The Eagle

(2011)

Genres: Adventure, Drama

Review: The Eagle

Transcript for Review: The Eagle

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
Our next movie is THE EAGLE, a mixture of old fashion “sword and sandal” epic, and buddy road comedy – only without a whole lot of comedy.  Channing Tatum stars as Marcus Aquila, a Roman soldier in the 2nd Century.  He’s on a quest to redeem the missing golden Eagle standard that his father, the leader of the 9th Legion, lost in the wilds of Scotland twenty years earlier, along with 5,000 of his men.  As the film begins, Marcus takes command of a remote British outpost, which is quickly attacked by locals who want to drive the Romans out.

CLIP from THE EAGLE

CHRISTY:
One battle leaves him badly injured.  He recuperates at the villa of his uncle, played by Donald Sutherland.  His uncle also buys him a British slave named Esca, played by Jamie Bell – and yes, that’s the same Jamie Bell who starred in BILLY ELLIOT back in 2000.  Since then, he’s been to the gym.  Marcus hears a rumor that the Eagle is somewhere on the other side of the great Roman wall, in the untamed Northern Highlands.  He hatches a plan to look for it with the help of Esca, who knows the language and territory.

CLIP from THE EAGLE

CHRISTY:
The best part about THE EAGLE, is it’s gorgeous scenery, a combination of sumptuous, tactile landscapes, and ethereal, dream-like imagery, like something out of a Terrence Malick movie.

CLIP from THE EAGLE

CHRISTY:
Tatum and Bell are mostly stoic.  Still, I like the old-fashioned nature of THE EAGLE, the intimacy of it, the fact that it doesn’t feel like some glossy, soulless, CGI spectacle.  So, if this were a gladiator arena, my thumb would be sideways, but kinda, slightly turned up.

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
You know, this movie has Romans fighting Celts.  It’s got Donald Sutherland.  It’s got, uh, Channing Tatum.  There’s many reason why I would like it --

CHRISTY:
You’re a big Channing Tatum fan.

IGNATIY:
I am a big Channing Tatum fan.

CHRISTY:
Yes.

IGNATIY:
-- But I don’t.

CHRISTY:
Okay.

IGNATIY:
And, it strikes me more as exercise in style, really, than a completed film.  I think there’s a lot of very good ideas at work, but that they don’t really come together.  I think something that’s symptomatic of what’s wrong with the film is actually Tatum.  I think he’s miscast.

CHRISTY:
How come – how so?  He’s gorgeous.  He’s muscular.  He’s loyal and brave and true He’s got all that going for him, right?

Ignatiy:
That’s the thing.  No.  The thing about Tatum is that he looks the part.

CHRISTY:
Right.

IGNATIY:
But he really, he’s not a very “tough” guy; that’s not his screen persona, it’s not really what he’s very good at.  What he’s very good at is, kind of, this reluctance – you know, of being forced into, maybe, a violent situation.  That’s where he works best in an action movie.  But I feel like it’s a question of many elements that should go together well, like the cinematography, ah, you know, the reliance less on CGI and more on landscape, you know, the tone, the mood, but it seems like no one actually though about whether they really do go together well.  They just, sort of, threw them all in one pot and made that a movie, and that’s a –

CHRISTY:
And you didn’t buy the journey that they fight and get to know each other and trust each other and all that?