|Index||6 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In recent years there has been two dramas to depict roman life, this
and the much more glamorous Rome. There are positives and negatives to
both. This is much better in terms of the mechanics of the events that
happened. In Rebellion we get to see why the Jews rebelled, how the
general's family was important and the motivations behind all the
character's decisions. In Rome i would expect, the characters would say
"there's a rebellion in Judea... bye." In Ancient, we also get to see
some much more interesting characters that i didn't know about, not
only the emperors, but Alaric King of the Goths, Tiberius Graccus and
the rival emperors of Constantine. So at this point Ancient is miles
But now Rome claws back. This gives a much better picture of Roman society. There is no mention of what the common people of Rome were feeling at the time of these events, where i'm sure Rome would address that. Also it is much better cast, written and acted. Aside from Michael Sheen (nero) there is no stand out actor in Ancient. Whereas, all of Rome's characters are superb. All perfectly cast and how the writers truly knew how to portray these people. Anient, is kind of lacking in that department (trevor in Eastendersas Antony?) So which is better? It depends on what you're looking for. if you are looking for a "soap" of Rome where society is portrayed, and where there is plenty of X rated action go for Rome. If you're more interested in what happened in a brief general view that doesn't really care if there script came from a 5 year old, go for Ancient. And that's what I'm interested in.
Earlier I had seen ROME series, so my mind was not ready to see this series as I though it will be more or less alike. But this series is great and mind blowing. You feel that these events are happening at the real place. Also the war tactics looks very real. I highly recommend this series for those who are not aware of ROME history and are interested to know it. In 6 hours you will be taken to the journey from the story of Caesar till the fall of Rome. It is the story of Love, Betrayal, Greed, Sacrifice, War and what not. Costumes and location makes us feel as if we are in that age. Nice acting by the actors. Special thing about this series (1) it depicts real characters and real events, (2) It is based on accounts of writers from the ancient world and (3) has been written with the advice of modern historians.
My wife and I bought the DVD because we couldn't find anything for this price and we had to spend a voucher. But the series was over our expectations! Hollywood made a lot of historically unauthentic movies with a lot of monumental scenes,and unrealistic characters (e.g. Gladiator) so I was a bit suspicious, but the good old BBC quality can't make you disappointed. The sets and costumes are perfect however the storyline and the characters are in focus. Battle scenes were smartly made to keep the budget lower. I was glad to see Gracchus, the Jewish rebels and Constantine besides Nero and Caesar. The quality is very even throughout the episodes, I found only Rebellion a bit worse. The theme itself (based upon Flavius's book) was not too popular with screenwriters and the fact that they made an attempt at it is OK, though the plot of this episode doesn't really have a point as a drama. And nor Flavius, nor the zealots, neither Titus, nor Vespasianus were real heroes. The writers couldn't really grasp their personalities. After all, it's a must see for every lover of historical movies!
Having by now seen all six episodes of the series on DVD I have formed an idea of this series which I saw simultaneously with HBO's Rome. The other production was more lavish, richer, more violent and much more sexually explicit. It also followed the fortunes of totally fictitious yet plausible characters along a much more restricted time-span, that is from the battle of Alesia till the assassination of Caesar(season 1).Sexually voracious and incredibly scheming women were interwoven with battle scenes, senatorial machinations, low-life thugs, powerful patrons and loyal soldiers. Nothing of this sort in the present series-a narrator's voice existed and the focus was on certain historical heavy-weights whose acts were interpreted in the light of modern real-politic, and the main events of their lives rendered as received by established historical sources or at least by established historical myths.This series focused on the life-stories of few characters whose final fate and posthumous reputation the narrator described at the end of each episode.The focus was on political and military events and not on personal motivation, feuds and loves except on the case that they had a net historical result-example:the marriage of Licinius and Constantia, Constantine's sister.The series Rome is much more glamorous and sex and violence than history on the grand scale as the present series. I suspect that Romans in their everyday lives experienced history in the former manner than in the latter one.Both series were a joy.
This series is of interest only for the few brief and historically accurate voice overs in each episode. The rest is terribly written and acted drivel, highly romanticized with very little relation to known events. Take for instance the episode about Constantine. An undue prominence is given to Constantine's sister Constantia and her arranged marriage to Licinius. This is written in an extremely melodramatic way and Constantia has very modern attitudes to marriage. After a lot more melodrama and inaccurate events, Constantine is seen to arranged the murder of Licinius to take place at the exact moment he is reciting the Nicean creed, an effect lifted from the Godfather.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It was frankly overall pretty awful.
But their was a couple of decent episodes with some merit that I watched with actual enjoyment, the Vespasian and Titus one (Rebellion) it was decently acted and portrayed with nice little battle scenes and had some respect for actual historical fact. Also the (Revolution) episode about Tiberius Gracchus was watchable (despite the obvious lack of his historically vital younger brother Gaius).
However, as to the other 4 'episodes', they are for the most part awfully acted, full of garbage characterizations, the scripts are repetitive and weak, the characters vacuous and the show is teaming with inaccuracies and anachronistic behaviour.
Both J.Caesar and Nero are total charades of their actual characters, Caesar, for example, comes across as a creepy effeminate thug who I wouldn't follow into a bar for a free pint never mind against the Roman Republic. I was not keen on Sean Pertwees characterisation of him, he portrayed him as neurotic, unhinged and desperately brutal, (what the hell was the decimation scene all about? this is not historical, Caesar did not decimate a legion), they omitted a LOT of his character and missed out on the charm, clemency and his famous dignitas. It is a shame as I really like Pertwee as an actor otherwise. Ciaran Hines as Caesar (from hbos ROME) was much closer to the mark.
Nero did not kick his wife to death in front of anyone. After coming home drunk, by himself, an argument started up and in the midst of this he lashed out at her and she miscarried and died. He was grief stricken for the rest of his life, he had just lost his beloved Wife and only HEIR. He also did NOT castrate a slave in public to look like his dead wife, (there is a scandalous report of a private (unseen) castration, 'make him a woman' my hole!). He was a thug and he was brutal, but he was not a camp psychopath.
Much of this series has dredged the gossip and vicious rumours of the Ancient world without for one minute questioning the source. And all the while they discount any other dissenting Ancient voice in order to make this show as shocking as they can.
I believe the prime time slot on bbc1 is to blame for this, the dumbing down of dialog and ham-fisted characterizations, in order to appeal to the 'talent show'/soap opera loving crowd, because a soap opera is what many of the episodes resemble.
Essentially I was really disappointed with it, after all that it promised. Plain terrible at times, the only thing going for 4 of the episodes was the decent looking battle set pieces but even these are all show and don't even try to keep your interest beyond the start of the battles.
And they said it would be historically sound? peh. :(
If you haven't seen this series, fear not, you missed little. (just go and watch the Rebellion and Revolution episodes on youtube and ignore the rest).
On a episode rating I would give: Rebellion:8 Revolution:7 Caesar:4 Constantine:4 Nero:3 Fall:5
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