Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Eagle (Unrated) (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6.5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6.5 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Channing Tatum as Marcus Aquila
Jamie Bell as Esca
Donald Sutherland as Aquila
Mark Strong as Guern
Denis O'Hare as Lutorius
Tahar Rahim as Seal Prince
Dakin Matthews as Claudius
Douglas Henshall as Cradoc
Jon Campling as Scottish Hill Dweller
Julian Lewis Jones as Cassius
Paul Ritter as Galba
Lukács Bicskey as Shaman
Jamie Beamish as Legionary
Ben O'Brien as Milecastle Guard

Directed by Kevin Macdonald

Special Features:
Alternate Ending
Deleted Scenes
The Eagle: The Making Of A Roman Epic
Feature Commentary with Director Kevin Macdonald
BD Live Enabled
Pocket Blu
Digital Copy Of Feature Film

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1 Sound
French and Spanish Languages
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 114 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"In 2nd-Century Britain celebrated Roman soldier Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) embarks on a dangerous quest to restore the tarnished reputation of his father and find the golden emblem that disappeared with him and thousands of troops twenty years earlier. But the highlands of Caledonia are a savage wilderness and Marcus must rely on his embittered slave Esca (Jamie Bell) to navigate the perilous region. Their journey pushes them beyond the boundaries of loyalty and betrayal friendship and hatred deceit and heroism. Donald Sutherland co-stars in this gripping gritty action-packed adventure from acclaimed director Kevin Macdonald."

"The Eagle" is PG-13 for battle sequences and some disturbing images.

Mini-Review:
Having recently seen "Centurion," I was wondering if we needed another movie about the legion of lost Roman soldiers that prompted the construction of Hadrian's Wall. Did we need another movie about Romans vs Caledonians? I didn't realize two things. The first was that this film was based on the book by Rosemary Sutcliff. It was entitled "The Eagle of the Ninth" and it was written in 1954 and kicked off a series of books. So in reality this was created long before "Centurion." Second, "The Eagle" is set 20 years after the legion's disappearance, so it's almost a sequel in a way. The two movies don't really tread on each other, so you can enjoy both if you're into Roman history.

In CS's theatrical review of "The Eagle" by Ed Douglas, he stated that Channing Tatum was horribly miscast and that the American accents of the actors was terribly distracting. I honestly had no problem with either. Unless the Romans are speaking Latin, anything they speak in the movie is not historically accurate. I don't see why they can't speak with American accents. As for Channing Tatum, I thought he did a pretty good job. He handled the action scenes well and had good chemistry with Jamie Bell as Esca. You believed they could be adversaries and you believed they could be friends. And Tatum well portrayed Marcus Aquila's drive to restore his family's honor.

I did agree with Ed's assessment that the plot took a while to get going. It's about 40 minutes into the film before you get to the heart of the story - Aquila wants to recover the stolen Eagle and restore his father's honor. It's a basic, straightforward plot, a good MacGuffin, and a solid action movie premise. And if you're watching the movie for the action scenes, it does deliver. There are some great fights between the Romans and the tribes.

The only reason that I knocked this rating down was because "The Eagle" falters a bit at the end. The final resolution feels a bit 'Hollywood' and not at all satisfying after a pretty good build-up. I can't go into details without discussing spoilers, but it does stumble at the finish line.

If you liked "Gladiator" or "Centurion," then "The Eagle" is a film you'll want to check out. This movie should please anyone that likes Roman historical epics.

You'll find a modest selection of bonus features on this Blu-ray. The most notable is the alternate ending. If you think the theatrical ending is unsatisfying, then you should see this alternate ending. The fate of the Eagle is quite different in this version and it does not at all fit with what the characters went through in the rest of the movie. Also included in the bonus features are deleted scenes, a 'making-of' video, and a commentary with director Kevin Macdonald.

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