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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adevnture > Legends > Swords > The Last Legion (2007/Genius DVD)

The Last Legion (2007/Genius DVD)


Picture: B-†††† Sound: B-†††† Extras: B†††† Film: B



Any time a movie claims to be set in an actual historical period it opens itself up to criticism about just how historically accurate it really is. Any film that is an adaptation of a well-known story or legend is also open to criticism from fans of that story as to how close to the legend the movie comes.The Last Legion is a movie that claims to not only represent the actual history of the last days of the Roman Empire but also ties into the Arthurian cycle of stories.I gotta say, it does a pretty good job with both.


As a fan of both history and Arthurian legend I went into this with reservations.Iíve read a lot of novels that attempt to do the same thing, some of which are really well done and others that are just plain crap.


There are some spoilers ahead, so beware.


The film opens with the last days of the Roman Empire. The official last emperor of Rome was a child named Romulus, who history tells us, was a figurehead for his father.Barbarians, led by the Germanic chieftain Odoacer, sacked the city and Romulus was exiled, at which point he disappears from the historical record.


The film gets all this right.It is at this point that history starts to become legend.The great sword Excalibur, in this version, forged for Caesar, falls into the hands of Romulus.Romulus is then rescued by a group of loyalists who whisk him away to Great Britain.A couple of these figures seem familiar.Aurelius, played by Colin Firth, is a Roman general. Ambrosinus (Ben Kingsley) is Romulusí teacher, a gray-bearded old man who likes to convince people he is a sorcerer.The name Aurelius Ambrosias shows up in the actual historical record of the time and is generally thought of as one of the many historical precedents for the figure of Arthur.In terms of story, and what is pertinent here, is that Aurelius is usually considered the father of Uther (Arthurís father), and Ambrosius is one of the many names used by Merlin over the years.


Oh yeah, thereĻs also a woman warrior played by Aishwarya Rai.Thereís absolutely no historical precedent for her, but every sword movie these days needs a hot warrior chick, apparently.


History and myth aside, itís a fun movie.You don't to know or care about any of this stuff to just enjoy the ride.There are great battles and great performances.Thomas Sangster portrays Romulus with gravity and dignity and far more presence than you expect from a child (as an aside, Sangster is making a career of playing young Arthurian characters; he was young Tristan in Tristan and Isolde, which I reviewed somewhere on this site). Kevin McKidd (from HBOís Rome) is a wonderfully scary barbarian.


Watch it just as an action adventure movie with swords and I think it will be satisfying.If youíre a history or Arthurian buff the accuracy is just gravy.



-†† Wayne Wise




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