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3,659 hits since 23 Nov 2022
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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Swampking30 Nov 2023 10:06 a.m. PST

Just saw it – it sucked. Never see it again. It would have been better to see Napoleon's rise to power and his conquering of Italy or the Battle of Marengo, etc.

The battle scenes were okay but the Battle of the Pyramids was about 3 minutes. Also, did Napoleon actually charge at Waterloo?

As my wife said, "If I wanted to see a romance, I'd watch p*rn."

arthur181530 Nov 2023 1:34 p.m. PST

IMHO, the battle scenes were anything but 'okay'.

There seemed to be no cavalry attacks on large infantry squares at the Pyramids.

Austerlitz was presented as a cunning plan to lure the enemy onto the frozen lakes and then drown them by smashing the ice with fire from guns concealed under tarpaulins to make them blend in with the snow. In reality, the frozen lakes were only about a metre deep and very few human remains have been found there.

At Borodino we saw no Grand Redoubt and Napoleon appeared leading a cavalry charge in the same uniform he wore in Egypt (perhaps an error in editing?).

Both British and French infantry occupied trenches at Waterloo – I heard one actor shout 'Over the top, lads!' as if it was WWI. Napoleon seemed to be commanding in the field rather than Ney, and led a cavalry advance himself towards the end of the battle, which was repulsed by the British Life Guards. As he rode away, a British rifleman whose Baker rifle was equipped with a telescopic sight put a bullet through his hat.

Oh, and after his surrender to HMS Bellerophon, Wellington came on board for a chat!

Napoleon himself came across as a charmless, violent boor; there was no sign of the charisma that enabled him to win the loyalty of so many men. One felt sympathy for Josephine, but found it hard to imagine that a woman like her could ever have married Phoenix's Napoleon – though it would have explained her affairs.

Scott is reported to have reacted angrily to criticism of his battle scenes by retorting that neither the interviewer nor military historians had been there so they could keep quiet. I suggest the remark of a British soldier who had been at Waterloo: 'I'll be hanged if I know anything about the matter' could equally apply to the director.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2023 7:24 p.m. PST

What can I say? The French wore blue, the Austrians wore white, and the British wore red. Josephine looked fetching in white. The film fails not because it tried to do too much, it fails because what it did do was terrible. The film needed better editing. It jumps around without much explanation and the scenes were at times so very inaccurate and jarring. Some things could have used some context. There was no mention of Leipzig, Trafalgar, Spain. Italy was mentioned once.

Austerlitz was inaccurate. Borodino seemed to be some stock footage shot on an off day. Don't think Napoleon fired cannons at the pyramids as the movie shows. Someone must have told the Director that flags were good to have. Man, there are a lot of flags. Towards the end of the film I did actually see some French Flags that had embroidery on them, can't remember if those flags had eagles.

The heart of the movie was Napoleon and Josephine. A lot of that didn't ring true. I was shocked at how Napoleon was portrayed at times as a love-sick teenager. JP as Napoleon was too old to play him. Very dour. Where was the charismatic Napoleon? Then there was the deal breaker, Waterloo. It was the worst depiction of a historical event I have ever seen on film and it could have been easily done correctly. The British were deployed in WWI-style trenches. The French were a mob and Napoleon led a cavalry charge! A mix of infantry and cavalry in one mob. No formations. The British jumped out of their trenches ran towards the charging French Cavalry and formed squares. The role of Wellington was a parody of a Napoleonic-era British aristocrat.

Then there was the 95th Rifles with scoped rifles. Check, please! Time to go! This movie didn't work as a biography, as a love story, as a political history, as a military history, and certainly not as a historical film. There are several films I can think of that were not 100% historical but were great movies. Braveheart (won best picture) comes to mind, ZULU, Gettysburg, and Saving Private Ryan. Patton (1970), won best picture and it was full of inaccuracies and yet was a great film. Ridley Scott's Napoleon isn't one of them. I don't plan to sit through four hours of this.

Another review: YouTube link

Gazzola01 Dec 2023 10:51 a.m. PST

Not all the film goers will be military or Napoleonic minded so what appears obvious to us, French in Blue, British in Red, Austrians in white, might not be so clear. Just a thought.

And try telling non-Napoleonic fans that the Prussians wore blue, the British artillery wore Blue etc, etc! LOL

It will also be interesting to see how it does at the box office.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2023 7:39 p.m. PST

It was a left-handed compliment. At least he got the basic uniforms correct. That's about it.

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