“The Eagle” Movie Review

2/15/2011 Posted by Admin

“The Eagle”

Movie Review

Directed by Kevin MacDonald, Written by Jeremy Brock (screenplay) and Rosemary Sutcliff (novel), 114 minutes, Rated PG-13.

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

With a stern jaw and a bloodied sword, Channing Tatum cuts through about a dozen or so faceless soldiers in “The Eagle” and each one is as boring as the last. Director Kevin MacDonald’s stoic pace and convoluted mythology make “The Eagle” difficult to connect with--he takes things too seriously for his own good.

Opening with a novel’s worth of subtitles, “The Eagle” tells of a centurion named Marcus (Tatum) attempting to restore his family name. His father, a Roman commander, led his legion to failure several years prior, losing Rome’s prized golden eagle in his defeat. Neither he nor his 5,000 soldiers were ever heard from again.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Marcus rises up the ranks. After protecting his troops from an attack, his superior’s promote and honorably discharge the soldier. This does not sit well with the prideful Marcus who sets out with a slave Esca (Jamie Bell) to hunt down the missing Eagle, find out what happened to his father, and restore his family name to the pantheon of heroes.

The journey takes Marcus and Esca through a series of trials, which relentlessly test their loyalty and honor. They fight and travel, but much of the film’s dialogue is comprised of grunts and whispers, leaving little room for a dynamic relationship. Their quest circles the same key themes we’ve seen a thousand times, which contributes to our boredom.

Tatum adds little to the cliché mythology. He lacks the charisma and pathos needed from this type of hero tale. Like Sam Worthington, he brings quiet determination to his roles but none of the gusto that makes these archetypes compelling. Jamie Bell does little to heighten the mood. He’s a beat for beat clone of Tatum and repeatedly bounces between contemplative and angry.

“The Eagle” is a thoughtful and slow-moving beast. Bloated to epic proportions, MacDonald gives little to deepen his characters outside of their generic attributes. They’re tortured, resolute, but rarely engaging. Even though their quest is a serious one, there’s never a moment of levity to make spending time with these characters worthwhile.

By any means, “The Eagle” isn’t a bad film, but its wooden delivery makes it an easily forgotten one.

Grade: C

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