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40 out of 48 people found the following review useful:
Not historical, mildly entertaining, 4 June 2001
Author: (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Raleigh, NC
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
WILDLY historically inaccurate, with some dialogue that will no doubt bring chuckles, this little mini-series still manages to be entertaining. Whether that is due to the acting and action or the goofs made by the producers remains to the individual viewer. What's wrong with this little movie? Let's start with the Huns and their king, Attila. The Huns were a Turko-Mongol race, short, swarthy, and usually with a somewhat bowlegged stance that came from fighting, riding, eating, and even sleeping on horseback. Attila himself was described by many contemporary historical sources as short, squat, a very thin wisp of a beard on his chin, and a flat nose. He was also middle-aged at the time of his great conquests. This army and king as represented in the movie are all basically Caucasians. People, there ARE Turkish/Asiatic actors and extras out there for hire .... and all the women swooning over Gerard Butler in these comments need to balance this with historical fact. The comment that only a "good looking" person could have united/led so many is very amusing - apparently no one has taken a close look at Hitler, Mussolinni, Stalin, or Winston Churchill for that matter. Also, the costumes of these Huns look like Avars, not Hunnish culture. Let's take a look at the Romans - the Empire of the fifth century was VERY different from the empire of the great caesars ... yet the uniforms and civilian dress of the Rome shown here looks no later than the time of Septimius Severus. Sorry, but the horse-hair helmets and leather skirts of the military tribunes were long past - the Romans of this time were wearing breaches and what was left of the legions was highly barbarized and calvary-emphasized. The togas of the civilians had become much more coarse and simple by that time, also. The Empire was basically Christianized by then, too - yet this miniseries depicts paganism as rampant. Another problem was that there just weren't enough extras to make the battles scenes believable. The Huns formed "hordes" - and these were not patrol-sized groups of a hundred horseman riding around - historians show these armies numbered nominally around 60,000. And the main battle - somewhere near modern Chalons or Troyes - the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains - had the combatants numbering somewhere between 300,000 to half a million. Showing this battle to be between a couple of hundred men was anticlimatic in the extreme. Good camerawork could have avoided this ... see BRAVEHEART, FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, SPARTACUS, or CLEOPATRA. Although many may have felt some of the violence was too much in this film, the reality was FAR worse - Attila was mild to those who submitted, but the mass slaughter the Huns committed in battle was rivaled in pre-20th century only by the Mongols of Genghiz Khan. Some cities in Italy were so destroyed that the next generation couldn't accurately find where they existed. Having said all this, I liked the film as a piece of entertainment and taking certain ludicrous errors into consideration, recommend it as a nice diversion. The DVD is nicely authored in 1:77:1 and has some decent extras.
33 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
Good introduction to history, 26 January 2005
Author: labucher (email@example.com) from Madison, WI
While this movie may not have been historically accurate, for me it
gave me an introduction to a character I have always found fascinating.
And what else is the internet good for but looking up a history to find
out the facts that the movie was based on.
Because it was a made-for-TV film, and USA at best, you could expect a watered-down version of the main character. I was impressed with all the acting in this movie. Surprised to find Tim Curry but happy to see Powers Boothe, who I respect as an powerful actor. He didn't really have the chance to live up to his potential in this film.
I am taking offense to some of the comments made about Gerard Butler. Yes he is a hunk. But what first drew me to him was his ACTING PRESENCE in other films like Reign of Fire and Timeline. Atilla may not be the springboard for greatness but I believe his talents will soon be showcased in more powerful films.
I viewed Atilla because I wanted to see more of Gerard Butler THE ACTOR and I was not disappointed. I also got to learn more about an historical figure who always intrigued me. Do not peg me as a star struck, fanatical female. I learned long ago that just because someone has looks does not necessarily mean they have talent. Gerard Butler belongs in a class with Jude Law and Russell Crowe.
I would recommend this film for the entertainment value it is and if you want to learn more about Atilla, go to the internet historical sites and get your fill.
19 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
"The Romans have done great things but their time is past. What they have done, we can do. We should rule the world!" - Attila, 6 February 2005
Author: Cat Squire from Glasgow, Scotland, UK
After witnessing the destruction of his village and the death of his
father, Attila successfully escapes with his life and is picked up by
his uncle, who is king of a group of Huns. Attila grows up to be a
strong warrior who has his mind set on invading and, consequently,
taking over Rome. The deceitful Roman General Flavius Aetius goes to
Attila's village to seek help from the Huns and suggests to Attila's
uncle that Attila is to be taken to Rome with Aetius when the battle is
over. Aetius is impressed with Attila and takes him under his wing. But
when Bleda, Attila's brother, murders their uncle, Attila returns to
his village and fights his brother for the throne, and then sets his
sights on Rome.
This movie was really enjoyable, although some of the acting was rather stilted. The top actors were Powers Boothe as Flavius Aetius, the excellent Scotsman Gerard Butler in the role of Attila the Hun and, although not having very much to do in the film, only in it for 2 scenes, was Tim Curry who is, as always, terrific and amusing.
This is not a film full of gore, but it survives without it. The action scenes are good and liven the film up a bit but it does not have an excess of gore like other historical battle films.
Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended. 8/10 from me! As always, your faithful Scotsman, Cat §quire
23 out of 29 people found the following review useful:
A Romanced Story of Attila the Hun in a Great Epic, 11 August 2003
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
"Attila" is a romanced story of Attila the Hun (Gerard Butler), since
his childhood, when he lost his parents until his death. The screenplay
shows his respect to the great Roman strategist Flavius Aetius (Powers
Boothe, with his usual face of 'bad guy'), his loves, the gossips,
intrigues and betrayals in Rome, all of these evolved by magic and
mysticism. Attila certainly was one of the most evil man along the
story, but the screenplay shows him as a great leader, strategist and
lover. If you decide to forget the story and attain to the plot itself,
you will see and enjoy a great epic movie. The underrated Gerard Butler
has another magnificent performance. My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Atila, o Huno" ("Attila, the Hun")
21 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
A great romp!, 15 May 2005
Author: dmcmillan01 from United States
Who cares if Attila isn't accurate historically? Who cares if Powers
Boothe's acting is stilted. Who cares if the costumes are "out of
period?" The fabulous scenery is worth the watch. And so is watching
that fantastic Scottish rogue, Gerard Butler, playing a powerful
Attila. Wish that the real Attila was as sexy, fair, and fabulous as
Gerard. The ladies are also good to look at, and do a credible job of
acting. The young lady who plays the "witch" is unusual and quite
interesting in her part.
The difference between life in Rome and life where Attila lives is striking. From cool marble hallways and communal baths to ragged huts and river baths, it makes you realize just how advanced Rome was in those days.
Gerard Butler, however, was the strength of the series. He has that rare quality that makes it difficult for most people to take their eyes off him. His eyes are chameleon's, changing from penetrating, to loving, to laughing, and back again. Sometimes brown, sometimes hazel, sometimes a stunning green, they appear to change with his moods.
This is an actor to watch. His star is definitely rising.
29 out of 45 people found the following review useful:
We want more of Gerard Butler, 15 February 2001
Author: Maria Varecka
I watched "Attila" quite by accident and I was so glad that I did because I didn't know Gerard Butler existed. His performance as Attila was captivating. The entire production was immensely entertaining and I watched it as many times as it was on the USA network. I had heard of Attila, the Hun, but was not very interested to learn about him, but this movie changed that because he became alive for me.
Needless to say, we want more of Gerard Butler!! I wanted to find out more about him on the web, but there was next to nothing. I would love to see a bio. ....And those eyes!!!!!
16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
May not be accurate but still good!, 28 March 2005
Author: paristeri from United States
Admittedly, this movie may not be accurate, however it did encourage me to look up the actual history..Meanwhile, it was my first introduction to the actor Gerry Butler, for which I am very thankful..I look forward to watching other movies he makes..This movie as well as the subsequent ones, ie Phantom of the Opera, Timeline, Dear Frankie, even Dracula 2000, I think show how much this guy puts into his roles.. I feel he shows real depth to whatever character he portrays- heh- he made me sympathetic to Attila the Hun! Actually I read somewhere that they still celebrate Attila's Birthday in Hungary.. If one puts the story in a historical perspective I believe one could make an argument that our History might have been different if he had prevailed.. The Roman Catholic influence was not all roses..
12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Good but definitely TV flavour, 17 February 2005
Author: cassandr-3 from Canada
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In a nutshell, I really liked this miniseries; Gerry Butler kicks
serious ass in every way which I'll get into later, but first I have to
tear apart the bits that bugged me or made me die laughing from
Okay, is some of the acting in this movie mind-numbingly cheesy and bad or what??? I almost had to skip right past all the scenes where it's just Aetius and the emperor, even if it meant missing the exposition.
Powers Boothe: his acting improved somewhat when he shared scenes with Gerry - they had a really good on-screen rapport - but otherwise, - nuh-uh! The way he drops the poisoned wine goblet, it's so unnatural and stiff looking, I snert every time I see it!
Simmone Jade McKinnon: I appreciate that doing accents is difficult - but, ADR anyone?
- N'Kara's peasant girl outfit when we first see her - every other woman in the village is wearing layers of furs and burlap and sh*t, yet our girl is wearing the swimsuit issue "Hun summer gown", revealing most or all of her thighs and cleavage. And don't get me started on that 80's wave hair with the roots showing.
- how much money did they spend on this? And they couldn't afford real silk velvet for Alice Krige? It's so obviously polyester stretch velvet. Which, um, wasn't invented yet in 400 A.D. (Well, at least they said A.D. and not C.E.).
- Honoria's sexy blue bath outfit - yeah, it's nice, it looks hot, but uhhh, corsets weren't invented yet either!
- That Ismay/Titanic guy's Victorian neckerchief under the Roman robes - what the ...?
- the "N-Kara almost gets killed but Attila spares the hottie" scene - this makes me laugh so hard every time.
HUN DUDE: "But her sword was the bloodiest..."
ATTILA: "And she's the sexiest piece of a$$ this stinking village has ever seen. Don't you know every other woman in the village is wearing layers of furs and burlap and sh*t? So what's your POINT!!!! Shut UP!!!! Don't you know I'm still a virgin? Geez!"
- the "other guy dies drinking the poisoned cup meant for Aetius and Attila" scene - watch this one over a few times. The goofy double take the guy does when he sees Aetius after having just had a sip - cracks me up so badly. This is right before the "Aetius flings the poisoned cup away from him dramatically having just escaped death" moment (see above Powers Boothe).
Okay, now for the good stuff.
Gerard Butler - I like the look - I didn't think I would, as I saw his Dracula audition first with this look and thought it was way out there, but it's perfect for this movie.
I love that he did most/all of his stunts.
As always with Gerry, tons of range of emotions and believable reality to his performance. The guy was obviously born to be an actor - he's such a pro with only his own experience to draw on.
Of course the beefcake shots rock my socks off no end, but I won't bore you with the details, you know 'em already. If I had to pick a favourite, it would be the scene of him practising archery on horseback shirtless. Yum.
I also really liked Pauline Lynch. The look she gives him after teasing him about the red-haired woman is so poignant. I feel like her. 'Here's this amazing guy that will never notice me, the crazy toadstool'.
I really liked Steven Berkoff too - nice subtlety to his acting - lots conveyed with just a look or a nod.
It doesn't bother me that this is totally historically inaccurate (except for the costumes) - it's a fun ride. I like all the horseback riding and sword-waving, and I thought they did an excellent job filming the horseback duel between Attila and Bleda. The soundtrack has some nice touches too.
Definitely worth buying the DVD!
8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
History more interesting, 8 May 2006
Author: arabianights-books from Australia
Presumably the writer of this mini-series had to read the history of
Attila and Aetius before he could change it into the pap presented. You
would think it would have been easier to leave as written, and
certainly more interesting.
Just to give one example. After the battle and the death of the Roman ally King Theodoric, this movie has Theordoric's son insisting of leaving immediately to fight his brothers for the throne, and thus depriving the Roman general Aetius of the strength to decisively destroy Attila. Thus a mildly interesting and fairly predictable plot as far as it goes. The historical reality is that Aetius advised the son to leave to take care of his brothers as he was insisting on revenging his father against Attila. Aetius preferred not to destroy the Huns as his and Rome's whole strategy at that time had been to play groups such as the Huns off against other barbarian tribes that had entered or threatened the Empire. To my mind a more interesting development.
Of course it might have taken slightly more effort to get this idea across to viewers but the effort would have been a far more memorial series which the poor sets and acting could never achieve. While I can understand budget limitations that make good sets and hordes of extras difficult I cannot understand the almost perverse need to change history even when the original is much more interesting.
An amusing watch just the same but disappointing that for the cost of another writer it could not have been so much better.
10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Hollywood, once again, steps into their own tangled web..., 6 April 2003
There was just too much left out or made up on this one. The acting was fairly descent given the stunted script, but history went right out the window. Example: When the King died, Attila allowed his brother to rule for 13 years, before he came to power. You need drama, agreed, tension, absolutely, but there's an old adage that goes, 'Truth is stranger than fiction.' It seems they couldn't decide how much of a hero or villain to portray the main character as in the show. I never really cared about Attila and his personal problems but rather was more interested in the doings of the diabolical Roman. They should have called it 'Flavius' since he had all the good lines and was portrayed by an aggressive Powers Boothe. He took over every scene. I liked Reg Rogers as the quirky Emperor Valentinian as well. Typically, the battle scenes depicting the Roman army devolved into a massive one on one brawl, rather than the disciplined tactics that gave Rome their empire. I was not pleased at the end of the four hours - they killed you with commercials - and regretted the time wasted.
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