Kevin Macdonald's "The Eagle"

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Kevin Macdonald's "The Eagle"

Post by Deviss on Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:00 pm

I don't really have much to say about this one, other than I probably wouldn't have watched and reviewed it had it not come through Netflix.

“The eagle is not a piece of metal. The eagle is Rome.”

  • Story: Four Stars
  • Acting: Four and a half Stars
  • Directing: Four Stars
  • Visuals: Four Stars
  • Overall: Four Stars

Having just finished my first viewing of "The Eagle" I can say it is certainly more than it appeared to be. When I first saw either the teaser or the trailer for this I assumed it would be another Summer afternoon let's-go-because-we're-bored B-Movie. And the fact that it had Channing Tatum as the lead didn't exactly convince me to want to go and see it. The movies he's been in have been hit or miss for me and shortly after seeing that trailer, Hell before the movie that came after that trailer was over, I'd already forgotten about "The Eagle". The only reason I'm typing this review is because it came in my mail through Netflix earlier in the week and I figured, "Eh, why not?"

I am pleased to say that "The Eagle" proved to be more than what I initially assumed.

---

Marcus Flavius Aquila (Channing Tatum) is a centurion in the Roman army who's father was the commander of the famed but ill-fated 9th Legion. Twenty years after the legion and their prized eagle standard disappeared in northern Britain, Marcus arrives at the garrison he is set to command hoping to restore honor to his family's tarnished name. After a battle with local Celtic tribesmen, meeting and befriending a slave named Esca (Jamie Bell), and recuperating from wounds suffered from the garrison battle, Marcus, accompanied by Esca, set out beyond Hadrian's Wall to find the lost eagle.

Unlike the other movies I've already reviewed, The Eagle didn't exactly leave me with as much of a lasting sense of enjoyment as I would have liked. I did enjoy the movie, don't get me wrong. Channing Tatum surprised me with the level of believability he brought to the role, as did Jamie Bell. I also liked the brief appearance from Mark Strong as a Roman deserter, but the way the movie started and how the first act came and went, cutting from scene to scene with barely any word of how much time had passed, by the beginning of the third act I was still enjoying the movie but it felt as if I was being held at an arm's length.

Fortunately, for both The Eagle, and myself it does pick up after the first act has gone its way. Once Marcus and Esca are beyond the Wall things become much more interesting, purposeful, and ominous. Particularly the twist in which Esca flips the tables on Marcus making him the slave in place of the master. In some scenes it looked as if getting Marcus to take him away from the Wall and the Romans, only to kill or leave Marcus stranded had been his plan all along. Jamie was that intense as Esca.

That very aspect of Jamie's performance and Esca's character made it very off-putting for me when he up and pulls a one-eighty, telling Marcus he can trust him again. At the very least they should have written it so Marcus questioned Esca or became infuriated with him and what he did. But no, Marcus just accepts it without a word and carries on. I suppose that's what this movie was intended to mean; no matter what happens or comes your way, keep your head up and carry on. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into The Eagle. Either of those could very well be the case.

When I looked at The Eagle's review section and saw there were only four other people who reviewed it, I was interested in tossing my hat in the ring. However it was MovieWeb's own Julian Roman said it best in his review's title, "Likes or dislikes about The Eagle will be based on how you feel about Channing Tatum." And for me that was very much the case. As with any movie there were things I liked, the action scenes were done very well, and there were things I disliked, such as the insta-trust that pops up between the two main characters two thirds of the way in the movie. Thankfully my likes about The Eagle outweigh my dislikes.

One of those likes was the score used in The Eagle. While not as unique as Inception's or as energizing and inspiring as The Dark Knight Rises, The Eagle's score served to keep me invested in what was going on in front of me. I cannot say for sure if I will be getting The Eagle's score, I still need to download Uncharted 3's, but I can say that if you're a fan of soundtracks and you come across The Eagle's go ahead and give it a listen.

Without much else to say regarding this movie, this was a review by tMG. Thank you for reading.

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Re: Kevin Macdonald's "The Eagle"

Post by frang on Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:11 pm

I don't know if you had this reaction, but every time it's been on cable, I get interested in it, enjoy the first part, and then lose all interest when they set out to find the lost eagle standard.

Don't know what it is about the last part of the movie that makes my interest just go poof. I seem to recall the last time I tried to watch it, the faux horror movie feeling I got off of the journey, maybe that's it.

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Re: Kevin Macdonald's "The Eagle"

Post by Deviss on Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:15 pm

Hm, I think you and I have the opposite reaction. I was less interested during the first part but once they're behind the Wall, I was much more interested in what would happen.

I haven't seen in on TV though... Razz

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Re: Kevin Macdonald's "The Eagle"

Post by foxrock66(Roadkill) on Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:02 pm

I had the same deal Frang. Although it more the middle third that I found lacking. The rest I enjoyed
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Re: Kevin Macdonald's "The Eagle"

Post by frang on Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:39 pm

Fox, it might be the same with me, except I never make it to the last third.

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Re: Kevin Macdonald's "The Eagle"

Post by frang on Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:16 pm

Had another chance to watch it today, Showtime ran it again. Watched the whole thing. Loved it. Once past that part in the middle Fox and I talked about, it picks up very nicely. I'm gonna have to find the novel it's based on. If I find it on sale at Hastings, I might buy it.

Thanks again for the review, Dev.

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