Review of "Spartacus" From The TV MegaSite
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Spartacus - The Complete TV Miniseries (2004)

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"Spartacus" (DVD)

Review by Suzanne 11/2/04

I did not see the original film "Spartacus", so I cannot compare this miniseries to that movie. The miniseries, however, was not a remake of the movie. Both films were based on the novel by Howard Fast. The miniseries is supposed to be truer to his novel. I can't imagine that either that book or the original movie has a Spartacus who cried, or the focus on the women that this miniseries had. But it doesn't matter. It was a very enjoyable and interesting miniseries nonetheless. I thought the acting was first-rate. It should have been a theatrical film; but then again, they would have to cut a lot to fit into two hours or so.

This kind of movie really makes you think more than the average thriller or romance. It made me think about history and about how people have been killed, oppressed, and enslaved over the years. I was surprised to learn that most of the characters were real people and that the battles were similar to what really happened, unlike the film "Gladiator".

I especially enjoyed the actor who played Crassus (Angus Macfadyen), the big bad guy in the film. He reminds me a little of Russell Crowe. They could play brothers. I was disappointed that Crassus didn't die, but they did have to stick to what happened in history, unlike "Gladiator". Even though Crassus was pure evil, I found myself pulling for him in the end to win his political battles because he had fought so hard for them. My only wish is that the film had explored more of Crassus and Spartacus' backgrounds and what motivated them. I guess I will have to read the book to find out more.

The fight scenes were many and great (not overly long like in some films). There was also romance and political intrique. A bit more humor would be nice, but this is not a "fun" story so there wasn't much they could do in that regard. They did a great job in showing what the life of a slave and a gladiator was like and how corrupt and cruel the Romans could be.

The DVD's only extras were deleted scenes. That was disappointing. I am glad to add the movie to my collection, though, since I didn't see it when it aired on cable. I wanted to see it at the time because I love Goran Visnjic (Spartacus) from his work on ER. I especially enjoyed seeing him with his shirt off and he had great chemistry with Rhona Mitra, who played his wife, Varinia.

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