in the U.S., and the release of the Director's Cut has reinvigorated interest in the film. Nearly all reviews of the 2006 Director's Cut have been positive, including a four-star review in the British magazine Total Film (five star being the publication's highest rating) and a perfect ten out of ten from IGN DVD.
European Film Awards:
Teen Choice Awards:
An extended director's cut was released on December 23, 2005, at the Laemmle Fairfax Theatre in Los Angeles, unsupported by advertising from 20th Century Fox. This version has been widely praised; at approximately 45 minutes longer than the original theatrical cut, it is reportedly the version Ridley Scott originally wanted released to theaters. The DVD of the extended Director's Cut was released on May 23, 2006. It comprises a four-disc box set with a runtime of 194 minutes, and is shown as a road show presentation with an overture, intermission, and entr'acte; the Blu-ray release omits the roadshow elements, running for 189 minutes. Scott gave an interview to STV on the occasion of the extended edition's UK release, when he discussed the motives and thinking behind the new version.
The Director's Cut (DC) has received a distinctly more positive reception from film critics than the theatrical release, with some reviewers suggesting it is the most substantial Director's Cut of all time and a title to equal any of Scott's other works, offering a much greater insight into the motivations of individual characters.
The Patriot is a 2000 American historical war film directed by Roland Emmerich, written by Robert Rodat, and starring Mel Gibson, Chris Cooper, and Heath Ledger. It was produced by the Mutual Film Company and Centropolis Entertainment and was distributed by Columbia Pictures. The film mainly takes place in rural York County, South Carolina and depicts the story of an American swept into the American Revolutionary War when his family is threatened. The protagonist, Benjamin Martin, is a composite figure based on four real American Revolutionary War heroes: Joseph Plumb Martin, Francis Marion, Daniel Morgan and Thomas Sumter.
The film attracted controversy, with competing claims made about its relative historical accuracy. Professor Mark Glancy, teacher of film history at Queen Mary University of London has said: "It's horrendously inaccurate and attributes crimes committed by the Nazis in the 1940s to the British in the 1770s." In contrast, Australian film critic David Edwards asserts that "this fictional story is set around actual events, but it is not a history of what America was, or even an image of what it has become - it's a dream of what it should be....The Patriot is a grand epic full of action and emotion....But it's also surprisingly insightful in its evaluation of the American ideal - if not the reality."
During the American Revolution in 1776, Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson), a veteran of the French and Indian War and widower with seven children, is called to Charleston to vote in the South Carolina General Assembly on a levy supporting the Continental Army. Fearing war against Great Britain, Benjamin abstains. Captain James Wilkins (Adam Baldwin) votes against and joins the Loyalists. A supporting vote is nonetheless passed and against his father's wishes, Benjamin's eldest son Gabriel (Heath Ledger) joins the Continental Army.
Some years later, Charleston falls to the British and a wounded Gabriel returns home carrying dispatches. The Martins care for both British and American wounded from the nearby battle, before British Dragoons led by the ruthless Colonel William Tavington (Jason Isaacs) arrive and arrest Gabriel. When Benjamin's young son Thomas tries to free Gabriel, he is shot and killed by Tavington, who orders the Martins' house burned and wounded American regulars executed. After the British leave, Benjamin gives his next two eldest sons muskets and they ambush the British unit escorting a shackled Gabriel. Benjamin skillfully, yet brutally, kills many soldiers with his tomahawk. A British survivor tells Tavington of an almost unseen man rapidly killing the soldiers, earning Benjamin the moniker of the "Ghost". Benjamin and Gabriel resolve to fight the British, leaving the younger children in the care of Benjamin's sister-in-law, Charlotte (Joely Richardson). On their way to the Continental Army's camp, they witness the southern Continental Army under General Horatio Gates engaging the British Army. Having served with the British earlier in his life, Benjamin knows going muzzle to muzzle with the British is foolhardy. Sure enough, the Continentals are easily defeated and flee in disarray.
Benjamin meets with his former commanding officer Colonel Harry Burwell (Chris Cooper) and is given the rank of colonel to lead the local colonial militia due to his combat experience, tasked with keeping Lord Cornwallis's (Tom Wilkinson) British regiments pinned south through guerrilla warfare. French Major Jean Villeneuve (Tchéky Karyo) helps train the militia and promises more French aid. Benjamin's militia harass British supply lines, capture goods including some of Cornwallis' belongings, and burn half the bridges and ferries leading to Charleston. Lord Cornwallis perceives these actions as uncivilized and blames Tavington for creating this reaction with his brutal tactics. Irritated at his lack of progress and insulted by Benjamin's clever ploy to free some of the captured militia, Cornwallis reluctantly allows Tavington to use whatever means necessary.
Tavington learns the identities of some of the militia members and proceeds to attack their families and burn their homes. Benjamin's family flees Charlotte's plantation as it is burned and settle on the coast in a Gullah settlement with former black slaves. There, Gabriel marries his betrothed Anne (Lisa Brenner) and Benjamin commits to Charlotte. Tavington's brigade, seeking Martin's secret hideout, rides into the town that supplies the militia. He assembes all the townspeople into the church, promising freedom for the location of the hideout. But after the location is given the doors are barricaded, trapping the people inside. Tavington orders a horrified Captain Wilkins to burn it, killing all inside including Anne and her family. After discovering the tragedy, Gabriel races to attack Tavington's encampment and is mortally wounded by him. Benjamin arrives to have his son die in his arms.
Benjamin mourns deeply and briefly wavers in his commitment to continue fighting, but is resolved when reminded of his son's dedication to the cause by finding an American flag he sewed together personally. Martin's militia, along with a larger Continental Army regiment, confronts Cornwallis' regiment in a decisive battle. The redcoats seem to be defeating the patriots until Benjamin rallies the troops to push forward against the British lines and Tavington personally targets him. The two duel and Tavington's sword gains an upper hand over Martin's tomahawk. As Tavington prepares to finish him, Benjamin rises up with a musket, wounds him in the abdomen with the bayonet and delivers the coup de grâce, avenging his sons' deaths. The battle is a Continental victory and Cornwallis is forced to retreat. After many retreats, Cornwallis is besieged at Yorktown, Virginia where he surrenders to the surrounding Continental Army and the long awaited French naval force. After the conflict ends, Benjamin returns with his family and discovers his militia men rebuilding his homestead, previously destroyed by the British soldiers on Tavington's orders.
Screenwriter Robert Rodat wrote 17 drafts of the script before there was an acceptable one. In an earlier version of the script, Anne is pregnant with Gabriel's child when she dies in the burning church. Rodat wrote the script with Mel Gibson in mind for Benjamin Martin, and gave the Martin character six children to signal this preference to studio executives. After the birth of Gibson's seventh child, the script was changed so that Martin had seven children. Like the character William Wallace, which Gibson portrayed in Braveheart five years earlier, Benjamin Martin is a man seeking to live his life in peace until revenge drives him to lead a cause against a national enemy after the life of an innocent family member is taken. In contrast to Wallace, Martin is not martyred for his cause.
Joshua Jackson, Elijah Wood, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Brad Renfro were considered to play Gabriel Martin. The producers and director narrowed their choices for this role to Ryan Phillippe and Heath Ledger, with the latter chosen because the director thought he possessed "exuberant youth".][
The film's German director Roland Emmerich said "these were characters I could relate to, and they were engaged in a conflict that had a significant outcome – the creation of the first modern democratic government."
The movie was filmed entirely on location in South Carolina, including Charleston, Rock Hill - for many of the battle scenes, and Lowrys - for the farm of Benjamin Martin, as well as nearby Fort Lawn. Other scenes were filmed at Mansfield Plantation, an antebellum rice plantation in Georgetown, Middleton Place in Charleston, South Carolina, at the Cistern Yard on the campus of College of Charleston, and Hightower Hall and Homestead House at Brattonsville, South Carolina, along with the grounds of the Brattonsville Plantation in McConnells, South Carolina. Producer Mark Gordon said the production team "tried their best to be as authentic as possible" because "the backdrop was serious history," giving attention to details in period dress. Producer Dean Devlin and the film's costume designers examined actual Revolutionary War uniforms at the Smithsonian Institution prior to shooting.
The musical score for The Patriot was composed by John Williams and was nominated for an Academy Award. David Arnold, who composed the scores to director Roland Emmerich's Stargate, Independence Day, and Godzilla, created a demo for The Patriot that was ultimately rejected. Arnold has since never worked with Emmerich.
The Patriot received mildly favorable reviews from critics. The film scored a "Certified Fresh" rating of 62% rating among all critics on Rotten Tomatoes, which notes that it "can be entertaining to watch, but it relies too much on formula and melodrama." The Patriot was one of two Emmerich films to ever be given a "fresh" rating from that website (the other was Independence Day). On Metacritic, the film earned a rating of 63 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews". The New York Times critic Elvis Mitchell gave the film a generally negative review, although he praised its casting and called Mel Gibson "an astonishing actor", particularly for his "on-screen comfort and expansiveness". He said the film is a "gruesome hybrid, a mix of sentimentality and brutality". Jamie Malanowski, also writing in The New York Times, said The Patriot "will prove to many a satisfying way to spend a summer evening. It's got big battles and wrenching hand-to-hand combat, a courageous but conflicted hero and a dastardly and totally guilt-free villain, thrills, tenderness, sorrow, rage and a little bit of kissing". Other general complaints included the film's lack of historical authenticity, the depiction of the antagonists, and some cases of poor acting.
The Patriot was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Sound Mixing (Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Lee Orloff), Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score. It also received several guild awards, including the American Society of Cinematographers award to Caleb Deschanel for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography and the Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Award for Best Period Makeup and Best Period Hair Styling.
During the development of the film, producer-director Roland Emmerich and his team consulted with experts at the Smithsonian Institution on set, props, and costumes; advisor Rex Ellis even recommended the Gullah village as an appropriate place for Martin's family to hide. In addition, screenwriter Robert Rodat read through many journals and letters of colonists as part of his preparation for writing the screen play.
The Patriot's producer, Mark Gordon, said that in making the film, "while we were telling a fictional story, the backdrop was serious history". Some of the resulting characters and events thus were composites of real characters and events that were designed to serve the fictional narrative without losing the historical flavor. The film's screenwriter, Robert Rodat, said of Mel Gibson's character: "Benjamin Martin is a composite character made up of Thomas Sumter, Daniel Morgan, Andrew Pickens, and Francis Marion, and a few bits and pieces from a number of other characters." Rodat also indicated that the fictional Colonel William Tavington is "loosely based on Colonel Banastre Tarleton, who was particularly known for his brutal acts".
Some events, such as Tarleton's actual pursuit of Francis Marion and his fellow irregular soldiers who escaped by disappearing into the swamps of South Carolina, found their way into the film directly, while others were adapted, such as the final battle in the film which combined elements of the Battles of Cowpens and Guilford Court House.
The film was harshly criticized in the British press in part because of its connection to Francis Marion, a militia leader in South Carolina known as the "Swamp Fox". After the release of The Patriot, the British newspaper The Guardian denounced Francis Marion as "a serial rapist who hunted Red Indians for fun". Historian Christopher Hibbert said of Marion:
"The truth is that people like Marion committed atrocities as bad, if not worse, than those perpetrated by the British."
The Patriot does not depict the American character Benjamin Martin as innocent of atrocities; a key plot point revolves around the character's guilt over acts he engaged in, such as torturing, killing, and mutilating prisoners during the French and Indian War. In Hibbert's book Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolution Through British Eyes, written before The Patriot was released, Hibbert included no criticism of Marion. Conservative radio host Michael Graham rejected Hibbert's criticism of Marion in a commentary published in National Review:
"Was Francis Marion a slave owner? Was he a determined and dangerous warrior? Did he commit acts in an 18th century war that we would consider atrocious in the current world of peace and political correctness? As another great American film hero might say: 'You're damn right.' "That's what made him a hero, 200 years ago and today."
Graham also refers to what he describes as "the unchallenged work of South Carolina's premier historian Dr. Walter Edgar, who pointed out in his 1998 South Carolina: A History that Marion's partisans were "a ragged band of both black and white volunteers".
Amy Crawford, in Smithsonian Magazine, stated that modern historians such as William Gilmore Simms and Hugh Rankin have written accurate biographies of Marion, including Simms' The Life of Francis Marion. The introduction to the 2007 edition of Simms' book was written by Sean Busick, a professor of American history at Athens State University in Alabama, who wrote:
"Marion deserves to be remembered as one of the heroes of the War for Independence....Francis Marion was a man of his times: he owned slaves, and he fought in a brutal campaign against the Cherokee Indians...Marion's experience in the French and Indian War prepared him for more admirable service."
During pre-production, the producers debated on whether Benjamin Martin would own slaves, ultimately deciding not to make the protagonist a slave owner. This decision received criticism from Spike Lee, who in a letter to The Hollywood Reporter accused the film's portrayal of slavery as being "a complete whitewashing of history". Lee wrote that after he and his wife went to see the film, "we both came out of the theatre fuming. For three hours The Patriot dodged around, skirted about or completely ignored slavery." Mel Gibson himself remarked: "I think I would have made him a slave holder. Not to seems kind of a cop-out."
After the release of The Patriot, several British voices criticized the film for its depiction of the film's villain Tavington and defended the historical character of Banastre Tarleton. Ben Fenton, commenting in the Daily Telegraph, wrote:
"There is no evidence that Tarleton, called 'Bloody Ban' or 'The Butcher' in rebel pamphlets, ever broke the rules of war and certainly did not ever shoot a child in cold blood."
Although Tarleton gained the reputation among Americans as a butcher for his involvement in the Waxhaw massacre in South Carolina, he was a hero in Liverpool, England. Liverpool City Council, led by Mayor Edwin Clein, called for a public apology for what they viewed as the film's "character assassination" of Tarleton. What happened during the Battle of The Waxhaws, known to the Americans as the Buford Massacre or as the Waxhaw massacre, is the subject of debate. According to American field surgeon named Robert Brownfield who witnessed the events, the Continental Army Col. Buford raised a white flag of surrender, "expecting the usual treatment sanctioned by civilized warfare". While Buford was calling for quarter, Tarleton's horse was struck by a musket ball and fell. This gave the Loyalist cavalrymen the impression that the Continentals had shot at their commander while asking for mercy. Enraged, the Loyalist troops charged at the Virginians. According to Brownfield, the Loyalists attacked, carrying out "indiscriminate carnage never surpassed by the most ruthless atrocities of the most barbarous savages".
In Tarleton's own account, he stated that his horse had been shot from under him during the initial charge in which he was knocked out for several minutes and that his men, thinking him dead, engaged in "a vindictive asperity not easily restrained".
Tarleton's role in the Revolutionary war in the Carolinas is examined by Ben Rubin who shows that historically, while the actual events of the Battle of the Waxhaws were presented differently according to which side was recounting them, the story of Tarleton's atrocities at Waxhaws and on other occasions became a rallying cry, particularly at the battle of King's Mountain. The tales of Tarleton's atrocities were a part of standard U.S. accounts of the war and were described by Washington Irving and by Christopher Ward in his 1952 history, The War of the Revolution, where Tarleton is described as "cold-hearted, vindictive, and utterly ruthless. He wrote his name in letters of blood all across the history of the war in the South.". Not until Anthony Scotti's 2002 book, Brutal Virtue: The Myth and Reality of Banastre Tarleton, were Tarleton's actions fully reexamined. Scotti challenged the factual accounts of atrocities and stressed the "propaganda value that such stories held for the Americas both during and after the war". Scotti's book, however, did not come out until two years after The Patriot. Screenwriters consulting American works to build the character Tavington based on Tarleton would have commonly found descriptions of him as barbaric and accounts of his name being used for recruiting and motivation during the Revolutionary War itself, even if those accounts were fiction.][
Whereas Tavington is depicted as aristocratic but penniless, Tarleton came from a wealthy Liverpool merchant family. Tarleton did not die in battle or from impalement, as Tavington did in the film. Tarleton died on January 16, 1833 in Leintwardine, Shropshire, England, at the age of 78, nearly 50 years after the war ended. He outlived Col. Francis Marion who died in 1795, by 38 years. Before his death, Tarleton had achieved the military rank of General, equal to that held by the overall British Commanders during the American Revolution, and became a baronet and a member of the British Parliament. There he was a fierce defender of the African slave trade upon which his family fortune was based.][
The Patriot was criticized for misrepresenting atrocities during the Revolutionary War, including the killing of prisoners of war and wounded soldiers and burning a church filled with townsfolk. While atrocities occurred during the war, the most striking aspect of these British atrocities—the burning of a church full of townspeople--is thought to be borrowed from war crimes committed by the Nazis during World War II. Some reviewers noted that the scene of the deliberate burning of a church filled with unarmed colonial civilians had no factual basis and no parallel in the American or European 18th century wars. The New York Post film critic Jonathan Foreman was one of several focusing on this distortion in the film and wrote the following in an article at Salon.com:
"The most disturbing thing about The Patriot is not just that German director Roland Emmerich (director of Independence Day) and his screenwriter Robert Rodat (who was criticized for excluding British, Canadian (Juno Beach) and other Allied soldiers from his script for Saving Private Ryan) depicted British troops as committing savage atrocities, but that those atrocities bear such a close resemblance to war crimes carried out by German troops — particularly the SS in World War II. It's hard not to wonder if the filmmakers have some kind of subconscious agenda....They have made a film that will have the effect of inoculating audiences against the unique historical horror of Oradour — and implicitly rehabilitating the Nazis while making the British seem as evil as history's worst monsters....So it's no wonder that the British press sees this film as a kind of blood libel against the British people."
The Washington Post film critic Stephen Hunter, a historian of the era, said: "Any image of the American Revolution which represents you Brits as Nazis and us as gentle folk is almost certainly wrong. It was a very bitter war, a total war, and that is something that I am afraid has been lost to history....[T]he presence of the Loyalists (colonists who did not want to join the fight for independence from Britain) meant that the War of Independence was a conflict of complex loyalties." The historian Richard F. Snow, editor of American Heritage magazine, said of the church-burning scene: "Of course it never happened — if it had do you think Americans would have forgotten it? It could have kept us out of World War I."
Slate columnist Michael Lind criticized the identification of the leading character's actions with patriotism. Specifically, Lind stated that "this movie is deeply subversive patriotism. Indeed, patriotism is a concept that neither the screenwriter...nor the director...seems to understand". He further wrote that "the message of The Patriot is that country is an abstraction, family is everything. It should have been called The Family Man".
In contrast, historian Ben Rubin argues that because the American Revolution was a conflict that as often pitted neighbor against neighbor — Whigs (advocates of Revolution) against Tories (loyalists to Britain) — as it pitted nascent Americans against the British, many people stayed neutral until goaded into taking a stand in reaction to perceived atrocities. From this perspective, Benjamin Martin's joining of the militia becomes, according to commentator Jon Roland, a deep patriotism that "shows them being called up, not as an act of an official, but by private persons aware of a common threat...[reacting to a] militia duty to defend one another".
In the film, Mel Gibson's character asks, "Why should I trade one tyrant three thousand miles away for three thousand tyrants one mile away?" This quotation serves as a homage to the Massachusetts Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson who said this during the protests over British taxes that led to the war. He was referring to the colonial legislature.
Braveheart is a 1995 historical drama war film directed by and starring Mel Gibson. Gibson portrays William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England. The story is based on Blind Harry's epic poem The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace and was adapted for the screen by Randall Wallace.
The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards at the 68th Academy Awards and won five including the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director.
In 1280, King Edward "Longshanks" of England (Patrick McGoohan) invades and conquers Scotland following the death of Scotland's king who left no heir to the throne. Young William Wallace witnesses the treachery of Longshanks, survives the death of his father and brother, and is taken abroad to Rome by his Uncle Argyle (Brian Cox) where he is educated.
Years later, Longshanks grants his noblemen land and privileges in Scotland, including the right of the lord to have sex with a woman subject on her wedding night. When he returns home, Wallace (Mel Gibson) falls in love with his childhood sweetheart, Murron MacClannough (Catherine McCormack), and they marry in secret so that she does not have to spend a night in the bed of the English lord.
Wallace defends Murron from being raped by English soldiers. Murron is captured and publicly executed. In retribution, Wallace slaughters the English garrison. Wallace sends the occupying garrison at Lanark back to England. This enrages Longshanks, who confronts his son Edward about this: he then orders his son to stop Wallace by any means necessary. He also knows his son has a bisexual relationship with his wife, Isabella of France (Sophie Marceau).
Wallace rebels against the English, and as his legend spreads, hundreds of Scots from the surrounding clans join him. Wallace leads his army to victory at Stirling and then sacks the city of York, killing Longshank's nephew and sending his head back. Wallace seeks the assistance of Robert the Bruce (Angus Macfadyen), the son of nobleman Robert the Elder (Ian Bannen) and a contender for the Scottish crown. The Bruce is dominated by his father, who wishes to secure the throne for his son by submitting to the English.
Longshanks, worried by the threat of the rebellion, sends Isabella to try to negotiate with Wallace hoping that Wallace will kill her in order to draw the French king to declare war. Wallace refuses the bribe sent with Isabella by Longshanks, but after meeting him in person, Isabella becomes enamored with him. Meanwhile, Longshanks prepares an army to invade Scotland.
Warned of the coming invasion by Isabella, Wallace implores the Scottish nobility that immediate action is needed to counter the threat and to take back the country. Leading the English army himself, Longshanks confronts the Scots at the Battle of Falkirk where noblemen Lochlan and Mornay betray Wallace. The Scots lose the battle, Wallace is wounded, and Hamish's father dies after the battle. As he charges toward the departing Longshanks on horseback, Wallace is intercepted by one of the king's lancers, who turns out to be the Bruce. Remorseful, the Bruce gets Wallace to safety before the English can capture him. Wallace kills Mornay and Lochlan for their betrayal, avoids assassination attempts, and wages a protracted guerrilla war against the English.
The Bruce, intending to join Wallace and commit troops to the war, sets up a meeting with him in Edinburgh. However, Robert's father has conspired with other nobles to capture and hand over Wallace to the English. Learning of his treachery, the Bruce disowns his father. Following a tryst with Wallace, Isabella exacts revenge on the now terminally ill Longshanks by telling him she is pregnant with Wallace's child, intent on ending Longshank's line and ruling in his son's place.
In London, Wallace is brought before an English magistrate, tried for high treason, and condemned to public torture and beheading. Even whilst being hanged, drawn and quartered, Wallace refuses to beg for mercy and submit to the king. As cries for mercy come from the watching crowd, the magistrate offers him one final chance. Wallace instead shouts the word "Freedom!" Moments before being decapitated, Wallace sees a vision of Murron in the crowd smiling at him.
In 1314, the Bruce, now Scotland's king, leads a Scottish army before a ceremonial line of English troops on the fields of Bannockburn where he is to formally accept English rule. As he begins to ride toward the English, he stops and invokes Wallace's memory, imploring his men to fight with him as they did with Wallace. The Bruce then leads his army into battle against the stunned English, winning the Scots their freedom.
Gibson's production company, Icon Productions had difficulty raising enough money even if he were to star in the film. Warner Bros. was willing to fund the project on the condition that Gibson sign for another Lethal Weapon sequel, which he refused. Paramount Pictures only agreed to American and Canadian distribution of Braveheart after 20th Century Fox partnered for international rights.
While the crew spent six weeks shooting on location in Scotland, the major battle scenes were shot in the Republic of Ireland using members of the Irish Army Reserve as extras. To lower costs, Gibson had the same extras portray both armies. The opposing armies are made up of reservists, up to 1,600 in some scenes, who had been given permission to grow beards and swapped their drab uniforms for medieval garb.
According to Gibson, he was inspired by the big screen epics he had loved as a child, such as Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus and William Wyler's The Big Country.
The film was shot in the anamorphic format with Panavision C- and E-Series lenses.
Gibson toned down the film's battle scenes to avoid an NC-17 rating from the MPAA, with the final version being rated R for "brutal medieval warfare."
In addition to English being the film's primary language, French, Latin, and Scottish Gaelic are also spoken.
On its opening weekend, Braveheart grossed $9,938,276 in the United States and $75.6 million in its box office run in the U.S. and Canada. Worldwide, the film grossed $210,409,945 and was the thirteenth highest-grossing film of 1995.
Braveheart met with generally positive reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 81% with an average score of 7.1/10. The film's depiction of the Battle of Stirling Bridge was listed by CNN as one of the best battles in cinema history. In his review, Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 stars out of four, writing: "An action epic with the spirit of the Hollywood swordplay classics and the grungy ferocity of 'The Road Warrior'."
In a 2005 poll by British film magazine Empire, Braveheart was No. 1 on their list of "The Top 10 Worst Pictures to Win Best Picture Oscar". Scottish actor and comedian Billy Connolly claimed Braveheart was "a great piece of work".
In 1996, the year after the film was released, the annual three-day "Braveheart Conference" at Stirling Castle attracted fans of Braveheart, increasing the conference's attendance to 167,000 from 66,000 in the previous year. In the following year, research on visitors to the Stirling area indicated that 55% of the visitors had seen Braveheart. Of visitors from outside Scotland, 15% of those who saw Braveheart said it influenced their decision to visit the country. Of all visitors who saw Braveheart, 39% said the film influenced in part their decision to visit Stirling, and 19% said the film was one of the main reasons for their visit. In the same year, a tourism report said that the "Braveheart effect" earned Scotland ₤7 million to ₤15 million in tourist revenue, and the report led to various national organizations encouraging international film productions to take place in Scotland.
The film generated huge interest in Scotland and in Scottish history, not only around the world, but also in Scotland itself. Fans came from all over the world to see the places in Scotland where William Wallace fought, also to the places in Scotland and Ireland used as locations in the film. At a Braveheart Convention in 1997, held in Stirling the day after the Scottish Devolution vote and attended by 200 delegates from around the world, Braveheart author Randall Wallace, Seoras Wallace of the Wallace Clan, Scottish historian David Ross and Bláithín FitzGerald from Ireland gave lectures on various aspects of the film. Several of the actors also attended including James Robinson (Young William), Andrew Weir (Young Hamish), Julie Austin (the young bride) and Mhairi Calvey (Young Murron).
The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won five.
American Film Institute Lists
Lin Anderson, author of Braveheart: From Hollywood To Holyrood, credits the film with playing a significant role in affecting the Scottish political landscape in the mid to late 1990s.
In 1997, a 12-ton sandstone statue depicting Mel Gibson as William Wallace in Braveheart was placed in the car park of the Wallace Monument near Stirling, Scotland. The statue, which was the work of Tom Church, a monumental mason from Brechin, included the word "Braveheart" on Wallace's shield. The installation became the cause of much controversy; one local resident stated that it was wrong to "desecrate the main memorial to Wallace with a lump of crap." In 1998 the face on the statue was vandalised by someone wielding a hammer. After repairs were made, the statue was encased in a cage every night to prevent further vandalism. This only incited more calls for the statue to be removed as it then appeared that the Gibson/Wallace figure was imprisoned. The statue was described as "among the most loathed pieces of public art in Scotland." In 2008, the statue was returned to its sculptor to make room for a new visitor centre being built at the foot of the Wallace Monument.
Randall Wallace, the writer of the screenplay, has acknowledged Blind Harry's 15th century epic poem The Acts and Deeds of Sir William Wallace, Knight of Elderslie as a major inspiration for the film. In defending his script, Randall Wallace has said, "Is Blind Harry true? I don't know. I know that it spoke to my heart and that's what matters to me, that it spoke to my heart." Although some incidents which are not historically accurate are taken from Blind Harry (e.g. the hanging of Scots nobles at the start) there are important aspects of the plot which are based neither on history nor Blind Harry (e.g. Wallace's affair with Princess Isabelle, although this may have been inspired by the play The Wallace: a triumph in five acts by Sydney Goodsir Smith).
Elizabeth Ewan describes Braveheart as a film which "almost totally sacrifices historical accuracy for epic adventure". The "brave heart" refers in Scottish history to that of Robert the Bruce, and an attribution by William Edmondstoune Aytoun, in his poem Heart of Bruce, to Sir James the Good: "Pass thee first, thou dauntless heart, As thou wert wont of yore!", prior to Douglas's demise at the Battle of Teba in Andalusia.
Sharon Krossa notes that the film contains numerous historical errors, beginning with the wearing of belted plaid by Wallace and his men. In that period "no Scots ... wore belted plaids (let alone kilts of any kind)." Moreover, when Highlanders finally did begin wearing the belted plaid, it was not "in the rather bizarre style depicted in the film." She compares the inaccuracy to "a film about Colonial America showing the colonial men wearing 20th century business suits, but with the jackets worn back-to-front instead of the right way around." "The events aren't accurate, the dates aren't accurate, the characters aren't accurate, the names aren't accurate, the clothes aren't accurate—in short, just about nothing is accurate." The belted plaid (feileadh mór) léine was not introduced until the 16th century. Peter Traquair has referred to Wallace's "farcical representation as a wild and hairy highlander painted with woad (1,000 years too late) running amok in a tartan kilt (500 years too early)."
In 2009, the film was second on a list of "most historically inaccurate movies" in The Times. In the 2007 humorous non-fictional historiography An Utterly Impartial History of Britain, author John O'Farrell notes that Braveheart could not have been more historically inaccurate, even if a "Plasticine dog" had been inserted in the film and the title changed to William Wallace and Gromit.
Randall Wallace is very vocal about defending his script from historians who have dismissed the film as a Hollywood perversion of actual events.][ In the DVD audio commentary of Braveheart, Mel Gibson acknowledges many of the historical inaccuracies][ but defends his choices as director, noting that the way events were portrayed in the film was much more "cinematically compelling" than the historical fact or conventional mythos.
In the film, Edward Longshanks, King of England, is shown invoking the right of Ius Primae Noctis, supposedly allowing the Lord of a medieval estate to take the virginity of his serf's maiden daughters. Critical medieval scholarship regards this supposed right as a myth, as one recent specialist has put it, "the simple reason why we are dealing with a myth here rests in the surprising fact that practically all writers who make any such claims have never been able or willing to cite any trustworthy source, if they have any."
As John Shelton Lawrence and Robert Jewett write, "Because [William] Wallace is one of Scotland's most important national heroes and because he lived in the very distant past, much that is believed about him is probably the stuff of legend. But there is a factual strand that historians agree to", summarized from Scots scholar Matt Ewart:
A.E. Christa Canitz writes about the historical William Wallace further: "[He] was a younger son of the Scottish gentry, usually accompanied by his own chaplain, well-educated, and eventually, having been appointed Guardian of the Kingdom of Scotland, engaged in diplomatic correspondence with the Hanseatic cities of Lübeck and Hamburg". She finds that in Braveheart, "any hint of his descent from the lowland gentry (i.e., the lesser nobility) is erased, and he is presented as an economically and politically marginalized Highlander and 'a farmer'—as one with the common peasant, and with a strong spiritual connection to the land which he is destined to liberate."
Colin McArthur writes that Braveheart "constructs Wallace as a kind of modern, nationalist guerilla leader in a period half a millenium before the appearance of nationalism on the historical stage as a concept under which disparate classes and interests might be mobilised within a nation state." Writing about Bravehearts "omissions of verified historical facts", McArthur notes that Wallace made "overtures to Edward I seeking less severe treatment after his defeat at Falkirk", as well as "the well-documented fact of Wallace's having resorted to conscription and his willingness to hang those who refused to serve." Canitz posits that depicting "such lack of class solidarity" as the conscriptions and related hangings "would contaminate the movie's image of Wallace as the morally irreproachable primus inter pares among his peasant fighters."
In the film, Isabella of France is shown having an affair with Wallace prior to the Battle of Falkirk. She later tells Edward I that she is pregnant, implying that her son, Edward III, was a product of the affair. In actuality, Isabella was three years old and living in France at the time, was not married to Edward II until he was already king and Edward III was born seven years after Wallace died.
Robert the Bruce did change sides between the Scots loyalists and the English more than once in the earlier stages of the Wars of Scottish Independence, but he never betrayed Wallace directly, and it is unlikely that he fought on the English side at the Battle of Falkirk. Later, the Battle of Bannockburn was not a spontaneous battle; he had already been fighting a guerrilla campaign against the English for eight years.
The actual Edward I was ruthless and temperamental, but the film exaggerates his character for effect. Edward enjoyed poetry and harp music, was a devoted and loving husband to his wife Eleanor of Castile, and as a religious man he gave generously to charity. The film's scene where he scoffs cynically at Isabella for distributing gold to the poor after Wallace refuses it as a bribe would have been unlikely. Edward died on campaign and not in bed at his home.
The depiction of the Prince of Wales (the future Edward II of England) as an effeminate homosexual drew accusations of homophobia against Gibson.
The actual Edward II, who fathered five children by two different women, was rumoured to have had sexual affairs with men, including Piers Gaveston who lived on into the reign of Edward II. The Prince's male lover Phillip was loosely based on Piers Gaveston.
Gibson defended his depiction of Prince Edward as weak and ineffectual, saying,
In response to Longshank's defenestration of the Prince's male lover Phillip, Gibson replied that "The fact that King Edward throws this character out a window has nothing to do with him being gay ... He's terrible to his son, to everybody." Gibson asserted that the reason that Longshanks kills his son's lover is because the king is a "psychopath". Gibson expressed bewilderment that some filmgoers would laugh at this murder.
The English media accused the film of harbouring Anglophobia. The London-based The Economist called it "xenophobic" and John Sutherland writing in the London-based The Guardian stated that: "Braveheart gave full rein to a toxic Anglophobia". According to The Times, MacArthur said "the political effects are truly pernicious. It’s a xenophobic film." The Independent has noted, "The Braveheart phenomenon, a Hollywood-inspired rise in Scottish nationalism, has been linked to a rise in anti-English prejudice". Contemporary British writer and commentator Douglas Murray has described the film as "strangely racist and anti-English".
The soundtrack for Braveheart was composed and conducted by James Horner, and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. The soundtrack, comprising 77 minutes of background music taken from significant scenes in the film, was noticeably successful, and album co-producer Simon Rhodes produced a follow-up soundtrack in 1997 titled More Music from Braveheart. International and French versions of the soundtrack have also been released.][ Several writers have noted the main theme song's resemblance to an earlier theme song for the 1991 anime series 3x3 Eyes, composed by Kaoru Wada.
Irish band Clannad wrote a theme tune for the film, entitled 'Croí Cróga' (meaning 'braveheart'). However, the track was not used in the soundtrack, but was released by Clannad on the album 'Lore'.
Album length: 68:53
Apocalypto is a 2006 American epic adventure film directed and produced by Mel Gibson. It was written by Gibson and Farhad Safinia. Set in Peten, Guatemala, during the declining period of the Maya civilization, Apocalypto depicts the journey of a Mesoamerican tribesman who must escape human sacrifice and rescue his family after the capture and destruction of his village.
The film features a cast of Mayas, and some other people of Native American descent. As the dialogue is in the Yucatec Maya language, it is accompanied by English subtitles.
Although the film was a financial success, its depictions of indigenous cultures sparked controversy.
While hunting tapir in the Mesoamerican jungle, Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), his father Flint Sky (Morris Birdyellowhead), and their fellow tribesmen encounter a procession of refugees fleeing warfare. The group's leader explains that their lands were ravaged, and asks for permission to pass through the jungle. When Jaguar Paw and his tribesmen return home, Flint Sky tells his son not to let the refugees' fear infect him.
The next morning, after Jaguar Paw wakes from a nightmare involving the refugee leader, he sees warriors entering the village and setting the huts on fire. The raiders, led by Zero Wolf (Raoul Trujillo), attack and subdue the villagers. Jaguar Paw slips out with his pregnant wife Seven (Dalia Hernández) and his little son Turtle's Run (Carlos Emilio Báez), lowering them by vine into a deep vertical cave, tying the vine off so they could climb out later. Jaguar Paw kills a raider and returns to help the village. He is eventually subdued and a raider named Middle Eye (Gerardo Taracena), whom Jaguar Paw almost killed, slits his father Flint Sky's throat while he is forced to watch. Before the raiders leave with their prisoners, Snake Ink, one of the raider captains, notices Jaguar Paw staring toward the cave. Suspicious of the tied-off vine hanging into the cave, he cuts it, trapping Seven and Turtles Run. Jaguar Paw and the other captives are led off into the jungle.
A short distance from the village, they join another group of raiders who have captured the refugees Jaguar Paw met the day before. Later, Cocoa Leaf, a wounded captive tied to the same pole as Jaguar Paw, nearly tumbles off a cliff, but Jaguar Paw and the others pull him back up with incredible effort. Though Middle Eye, who is guarding them, is impressed by this show of brute power, he kills Cocoa Leaf by cutting him loose and pushing him off the cliff.
The raiding party advance toward a Mayan city, encountering razed forests and failed maize crops, along with villages decimated by plague. A little girl dying of plague prophesies that a solar eclipse and says that a man running with a jaguar will bring the raiders to those who will scratch out the earth and end their world. In the city's outskirts, where the prisoners come upon slaves working in lime quarries, the female captives are sold as slaves while the males are escorted to the top of a step pyramid. The high priest sacrifices several captives, including Jaguar Paw's friend Curl Nose (Amílcar Ramírez), by cutting out their beating hearts before beheading them.
When Jaguar Paw is about to be sacrificed, a solar eclipse occurs. The high priest looks at the emperor and the two share a knowing smile while the people below panic at the phenomenon. The priest declares the god Kukulkan is satisfied with the sacrifices. He asks Kukulkan to let light return to the world and the eclipse passes. The crowd cheers and the priest orders the remaining captives to be taken away and "disposed of".
Zero Wolf takes the captives to a ball court, where they are released in pairs and forced to run within the space, to offer target practice for his men. They are promised freedom if they reach the end of the length of the court. But Zero Wolf's son, Cut Rock (Ricardo Díaz Mendoza), is sent to the end of the court to "finish" any survivors. The raiders attack the runners with spears, arrows and large stones. The first pair to run are Jaguar Paw's last living friends, Smoke Frog and Blunted (Jonathan Brewer). Smoke Frog is struck by a heavy stone, and finished off by Cut Rock, while Blunted is impaled by a spear.
Next up are Jaguar Paw and the refugee leader. Although they almost make it, the refugee leader is shot through the head with an arrow. Jaguar Paw is shot in the waist with another arrow but breaks off the arrowhead. As Cut Rock approaches to finish Jaguar Paw, Blunted trips him, buying time for Jaguar Paw. Cut Rock gets up and kills Blunted, then turns to finish off Jaguar Paw. He slices through Cut Rock's neck with the broken-off arrowhead, pulls the arrow from his own back and escapes to the jungle.
As Cut Rock bleeds, Zero Wolf eases him into the next life. Jaguar Paw runs through a withered maize field and an open mass grave of sacrificial victims before finally reaching the jungle. The enraged Zero Wolf and eight of his men pursue the former prisoner into the jungle and toward Jaguar Paw's home. Eventually Jaguar Paw climbs a tree. The pursuers move past him, but a black jaguar in the tree goes after him. The raiders see Jaguar Paw and move to intercept him, but the jaguar kills one of the raiders. They gather to kill the jaguar and ponder this fulfillment of part of the girl's prophecy.
During the pursuit, the raider Drunkards Four is killed by a venomous snake. After running all night, Jaguar Paw is caught between a high waterfall and the raiders, and jumps into the water. Surviving the falls, he shouts that the raiders are now in his homelands.
After listening to Jaguar Paw's challenge, Zero Wolf says they must pursue him over the waterfall, but Snake Ink suggests climbing down around the side. Zero Wolf stabs Snake Ink for his impudence. Zero Wolf orders his men to jump down the falls with him. While most make it alive, one is killed. Swimming to shore, the remainder fall into pursuit again. Jaguar Paw escapes a pool of black quicksand and, camouflaged in black mud, resolves to become the hunter rather than the hunted. Protected by the mud, he disables some of his pursuers by throwing a bees' nest into their midst.
Jaguar Paw prepares poison darts, dipping them in poison from a tree toad. He kills a raider with a dart. Grabbing the raider's war club, Jaguar Paw attacks and kills Middle Eye. As heavy rain falls, Jaguar Paw rushes to save his family, still trapped in a flooding cave. Zero Wolf shoots him with an arrow and advances to finish him off. He blunders into Jaguar Paw's tapir-hunting trap set in the opening scene; he is impaled and killed.
Following Zero Wolf's death, the two remaining raiders chase Jaguar Paw out of the undergrowth to a beach. There they see what are conquistador ships anchored off the coast and strangely dressed men making their way ashore. Jaguar Paw flees. He returns to save his wife and son from the flooded pit. Seven has just given birth to a second son. As the reunited family look out from the forest toward the Spanish ships, Seven wonders if they should go to the men. Jaguar Paw says they should return to the forest in a new beginning.
Screenwriter and co-producer Farhad Safinia first met Mel Gibson while working as an assistant during the post-production of The Passion of the Christ. Eventually, Gibson and Safinia found time to discuss "their mutual love of movies and what excites them about moviemaking".
Gibson said they wanted to "shake up the stale action-adventure genre", which he felt was dominated by CGI, stock stories and shallow characters and to create a footchase that would "feel like a car chase that just keeps turning the screws."
Gibson and Safinia were also interested in portraying and exploring an ancient culture as it existed before the arrival of the Europeans. Considering both the Aztecs and the Maya, they eventually chose the Maya for their high sophistication and their eventual decline.
The two researched ancient Maya history, reading both creation and destruction myths, including sacred texts such as the Popul Vuh. In the audio commentary of the film's first DVD release, Safinia states that the old shaman's story (played by Espiridion Acosta Cache, a modern-day Maya storyteller) was modified from an authentic Mesoamerican tale. that was re-translated into by the young Maya professor Hilario Chi Canul, a professor of Maya, translated it into the Yucatec Maya language for the film. He also served as a dialogue coach during production. As they researched the script, Safinia and Gibson traveled to Guatemala, Costa Rica and the Yucatán peninsula to scout filming locations and visit Maya ruins.
Striving for a degree of historical accuracy, the filmmakers employed a consultant, Richard D. Hansen, a specialist in the Maya and assistant professor of archaeology at Idaho State University. As director of the Mirador Basin Project, he works to preserve a large swath of the Guatemalan rain forest and its Maya ruins. Gibson has said of Hansen's involvement: "Richard's enthusiasm for what he does is infectious. He was able to reassure us and make us feel secure that what we were writing had some authenticity as well as imagination."
Other scholars of Mesoamerican history criticized the film for what they said were numerous inaccuracies. See further coverage on the film's questionable historical accuracy and representation of the Maya below under "Controversy".
Gibson decided that all the dialogue would be in the Yucatec Maya language. Gibson explains: "I think hearing a different language allows the audience to completely suspend their own reality and get drawn into the world of the film. And more importantly, this also puts the emphasis on the cinematic visuals, which are a kind of universal language of the heart."
The production team consisted of a large group of make-up artists and costume designers who worked to recreate the Maya look for the large cast. Led by Aldo Signoretti, the make-up artists daily applied the required tattoos, scarification, and earlobe extensions to all of the on-screen actors. According to advisor Richard D. Hansen, the choices in body make-up were based on both artistic license and fact: "I spent hours and hours going through the pottery and the images looking for tattoos. The scarification and tattooing was all researched, the inlaid jade teeth are in there, the ear spools are in there. There is a little doohickey that comes down from the ear through the nose into the septum – that was entirely their artistic innovation." An example of attention to detail is the left arm tattoo of Seven, Jaguar Paw's wife, which is a horizontal band with two dots above – the Mayan symbol for the number seven.
Simon Atherton, an English armorer and weapon-maker who worked with Gibson on Braveheart, was hired to research and provide reconstructions of Maya weapons. Atherton also has a cameo as the cross-bearing Franciscan friar who appears on a Spanish ship at the end of the film.
Mel Gibson wanted Apocalypto to feature sets with buildings rather than relying on computer-generated images. Most of the step pyramids seen at the Maya city were models designed by Thomas E. Sanders. Sanders explained his approach: "We wanted to set up the Mayan world, but we were not trying to do a documentary. Visually, we wanted to go for what would have the most impact. Just as on Braveheart, you are treading the line of history and cinematography. Our job is to do a beautiful movie."
However, while many of the architectural details of Maya cities are correct, they are blended from different locations and eras, a decision Farhad Safinia said was made for aesthetic reasons. While Apocalypto is set during the post-classic period of Maya civilization, the central pyramid of the film comes from the classic period, which ended in A.D. 900. The temples are in the shape of those of Tikal in the central lowlands classic style but decorated with the Puuc style elements of the northwest Yucatan centuries later. Richard D. Hansen comments, "There was nothing in the post-classic period that would match the size and majesty of that pyramid in the film. But Gibson ... was trying to depict opulence, wealth, consumption of resources." The mural in the arched walkway combined elements from the Maya codices, the Bonampak murals (over 700 years earlier than the film's setting), and the San Bartolo murals (some 1500 years earlier than the film's setting).][
Gibson filmed Apocalypto mainly in Catemaco, San Andrés Tuxtla and Paso de Ovejas in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The waterfall scene was filmed at Salto de Eyipantla, located in San Andrés Tuxtla. Other filming by second-unit crews took place in El Petén, Guatemala. The film was originally slated for an August 4, 2006, release, but Touchstone Pictures delayed the release date to December 8, 2006, due to heavy rains and two hurricanes interfering with filming in Mexico. Principal photography ended in July 2006.
Apocalypto was shot on high-definition digital video, using the Panavision Genesis camera. During filming, Gibson and cinematographer Dean Semler employed the use of Spydercam, a suspended camera system allowing shooting from atop. This equipment was used in a scene in which Jaguar Paw leaps off a waterfall.
A number of animals are featured in Apocalypto****, including a Baird's tapir and a black jaguar. Animatronics or puppets were employed for the scenes injurious to animals.
The soundtrack to Apocalypto was composed by James Horner in his third collaboration with director Mel Gibson. The soundtrack lacks a traditional orchestral score and instead features a large array of exotic instruments and vocals by Pakistani singer Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
While Mel Gibson financed the film through his Icon Productions, Disney signed on to distribute Apocalypto for a fee in certain markets. The publicity for the film started with a December 2005 teaser trailer that was filmed before the start of principal photography and before Rudy Youngblood was cast as Jaguar Paw. As a joke, Gibson inserted a subliminal cameo of the bearded director in a plaid shirt with a cigarette hanging from his mouth posing next to a group of dust-covered Maya. A clean-shaven Gibson also filmed a Mayan-language segment for the introduction of the 2006 Academy Awards in which he declined to host the ceremony. On September 23, 2006, Gibson pre-screened the unfinished film to two predominantly Native American audiences in the US state of Oklahoma, at the Riverwind Casino in Goldsby, owned by the Chickasaw Nation, and at Cameron University in Lawton. He also did a pre-screening in Austin, Texas, on September 24 in conjunction with one of the film's stars, Rudy Youngblood. In Los Angeles, Gibson screened Apocalypto and participated in a Q&A session for Latin Business Association and for members of the Maya community. Due to an enthusiastic response from exhibitors, Disney opened the film on more than 2,500 screens in the United States.
According to Mel Gibson, the Mayan setting of Apocalypto is "merely the backdrop" for a more universal story of exploring "civilizations and what undermines them". The background to the events depicted is the collapse of the Maya civilization, which the filmmakers researched before writing. According to archaeologist Michael D. Coe,
"Maya civilization in the Central Area reached its full glory in the early eighth century, but it must have contained the seeds of its own destruction, for in the century and a half that followed, all its magnificent cities had fallen into decline and ultimately suffered abandonment. This was surely one of the most profound social and demographic catastrophes of all human history."
Coe lists "environmental collapse" as one of the leading causes of the fall of the great empire, alongside "endemic warfare", "overpopulation", and "drought". "There is mounting evidence for massive deforestation and erosion throughout the Central Area. The Maya apocalypse, for such it was, surely had ecological roots," explains Coe.
The corrosive forces of corruption are illustrated in specific scenes throughout the film. Excessive consumption can be seen in the extravagant lifestyle of the upper-class Maya, their vast wealth contrasted with the sickly, the extremely poor, and the enslaved. Environmental degradation is portrayed both in the exploitation of natural resources, such as the over-mining and farming of the land, but also through the treatment of people, families and entire tribes as resources to be harvested and sold to slavery. Political corruption is seen in the leaders' manipulation, the human sacrifice on a large scale, and the slave trade. The film shows slaves being forced to create the lime stucco cement that covered the temples, an act that some historians consider a major factor in the Maya decline. One calculation estimates that it would take five tons of jungle forestry to make one ton of quicklime. Historical consultant Richard D. Hansen explains, "I found one pyramid in El Mirador that would have required nearly 650 hectares (1,600 acres) of every single available tree just to cover one building with lime stucco... Epic construction was happening... creating devastation on a huge scale."
The filmmakers intended this depiction of the Maya collapse to have relevance for contemporary society. The problems "faced by the Maya are extraordinarily similar to those faced today by our own civilization," co-writer Safinia stated during production, "especially when it comes to widespread environmental degradation, excessive consumption and political corruption". Gibson has stated that the film is an attempt at illustrating the parallels between a great fallen empire of the past and the great empires of today, saying "People think that modern man is so enlightened, but we're susceptible to the same forces – and we are also capable of the same heroism and transcendence." The film serves as a cultural critique – in Hansen's words, a "social statement" – sending the message that it is never a mistake to question our own assumptions about morality. The main purpose of the movie has a lot to do with a quote from Will Durant at the very beginning of the movie "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within", the fighting between tribes, and the arrival of the Conquistadors aboard the ships at the end of the movie.
However, Gibson has also stated that he wanted the film to be hopeful rather than entirely negative. Gibson has defined the title as "a new beginning or an unveiling – a revelation"; he says "Everything has a beginning and an end, and all civilizations have operated like that". The Greek word (, apokaluptō) is in fact a verb meaning "I uncover", "disclose", or "reveal". Gibson has also said a theme of the film is the exploration of primal fears.
The film was released in the United States on December 8, 2006, to generally positive reviews from film critics, and holds a 65% rating on the aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 194 reviews. The sites consensus reads "Apocalypto is a brilliantly filmed, if mercilessly bloody, examination of a once great civilization." Richard Roeper and guest critic Aisha Tyler on the television show Ebert & Roeper gave it "two thumbs up" rating. Michael Medved gave Apocalypto four stars (out of four) calling the film "an adrenaline-drenched chase movie" and "a visceral visual experience."
The film was released less than six months after Gibson's 2006 DUI incident, where the director made antisemitic comments to police after being stopped on suspicion of drunk driving; the incident garnered Gibson much negative publicity and magnified concerns some had over alleged antisemitism in his previous film, The Passion of the Christ. Several key film critics alluded to the incident in their reviews of Apocalypto: In his positive review, The New York Times A. O. Scott commented: "say what you will about him – about his problem with booze or his problem with Jews – he is a serious filmmaker." The Boston Globe review came to a similar conclusion, noting that "Gibson may be a lunatic, but he's our lunatic, and while I wouldn't wish him behind the wheel of a car after happy hour or at a B'nai Brith function anytime, behind a camera is another matter." In a negative review, Salon.com noted "People are curious about this movie because of what might be called extra-textual reasons, because its director is an erratic and charismatic Hollywood figure who would have totally marginalized himself by now if he didn't possess a crude gift for crafting violent pop entertainment."
Apocalypto gained some passionate champions in the Hollywood community. Actor Robert Duvall called it "maybe the best movie I've seen in 25 years". Director Quentin Tarantino said, "I think it's a masterpiece. It was perhaps the best film of that year. I think it was the best artistic film of that year." Actor Edward James Olmos said, "I was totally caught off guard. It's arguably the best movie I've seen in years. I was blown away." In 2013, director Spike Lee put the film on his list of all-time essential films.
The film registered a wider number of viewers than Perfume and Rocky Balboa. It even displaced memorable Mexican premieres such as Titanic and Poseidon. According to polls performed by the newspaper Reforma, 80% of polled Mexicans labeled the film as "very good" or "good".
For his role as producer and director of the film, Mel Gibson was given the Trustee Award by the First Americans in the Arts organization. Gibson was also awarded the Latino Business Association's Chairman's Visionary Award for his work on Apocalypto on November 2, 2006, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California. At the ceremony, Gibson said that the film was a "badge of honor for the Latino community." Gibson also stated that Apocalypto would help dismiss the notion that "history only began with Europeans".
William Booth of The Washington Post wrote that the film depicts the Maya as a "super-cruel, psycho-sadistic society on the skids, a ghoulscape engaged in widespread slavery, reckless sewage treatment and bad rave dancing, with a real lust for human blood." Gibson compared the savagery in the film to the Bush administration, telling British film magazine Hotdog, "The fear-mongering we depict in the film reminds me of President Bush and his guys." Just prior to its release, Apocalypto was criticized by activists in Guatemala, including Lucio Yaxon, who charged that the trailer depicts Maya as savages. In her review of the film, anthropologist Traci Ardren wrote that Apocalypto was biased because "no mention is made of the achievements in science and art, the profound spirituality and connection to agricultural cycles, or the engineering feats of Maya cities". Apocalypto also sparked a strong condemnation from art history professor Julia Guernsey, a Mesoamerican specialist, who said, "I think it's despicable. It's offensive to Maya people. It's offensive to those of us who try to teach cultural sensitivity and alternative world views that might not match our own 21st century Western ones but are nonetheless valid [...]. I think Mel Gibson is the worst thing that's happened to indigenous populations since the arrival of the Spanish. I say that in jest, but what is scary is that people will leave the movie thinking that because the characters were speaking Mayan there is an air of authenticity [...]".
Other writers felt that Gibson's film was more accurate about the Maya, since it depicts the era of decline and division that followed the civilization's peak and Classic Maya collapse. One Mexican reporter, Juan E. Pardinas, wrote that "this historical interpretation bears some resemblances with reality [...]. Mel Gibson's characters are more similar to the Mayas of the Bonampak's murals than the ones that appear in the Mexican school textbooks." "The first researchers tried to make a distinction between the 'peaceful' Maya and the 'brutal' cultures of central Mexico", David Stuart wrote in a 2003 article. "They even tried to say human sacrifice was rare among the Maya." But in carvings and mural paintings, Stuart said: "we have now found more and greater similarities between the Aztecs and Mayas."
Richard D. Hansen, who was a historical consultant on the film, stated that the impact the film will have on Maya archaeology will be beneficial: "It is a wonderful opportunity to focus world attention on the ancient Maya and to realize the role they played in world history." However, in an interview with the Washington Post, Hansen stated the film "give[s] the feeling they're a sadistic lot", and said, "I'm a little apprehensive about how the contemporary Maya will take it."
Apocalypto has been criticized for portraying a type of human sacrifice which was more typical of the Aztecs than of the Maya. Archaeologist Lisa Lucero said, "the classic Maya really didn't go in for mass sacrifice. That was the Aztecs." Anthropology professor Karl Taube argued that, "We know the Aztecs did that level of killing. Their accounts speak of 20,000." According to the film's technical advisor, the film was meant to describe the post-classic period of the Maya when fiercer influences like the Toltecs and Aztecs arrived. According to Hansen, "We know warfare was going on. The Postclassic center of Tulum is a walled city; these sites had to be in defensive positions. There was tremendous Aztec influence by this time. The Aztecs were clearly ruthless in their conquest and pursuit of sacrificial victims, a practice that spilled over into some of the Maya areas." Anthropology professor Stephen Houston made the criticism that sacrifice victims were more likely to be royalty and elites rather than common forest dwellers, as shown in Apocalypto. In contrast, Associate Professor William R. Fowler states that for major favors, worshippers "offered the gods human sacrifice, usually children, slaves, or prisoners of war". Anthropology professor Karl Taube criticized the film's apparent depiction of widespread slavery, saying, "We have no evidence of large numbers of slaves." Another disputed scene, when Jaguar Paw and the rest of captives are used as target practice, was acknowledged by the filmmakers to be invented as a plot device for igniting the chase sequence. Some anthropologists objected to the presence of a huge pit filled with rotting corpses near the fields of the Maya. Hansen states that this is "conjecture", saying that "all [Gibson was] trying to do there is express the horror of it".
The Washington Post reported that the famous Bonampak murals were digitally altered to show a warrior holding a dripping human heart, which is not present in the original.
According to the DVD commentary track by Mel Gibson and Farhad Safinia, the ending of the film was meant to depict the first contact between the Spaniards and Mayas that took place in 1502 during the fourth voyage of Christopher Columbus.
The thematic meaning of the arrival of the Europeans is a subject of disagreement. Traci Ardren wrote that the Spanish arrivals were Christian missionaries and that the film had a "blatantly colonial message that the Mayas needed saving because they were 'rotten at the core'". According to Ardren, the Gibson film "replays, in glorious big-budget technicolor, an offensive and racist notion that Maya people were brutal to one another long before the arrival of Europeans and thus they deserved, in fact they needed, rescue. This same idea was used for 500 years to justify the subjugation of Maya people". On the other hand, David van Biema questions whether the Spaniards are portrayed as saviors of the Mayas, since they are depicted ominously and Jaguar Paw decides to return to the woods. This view is supported by the reference of the Oracle Girl to those who would "Scratch out the earth. Scratch you out. And end your world." However, recalling the opening quote to the film ("A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within"), professors David Stuart and Stephen Houston have written the implication is that Postclassic Mayans had become so corrupt that they were "a civilization...that deserves to die."
In January 2007, it was reported that filmmaker Mel Gibson, his production company Icon Productions, and the film's distributor Buena Vista (Disney) were being sued by Mexican filmmaker Juan Mora Catlett, who claimed that Apocalypto used scenes and plotlines from his 1991 film Retorno a Aztlán. Later it was reported that the Mexican director did not intend to pursue anything legally, his only concern being that his own work be given due recognition.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age is a 2007 sequel to the 1998 film Elizabeth, directed by Shekhar Kapur and produced by Universal Pictures and Working Title Films. It stars Cate Blanchett in the title role and is loosely based on events during the latter part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The screenplay was written by William Nicholson and Michael Hirst. The music score was composed by A. R. Rahman and Craig Armstrong.
It was filmed at Shepperton Studios and various locations around the United Kingdom with an estimated production budget of 50 to 60 million USD. Guy Hendrix Dyas was the film's production designer and co-visual effects supervisor and the costumes were created by Alexandra Byrne.
The film premiered on 9 September 2007 at the Toronto International Film Festival. It opened in wide release in the United States and Canada on October 12, 2007. It premiered in London on 23 October 2007 and was on general release from 2 November 2007 throughout the rest of the UK and Republic of Ireland. It opened in Australia and New Zealand on 15 November 2007.
The film won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and Blanchett received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
In 1558, King Philip II of Spain's second wife, Queen Mary I of England, died. They had wed in July 1554, a year after Mary's accession to the English throne, but the English Parliament had refused to grant him much real power as co-monarch of England. On Mary's death he had then tried unsuccessfully to persuade her sister and successor, Elizabeth I, to marry him, but she would not agree. Phillip decides to take revenge and launches the Spanish Armada, with the blessing of the Pope, to attack England, Protestantism, and Elizabeth herself. Sir Walter Raleigh, whom the Queen loves, marries a ward of her court after he learns she is carrying his child. Elizabeth I has both of them arrested.
In 1585, Roman Catholic Spain ruled by King Philip II (Jordi Molla) is the most powerful country in Europe. Seeing Protestant England as a threat, and in retaliation for English piracy of Spanish ships, Philip intends to make war. He plans to take over England, and make his daughter Isabella the Queen of England in Elizabeth's place.
In England, Elizabeth I (Cate Blanchett) is being pressured to marry by her advisor, Sir Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush). She is aging and, with no child, the throne will pass to her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton). The Queen is presented with portraits of appropriate suitors, but Elizabeth refuses to marry, particularly to the Archduke Charles of Austria (Christian Brassington), who has become infatuated with the Queen.
Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) is presented at Elizabeth's court, having returned from the New World, and offers her potatoes, tobacco, two Native Americans, and gold from Spanish ships that he claims were "unable to continue their journey". The Spanish ambassador protests. Elizabeth commands that the Native Americans be treated well, and refuses to accept the gold.
Elizabeth is attracted to Raleigh, enthralled by his tales of exploration, and asks Elizabeth Throckmorton (Abbie Cornish) (nicknamed Bess), her most favoured lady-in-waiting, to observe him. Bess also finds Raleigh attractive and secretly begins an affair with him. Elizabeth meanwhile seeks guidance from her astrologer, Dr. John Dee (David Threlfall) who predicts that two empires will go to war. However, he cannot predict which will triumph over the other, leaving Elizabeth to ponder her and England's fate!
Jesuits in London conspire with Philip to assassinate Elizabeth and replace her with Mary, in what Philip calls "The English Enterprise," and which is known to history as the Babington Plot. Walsingham discovers the plot. From her imprisonment Mary sends secret correspondence to the Jesuits, who recruit Anthony Babington (Eddie Redmayne) to assassinate Elizabeth.
Walsingham continues to warn Elizabeth of Spain's rising power and of the Catholic plots against her. However she, unlike her predecessor and sister Mary I, refuses to force her people (half of whom remain loyal to Catholicism) to share her beliefs. Even then, those conspiring against Elizabeth are being hunted and murdered, including Bess's cousin, whom Bess had failed to protect. After learning of her cousin's torture and death at Walsingham's hands, Bess turns to Raleigh for comfort. The barely hidden closeness of Bess and Raleigh causes tension between them, testing her desire to keep him in England and increasing his desire to go back to the New World.
Walsingham's brother, a Papist, knows of the plot against Elizabeth. It is revealed that Walsingham had known of the plot all along, intercepting letters, and his brother is jailed. He reveals the plot to Elizabeth, who angrily confronts the Spanish diplomats. The Spanish ambassador feigns ignorance and accuses Elizabeth of receiving Spanish gold from pirates and insinuating a sexual relationship with Raleigh. A sword fight nearly ensues between the queen's male escorts and the Spanish contingent. She throws the Spaniards out of court. Meanwhile, Philip is cutting the forests of Spain to build the Spanish Armada to invade England.
Mary, Queen of Scots, writes letters condoning the plot. Babington storms into a cathedral where Elizabeth is praying and points a gun at her. Elizabeth opens her arms, seemingly fearless. He pulls the trigger, and the gun fires. At first Walsingham is unable to discern why the gun was harmless, though it is later revealed by the traitor in the torture chamber that there was no bullet in the gun.
Elizabeth learns of Mary's involvement, and Walsingham insists she be executed to quell any possible revolt. Elizabeth is reluctant, but nevertheless agrees. Mary is tried for high treason. She is beheaded, ascending the block in a blood-red dress, red being the Catholic liturgical colour for martyrs. Walsingham sees that this was part of the Jesuit's plan all-along. Philip had never intended Mary to become queen, but since the Pope and other Catholic leaders regarded Mary as the true Queen of England, Philip uses Mary's death to obtain papal approval for war. The "murder" of the last legitimate Catholic in the line of succession gives Philip the excuse he needs to invade England and place his daughter on the throne as a puppet monarch.
In England, Raleigh asks to leave for the New World, which Elizabeth forbids, instead knighting him and making him Captain of the Royal Guard. Bess discovers she is pregnant with Raleigh's child and, after telling him the news, she pleads with him to leave. He chooses not to, and the couple marry in secret. At the same time, Elizabeth awakes during a dream as the wedding is taking place. She confronts Bess a few weeks later, who confesses that she is indeed pregnant with Raleigh's child, and that Raleigh is her husband. An enraged Elizabeth berates Bess, slapping her and beating her, reminding her that she cannot marry without royal consent. Feeling betrayed, the queen banishes Bess from court and has Raleigh imprisoned for the crime of seducing a ward of the Queen.
Walsingham arranges for his brother, William, who is eleven years Francis' junior, to be released and taken to France on the condition that he must never return to England.
The Armada begins its approach up the English Channel, and Elizabeth forgives Bess and sets Raleigh free to join Sir Francis Drake in the battle. Elizabeth gives her Speech to the Troops at Tilbury seated on a war horse wearing full plate armour. The Spanish ships and army vastly outnumber England's, but at the last moment, a major storm blows the Armada towards the beaches, endangering their formation and ships. They drop anchor, and the Armada becomes a sitting duck for English fire ships. Elizabeth, back at her coastal headquarters, walks out to the cliffs and watches the Spanish Armada sink in flames. Philip's plan is shattered.
Elizabeth visits Walsingham on his deathbed, telling her old friend to rest. She then visits Raleigh and Bess and blesses their child. Elizabeth seemingly triumphs personally through her ordeal, again resigned to her role as the Virgin Queen and mother to the English people.
This representation of a historical period is heavily fictionalised for the purposes of entertainment. Its lead Cate Blanchett has been reported as saying: "It's terrifying that we are growing up with this very illiterate bunch of children, who are somehow being taught that film is fact, when in fact it's invention". Some of the simpler fictions are:
Although Cate Blanchett's performance was highly praised, the film received generally mixed reviews from U.S. critics. As of November 24, 2007 on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 34% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 145 reviews. On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 45 out of 100, based on 32 reviews.
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, gave the film 1 star out of 5, remarking on the film's historical revisionism and melodrama. He writes: "Where Kapur's first Elizabeth was cool, cerebral, fascinatingly concerned with complex plotting, the new movie is pitched at the level of a Jean Plaidy romantic novel".
Roger Ebert gave the film 2½ stars out of 4, saying 'there are scenes where the costumes are so sumptuous, the sets so vast, the music so insistent, that we lose sight of the humans behind the dazzle of the production'. Ebert did, however, praise many of the actors' performances, particularly that of Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I. He said 'That Blanchett could appear in the same Toronto Film Festival playing Elizabeth and Bob Dylan, both splendidly, is a wonder of acting'. Blanchett portrayed Bob Dylan in the film I'm Not There and was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in both movies.
Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune gave the film 3 stars out of 4, writing '... as a pseudo-historical fable, a romantic triangle and a blood-and-thunder melodrama, the film can't be faulted' and 'This isn't historical fabrication, it's mutilation. But for all its lapses, this is probably the liveliest, most vibrant Elizabethan production since Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet.' while Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe said, "Historians might demand a little more history from Elizabeth: The Golden Age. But soap opera loyalists could hardly ask for more soap."
Michael Gove, speaking on BBC Two's Newsnight Review, said: 'It tells the story of England's past in a way which someone who's familiar with the Whig tradition of history would find, as I did, completely sympathetic. It's amazing to see a film made now that is so patriotic ... One of the striking things about this film is that it's almost a historical anomaly. I can't think of a historical period film in which England and the English have been depicted heroically for the last forty or fifty years. You almost have to go back to Laurence Olivier's Shakespeare's Henry V in which you actually have an English king and English armies portrayed heroically'.
The film depicts an important episode in the violent struggle between the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation that polarised European politics. Several critics claimed the film was "anti-Catholic", and it followed a traditional English view of their own history. A British-based priest, Father Peter Malone, declared the film to be jingoistic in his review at the (Cathport website).
In the U.S. the National Catholic Register film critic Steven D. Greydanus compared it to The Da Vinci Code, and wrote: "The climax, a weakly staged destruction of the Spanish Armada, is a crescendo of church-bashing imagery: rosaries floating amid burning flotsam, inverted crucifixes sinking to the bottom of the ocean, the rows of ominous berobed clerics slinking away in defeat. Pound for pound, minute for minute, Elizabeth: The Golden Age could possibly contain more sustained church-bashing than any other film I can think of". Greydanus asked: "How is it possible that this orgy of anti-Catholicism has been all but ignored by most critics?"
Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger said: "This movie equates Catholicism with some sort of horror-movie cult, with scary close-ups of chanting monks and glinting crucifixes". Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune complained of what he saw as "ugly anti-Catholic imagery", and Bob Bloom of the Lafayette Journal & Courier agreed that anti-Catholicism was one of the film's "sore points".
Monsignor Mark Langham, Administrator of Westminster Cathedral, was criticised by some Roman Catholics for allowing scenes to be shot there; although praising the film as a 'must see', he suggested that 'it does appear to perpetuate the myth of “killer priests”'.
Historian Franco Cardini of the University of Florence, alleged 'the film formed part of a "concerted attack on Catholicism, the Holy See and Papism" by an alliance of atheists and "apocalyptic Christians"'. 'Why put out this perverse anti-Catholic propaganda today, just at the moment when we are trying desperately to revive our Western identity in the face of the Islamic threat, presumed or real?'
Director Shekhar Kapur rejected this criticism of his film, saying: “It is actually very, very deeply non-anti-Catholic. It is anti extreme forms of religion. At that time the church in Spain, or Philip had said that they were going to turn the whole world into a very pure form of Catholicism. So it's not anti-Catholic. It's anti an interpretation of the word of God that is singular, as against what Elizabeth's was, which was to look upon her faith as concomitant'. 'The fact is that the Pope ordered her execution; he said that anybody who executes or assassinates Elizabeth would find a beautiful place in the kingdom of heaven. Where else have you heard these words about Salman Khan or Salman Rushdie? That's why I made this film, so this idea of a rift between Catholicism and Protestants does not arise. My interpretation of Elizabeth is an interpretation of greater tolerance [than] Philip, which is absolutely true. It's completely true that she had this kind of feminine energy. It's a conflict between Philip, who had no ability to encompass diversity or contradiction, and Elizabeth who had the feminine ability to do that'.
Kapur extended this pluralist defence to his own approach: 'I would describe all history as fiction and interpretation ... [A]sk any Catholic and they'll give you a totally different aspect of history ... History has always been an interpretation ... I do believe that civilizations that don't learn from history are civilizations that are doomed to make the same mistakes again and again, which is why this film starts with the idea of fundamentalism against tolerance. It's not Catholic against Protestant; it's a very fundamental form of Catholicism. It was the time of the Spanish Inquisition and against a woman whose half of her population was Protestant, half was Catholic. And there were enough bigots in her Protestant Parliament to say, “Just kill them all”, and she was constantly saying no. She was constantly on the side of tolerance. So you interpret history to tell the story that is relevant to us now'.
The film was released on Region 1 on DVD and HD DVD February 5, 2008. It was released on Blu-ray in 2009 and bundled with Elizabeth.
At the 80th Academy Awards Alexandra Byrne won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design . Cate Blanchett was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film, becoming the first female actor to receive another Academy Award nomination for the reprisal of the same role. Cate Blanchett was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for her performance in the film, and the Critic's Choice Award for Best Actress in a leading role, she was also nominated for a SAG Award. The film won two Satellite Awards for Best Production Design for Guy Hendrix Dyas and Best Costume Design for Alexandra Byrne. Guy Hendrix Dyas received a nomination from the Art Directors Guild for Best Production Design in a Period Film, and Alexandra Bryne a nomination from the Costume Designers Guild for Best Costume in a Period Film. The film was also nominated for four BAFTA awards including Actress in a Leading Role, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design and Best Makeup.
At the 11th Pyongyang International Film Festival held on September 2008, one of the awards for special screening were conferred upon the film.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age grossed $6.1 million in 2,001 theatres during its opening weekend in the United States and Canada, ranking #6 at the box office. In the United Kingdom and Ireland the film entered at #4 and earned £1.3 million ($2.7 million) on its opening weekend. As of February 2009[ref] the worldwide total was $74.2 million, including $16.4 million in the U.S. and Canada and $57.8 million elsewhere.
In 1998, the preceding film, Elizabeth, opened in 9 theatres and grossed $275,131. Its widest release in the United States and Canada was in 624 theatres., and its largest weekend gross throughout its run in theatres was $3.4 million in 516 theatres, ranking #9 at the box office. The 1998 film Elizabeth went on to gross $30 million in the United States and Canada, and a total of $82.1 million worldwide.
Troy is a 2004 American epic war film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and starring Brad Pitt as Achilles, with Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, and Diane Kruger. Written by David Benioff, and loosely based on Homer's Iliad, the film is about a feud within the Greek camp during the siege of the city of Troy and how the feud must be resolved before the Greeks can triumph. The conflict centers on the hero Achilles and how his decision on whether to assist the Greeks will ultimately decide the outcome of the war. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Costume Design.
During a peace negotiation between Troy and Sparta, the Trojan Paris elopes with Helen, the wife of Spartan King Menelaus. As a result, Menelaus recruits his brother King Agamemnon of Mycenae—and through him, many of the great heroes of Greece—for an assault on Troy. Agamemnon welcomes this pretext, as he has long contemplated a war against the Trojans.
Achilles, hoping for personal fame and glory, is among the heroes to accompany Agamemnon.
Upon arrival, Achilles and the Myrmidons kill many Trojans and desecrate the temple of Apollo. Briseis, a member of the Trojan royal family, is captured. Though Achilles claims Briseis as his prize, Agamemnon takes her for himself, thus opening the feud which becomes the central conflict. Angered by the injustice of losing his prize, Achilles refuses to fight in support of the Greeks. In the ensuing battle, the Greeks suffer serious losses, including the death of Menelaus, and they are unable to make progress against the Trojans and their hero Hector.
At the Greek camp, Achilles saves Briseis from Agamemnon's men when they try to rape her. She tries to kill Achilles, but realizes that she has feelings for him and they fall in love. Achilles prepares his men to leave, angering Patroclus. That night, the Trojans launch a surprise attack on the Greek encampment that lasts until morning. The attack goes favorably for the Trojans until Achilles appears leading his army of Myrmidons. Hector finally faces off against Achilles and slits his throat, but upon removing his helmet Hector discovers a mortally wounded Patroclus, disguised as Achilles. Shocked, both armies agree to end fighting for the day.
Eudorus tells Achilles of his cousin's death. Furious, Achilles attacks him and harms Briseis when she tries to stop him. Hector realizes that Achilles will seek revenge, and begins making preparations to save his loved ones. He shows Andromache a secret path out of the city, asking her to use it if the city falls.
The next day, Achilles approaches the gates of Troy alone and challenges Hector. The duel appears evenly matched, but Hector is ultimately slain and dragged from the back of Achilles' chariot, shocking the Trojans. That night King Priam (Peter O'Toole) sneaks into the Greek camp and asks Achilles to return Hector's body. Achilles grants his request and breaks down saying "My brother, we will meet again in the afterlife." swearing a truce for them to mourn, and lets Briseis return with Priam. He apologizes to Eudorus and tells him to take the Myrmidons home.
Troy mourns Hector's death while King Agamemnon fumes that he cannot attack while the Trojans are vulnerable, even though they still can't breach their walls. Realizing the mad king would see them all killed before he gives up his ambition, Odysseus devises a plan to infiltrate the city. The Trojans discover that the Greeks have departed, leaving a wooden horse at their camp. Priam trusts his priests that the horse is an offering to Poseidon and a gift, despite the misgivings of Paris and Glaucus. Assuming victory, the Trojans take the horse into the city and celebrate. A Trojan scout finds the Greek ships hidden in a cove near Troy, but is killed before he can spread the news. A band of Greeks led by Achilles and Odysseus come out of the horse at night, opening the gates to the city allowing the main army to enter. The Greeks commence the Sack of Troy, massacring the people and looting. The Trojan army leads a desperate defense of the royal palace but falls to the Greeks.
While Troy is burned, Andromache helps Helen and many others escape from Troy through the secret passage Hector showed her. Paris gives Aeneas the Sword of Troy. After helping the survivors off, he heads back into the city to join the defense but abandons them after hearing Briseis calling him. Odysseus kills Glaucus. Agamemnon kills Priam, and, drunk on his victory, is killed by Briseis with a concealed knife. Achilles saves Briseis but is shot in his heel and several more times by Paris with his bow. Dying, Achilles urges Briseis to escape from the city with Paris. As he dies, Achilles removes all but the first arrow from his body, the soldiers finding him with only a single arrow through his heel. Funeral rituals are performed for him in the ruins of Troy the next day. The film ends with a speech from Odysseus, "If they ever tell my story, let them say I walked with giants. Men rise and fall like the winter wheat, but these names will never die. Let them say I lived in the time of Hector, tamer of horses. Let them say I lived in the time of Achilles."
Greeks members, advisers and servants (Mycenae and Sparta)
Kings and Warriors of other Greek states (e.g. Ithaca, Thessaly, etc.)
The city of Troy was built in the Mediterranean island of Malta at Fort Ricasoli from April to June 2003. Other important scenes were shot in Mellieħa, a small town in the north of Malta, and on the small island of Comino. The outer walls of Troy were built and filmed in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Film production was disrupted for a period of time after Hurricane Marty affected filming areas.
Composer Gabriel Yared originally worked on the score for Troy for over a year, having been hired by the director, Wolfgang Petersen.
Yared wrote and recorded his score and Tanja Carovska provided vocals on various portions of the music, as she later would on composer James Horner's version of the soundtrack. However, after having screened the film with an early incomplete version of the score, the reactions at test screenings were against it and in less than a day Yared was off the project without being given a chance to fix or change his music, while Warner Bros was already looking for a replacement. According to Yared, his score was removed due to a complaint by the screening audience that the score was too "old-fashioned".
The replacement score was written by composer James Horner in about four weeks. He used Carovska's vocals again, and also included traditional Eastern Mediterranean music and brass instruments. Drums are conspicuous in the most dramatic scenes; most notably, in the duel between Achilles and Hector. Horner also collaborated with American singer/songwriter Josh Groban and lyricist Cynthia Weil to write an original song for the film's end credits. The product of this collaboration, "Remember" was performed by Groban with additional vocals by Tanja Carovska. The song is available on the film's original soundtrack.
A commentator, Alex Ross, claims that large portions of the score were essentially plagiarized from the pieces of which they are reminiscent.
Around the time of the film's release in theaters, Gabriel Yared briefly made portions of his rejected score available on his personal website, which was later removed at the request of Warner Brothers. Bootleg versions exist on the Internet. Yared's score has since gained much attention from the fans of film music. Several petitions were made requesting the release of Yared's score either on a limited edition CD or as a bonus feature or secondary audio track on the film's DVD. Those requests however, have been denied by Warner Bros.
Troy: Director's Cut was screened at the 57th Berlin International Film Festival on February 17, 2007, and received a limited release in Germany in April 2007. Warner Home Video reportedly spent more than $1 million for the director's cut, which includes "at least 1,000 new cuts" or almost 30 minutes extra footage (with a new running time of 196 minutes). The DVD was released on September 18, 2007 in the US. The score of the film was changed dramatically, with many of the female vocals being cut. An addition to the music is the use of Danny Elfman's theme for Planet of the Apes during the pivotal fight between Hector and Achilles in front of the Gates of Troy.
Various shots were recut and extended. For instance, the battle scenes were extended, showing much more of Ajax's bloody rampage on the Trojans during the initial attack by the Greek Army. Perhaps most significant was the sacking of Troy, barely present in the theatrical cut, but shown fully here. Characters were given more time to develop, specifically Priam and Odysseus, the latter being given a humorous introduction scene. Lastly, bookend scenes were added: the beginning being a soldier's dog finding its dead master, and the end including a sequence where the few surviving Trojans escape to Mount Ida. In one of the commentary sequences, the film's writer, David Benioff, said that when it came to deciding whether to follow The Iliad or to do what was best for the film, they always decided with what was best for the film.
When the film was completed, total production costs were approximately $175,000,000. This made Troy one of the most expensive films produced in modern cinema. It was screened out of competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.
Troy screenings have earned US$133,378,256 in the United States.
Troy made more than 73% of its revenues outside the U.S. Eventually, Troy made over US$497 million worldwide, placing it in the #60 spot of top box office hits of all time.
Troy met mixed reactions by reviewers. Rotten Tomatoes gave it an average approval rating of 54% from a base of 222 reviews, while Yahoo! Movies gave it a critic rating of "B-" based on 15 reviews. Roger Ebert, who disliked what he saw as an unfaithful adaptation of the Iliad, gave it two stars out of four. Ebert claimed that Troy "sidesteps the existence of the Greek gods, turns its heroes into action movie clichés and demonstrates that we're getting tired of computer-generated armies."
2005 ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards
2005 Academy Awards
2005 Japanese Academy Prize
2005 MTV Movie Awards
2005 Motion Picture Sound Editors (Golden Reel Award)
2005 Teen Choice Awards
British Columbia i/ /, also commonly referred to by its initials BC or B.C., (French: Colombie-Britannique, C.-B.) is the westernmost province of Canada. In 1871, it became the sixth province of Canada. British Columbia is also a component of the Pacific Northwest, along with the U.S. states of Oregon and Washington. The province's name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858, reflecting its origins as the British remainder of the Columbia District of the Hudson's Bay Company. Its Latin motto is Splendor sine occasu ("Splendour without Diminishment").
The capital of British Columbia is Victoria, the 15th largest metropolitan region in Canada, named for the Queen that created the Colony of British Columbia. The largest city is Vancouver, the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada, the largest in Western Canada, and the second largest in the Pacific Northwest. In 2012, British Columbia had an estimated population of 4,622,573 (about two and a half million of whom were in Greater Vancouver). The province is currently governed by the BC Liberal Party, led by Premier Christy Clark, who became leader as a result of the party election on February 26, 2011 and who led her party to an election victory on May 14, 2013.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age is a 2007 sequel to the 1998 film Elizabeth, directed by Shekhar Kapur and produced by Universal Pictures and Working Title Films. It stars Cate Blanchett in the title role and is loosely based on events during the latter part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The screenplay was written by William Nicholson and Michael Hirst. The music score was composed by A. R. Rahman and Craig Armstrong.
It was filmed at Shepperton Studios and various locations around the United Kingdom with an estimated production budget of 50 to 60 million USD. Guy Hendrix Dyas was the film's production designer and co-visual effects supervisor and the costumes were created by Alexandra Byrne.
The culture of Japan has evolved greatly over the millennia, from the country's prehistoric Jōmon period, to its contemporary hybrid culture, which combines influences from Asia, Europe, and North America. The inhabitants of Japan experienced a long period of relative isolation from the outside world during the Tokugawa shogunate, until the arrival of "The Black Ships" and the Meiji period. Alongside the United Kingdom and United States, Japan is considered a cultural superpower.
Japanese is the official and primary language of Japan. Japanese is relatively small but has a lexically distinct pitch-accent system. Early Japanese is known largely on the basis of its state in the 8th century, when the three major works of Old Japanese were compiled. The earliest attestation of the Japanese language is in a Chinese document from 252 AD.
The culture of Japan has evolved greatly over the millennia, from the country's prehistoric Jōmon period, to its contemporary hybrid culture, which combines influences from Asia, Europe, and North America. The inhabitants of Japan experienced a long period of relative isolation from the outside world during the Tokugawa shogunate, until the arrival of "The Black Ships" and the Meiji period. Alongside the United Kingdom and United States, Japan is considered a cultural superpower.
Japanese is the official and primary language of Japan. Japanese is relatively small but has a lexically distinct pitch-accent system. Early Japanese is known largely on the basis of its state in the 8th century, when the three major works of Old Japanese were compiled. The earliest attestation of the Japanese language is in a Chinese document from 252 AD. Braveheart
An epic film is an epic genre that emphasizes human drama on a grand scale. Epics are more ambitious in scope than other film genres, and their ambitious nature helps to differentiate them from similar genres such as the period piece or adventure film. Epic historical films often take a historical or imagined event, or a mythic, legendary, or heroic figure and add an extravagant, spectacular setting and lavish costumes, accompanied by a sweeping musical score, and an ensemble cast of bankable stars, making them among the most expensive of films to produce. Some of the most common subjects of epics are royalty, superheroes, great military leaders, or leading personalities or figures from various periods in world history. Epics tend to focus on events that will affect the lives of many people, such as cataclysmic events, natural disasters, war, or political upheaval.
Epic films are expensive and lavish productions because they generally use on-location filming, authentic period costumes, action scenes on a massive scale and large casts of characters. Biographical films are often less lavish versions of this genre. Geisha