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#4639189 - 12/03/23 03:25 AM "Napoleon" - My review  
Joined: Apr 2001
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PanzerMeyer Online centaurian
Pro-Consul of Florida
PanzerMeyer  Online Centaurian
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Ok, so I saw "Napoleon" today and I think I've organized my thoughts well enough to finally post my review. My head is chock-full of observations so I'll try and make this review as concise as possible.

First of all, "Napoleon" is not a war film even though several battles are depicted. So in that sense, "Napoleon" is in the same vein as other films like "Barry Lyndon" and "The Duellists". If you have seen those two films you will know what I'm talking about. In contrast, the 1970 film "Waterloo" is indeed very much a war film because the battle is front and center and the focus of the plot.

As far as I could tell, there are two distinct driving dramatic narratives in "Napoleon". Firstly you have the big picture covering the politics and military campaigns and secondly you have the tumultuous relationship between Napoleon and Josephine. In fact the very final frame of the film closes out the latter narrative in a very poignant and compelling manner.

Let's talk about the battles. What's in the film and what isn't that maybe should have been? The film has amazingly well shot and choreographed set-pieces for the Siege of Toulon, Battle of Austerlitz, Battle of Borodino and naturally, Battle of Waterloo. There was about a 10 minute sequence covering Napoleon's campaign in Egypt but it felt a bit rushed to me and the Battle of the Pyramids felt more like a dramatic beat for the story than any recreation of the battle. What's not in the film which maybe should have been is the entire naval aspect. No Trafalgar, no Copenhagen, no Nile, etc. There was also not even any mention of the Peninsular campaign. In the end though, I need to realize that this was a 2.5 hour film and only so much can be covered so I keep my criticism on this aspect to a minimum.

Concerning the performances, I really do think Joaquin Phoenix should at least get an Oscar nomination for his performance. He was compelling in every way imaginable. The on-screen gravitas was there in spades. I also liked the actor who portrayed the Duke of Wellington since the writer was faithful to history in that respect. Wellington certainly came across as a crotchety, formal and emotionally distant Englishman. Vanessa Kirby was also quite compelling as Josephine. I didn't know much about this actress beforehand but she was very well cast for the role.
On a scale of 1-10 I give the film an 8. Some of the historical inaccuracies bugged me a bit but the bottom line for me is that the story was dramatically compelling. I actually found myself feeling some sympathy for Napoleon in the final few minutes of the film (if you know the history you'll understand why) but I think it was really Joaquin who sold it me with his amazing performance. In one scene he would be a total #%&*$# and in another scene he would have me inspired. That to me, is the truest sign of a great actor.

Last edited by PanzerMeyer; 12/03/23 03:40 AM.

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#4639207 - 12/04/23 04:02 AM Re: "Napoleon" - My review [Re: PanzerMeyer]  
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Tarnsman Offline
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You've changed my mind. Gonna watch it.
Thanks!

#4639208 - 12/04/23 04:23 AM Re: "Napoleon" - My review [Re: Tarnsman]  
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PanzerMeyer Online centaurian
Pro-Consul of Florida
PanzerMeyer  Online Centaurian
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Originally Posted by Tarnsman
You've changed my mind. Gonna watch it.
Thanks!




Apparently there is a 4 hour "Director's Cut" that will most likely be released on bluray later on and it may also be shown on Apple TV. I'm fairly certain the 4 hour version will be even better. And thanks for the compliment!


“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
#4639212 - 12/04/23 09:36 AM Re: "Napoleon" - My review [Re: PanzerMeyer]  
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semmern Offline
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semmern  Offline
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Good review, Panzer. I will certainly watch it. Being a history nut and almost compelled to watch all movies depicting historical scenarios can have its downsides sometimes, such as when sitting through Red Tails, but I have had a feeling that this movie is better than what some of the reviews are saying, and based on your review I think I will like it.


In all my years I've never seen the like. It has to be more than a hundred sea miles and he brings us up on his tail. That's seamanship, Mr. Pullings. My God, that's seamanship!
#4639220 - 12/04/23 12:46 PM Re: "Napoleon" - My review [Re: PanzerMeyer]  
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letterboy1 Offline
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letterboy1  Offline
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Thanks, Panzermeyer. I'm not a history nut for the most part, but your report on Joaquin Phoenix's acting in this film has me looking forward to it. Combine that with Riddley Scott's directing and I'm reminded of the last time the two were paired and how blown away I was.

By the way, was Scott's name purposely missing in your review? From the context, I would guess that he gets at least an 8 out of 10, but I'm not sure. smile


The issue is not p*ssy. The issue is monkey.
#4639221 - 12/04/23 12:52 PM Re: "Napoleon" - My review [Re: letterboy1]  
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PanzerMeyer Online centaurian
Pro-Consul of Florida
PanzerMeyer  Online Centaurian
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Joined: Apr 2001
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Miami, FL USA
Originally Posted by letterboy1

By the way, was Scott's name purposely missing in your review? From the context, I would guess that he gets at least an 8 out of 10, but I'm not sure. smile



Heh, I think I was so caught up with talking about the content of the film that Ridley totally skipped my mind. As far as his directorial career goes I'd give him a 9 out of 10. People will still be watching "Alien", "Blade Runner" and "Gladiator" 50 years from now.


“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
#4639222 - 12/04/23 01:09 PM Re: "Napoleon" - My review [Re: PanzerMeyer]  
Joined: Dec 2000
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letterboy1 Offline
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letterboy1  Offline
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Lifer

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A cool aspect of watching Blade Runner at the age of 16 was that for me I was perhaps behind the curve when it came to understanding symbolism and metaphors. I think I was only just starting to get an inkling. But from the moment the opening scenes started with that awesome musical score, I was so captivated already that I was totally immersed for the entire length. The world was completely believable. Whatever depth I missed out on was compensated for by the flying cars, scantily clad Daryl Hannah, and action scenes so that my lizard brain was satisfied.


The issue is not p*ssy. The issue is monkey.

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