Jamie Bell is filming the last season of Turn: Washington’s Spies. I am glad this show finally comes to an end. Although it provides Bell steady income, the show has been neither popular nor critically-acclaimed. Such a shame he has spent four years on this. I still think Esca Cunoval from The Eagle is his best adult role so far.
I posted about The Eagle before it came out because the trailer sent off a major ‘Slash Potential’ alarm in my head, and now that it’s been released I’m following up on it. Because I saw it. And it’s basically everything I wanted it to be (which includes being a good movie).
Here’s a couple of pictures so you know what kind of mmph we’re talking about, here.
So here’s the premise: An injured soldier hears a rumor about the location of The Eagle, the symbol of Roman pride, power and honor, behind enemy lines. Since Marcus’ (the solider) father led the Romans who lost it under mysterious circumstances, he sets out to recapture it and clear his family’s (and his father’s in particular) soiled name with the help of his reluctant slave, Esca.
This is most definitely a journey film. It gets off to a slow start, but to be fair the movie does have quite a bit to establish before they can really get going. The film itself is quite beautifully captured, meaningful (especially if your big on defending honor for honor’s sake) and hey did you know that Channing Tatum can act? Step Up may have fooled you, but The Eagle combined with a movie he did a few years back called A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints will change your mind. And yes, Jamie Bell, who plays the slave Esca, was Billy Elliot. He has grown up, ahem…really nicely. He’s also a damn good actor.
For those worried about bloodied Roman soldiers hacking people to pieces, no worries. This is PG-13 and they kind of go out of their way at times to spare us from blood. This bothered me because I’m a staunch supporter of realism, and when it feels like filmmakers are having to dodge content it means they’re also dodging honesty, but that is (almost literally) just me. However, there are a couple of moments where my face went O.O because they actually went through with a couple of things I was sure they would shy away from. Neither of those moments involve gore, though.
The only negative things I could say about the movie is that the dialogue clings to “passable” and stays there, the pacing is a bit slow for a movie like this, and the way some plot points are rolled out feel kind of awkward. But it didn’t really detract from the movie, and that’s worth something.
OKAY ENOUGH OF THAT, what about the gay? Answer: It’s not even March and I can already promise you that Marcus/Esca will be in my Top Ten New Slash Pairings of 2011*. I mean, seriously, from the moment Marcus sees Esca, and that whole scene, I was like “Mhm, yeah, you want him, Marcus, don’t lie. You’re not even hiding it. At all.”
In the grand scheme of AU-slash-that-feels-really-really-canon in movies (I’m looking at you, Holmes/Watson), this should earn a good portion of your fangirlish squee and for good damn reason. These guys struggle through harsh territory against insurmountable odds, saving each others’ lives even though they have no idea if they should trust each other. They are on very unsure ground for most of the movie, and for very understandable, complex reasons. Yet they also have this bond from the get go that is SO present, and neither of them can really get away from it. This lays the groundwork for some beautiful, beautiful scenes. In fact, they really could have given their relationship more emphasis in the grand scheme of things…but there’s a good chance I’m just spoiled by things like Sherlock and Boston Legal.
This type of Epic Slash pairing is a VERY rare breed, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t one of my favorites. Fighting, adventure, life/death consequences, serious dilemmas, trust issues…the fanfiction potential is off. the fucking. chart. Not to mention that what’s on the screen is just. plain. mmph.
If Sherlock is a 9 in terms of On-Screen-Slash, The Eagle is a 7. <–A verrrrry respectable number since the vast majority of main stream cinema comes in at a 1 or 2.
Oh yeah, and this will make a lot of people happy: THERE’S NOT A SINGLE HETERO LOVE INTEREST IN SIGHT. No random chick shoehorned into the plot just to confirm the hero’s sexuality, no obligatory cliched love scene, none of that bullcrap. Hell, there’s only one moment in the ENTIRE movie where one of them even acknowledges that women exist, and it’s ambiguous to the point of wondering if he wasn’t just returning a smile. No, really. That’s it. That’s the extent of straightness in the whole thing. And can I just say how fucking lovely that is? Not that every het romance is annoying or poorly done, obviously, but to have a movie where you would have to create an original character just to write a heterosexual fic for it is quite the refreshing change. Not to mention it makes Head Canon wayyyyyy easier to establish.
VERDICT: This a must see for adventure fans, for male friendship fans, for pretty much anyone, but especially slash fans. 'Cause something likes this just doesn’t come around that often for us. GO SEE IT. Then come back here and flail with me, because thanks to this movie’s release date I can pretty much guarantee that it will be criminally ignored. It’s easily the best thing to come out during the Beginning of the Year Movie Drought in a looooooooooong time.
Film Rating: 6.75/10
AU Slash Scale: 8.5/10
And in case you think I’m too calm about this: DHJKDLFDKGLJDKFDKL I LOVE THESE TWO SO MUCH LIKE SERIOUSLY I HAVEN’T BEEN THIS EXCITED IN A LONG TIME AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHDJSKFDJKLGDJKGLJKL LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!!!!!
“The gilded wreaths and crowns that the Legion had won in the days of its honour were gone from the crimson-bound staff; the furious talons still clutched the crossed thunderbolts, but where the great silver wings should have arched back in savage pride, were only empty socket-holes in the flanks of gilded bronze.”
when i read it , i loved it , but i didnt understand how subversive it was , or how much a MYSTERY / MIRACLE PLAY either
it is this sweet / sad / scary YA novel abt
A LAMED HERO who is A SOLDIER WHO HATES CRUELTY
from AN OLD MILITARY FAMILY
who ends up w this FOUND FAMILY OF ETHNICALLY & POLITICALLY & GENERATIONALLY DIVERSE MISFITS
who MAKES HIS BEST FRIENDS ACROSS ENEMY LINES
who has A WOLF CUB THAT HE SAVES FROM THE HUNTERS
& this weird little 3way bro-ship w his manservant & the girl next door
whose bff / manservant is NEITHER SLAVE NOR FREE in a very real sense
& very artfully tattooed
who together PRETEND TO BE EYE DOCTORS so they can sneak behind enemy lines
& STEAL AWAY A MAGICAL ARTIFACT TO PREVENT A MASSIVE WAR RESTARTING
for the sake of saving BOTH SIDES in the conflict
AND THEY ARE CAST AS THE RAVENS OF MITHRAS STEALING A PIECE OF DIVINE FIRE
and the crippled protagonist is THIS LITTLE DARK OLIVE-SKINNED WIRY GUY WHO IS EXPRESSLY CONTRASTED VISUALLY BY THE TEXT W THE BIG BLOND HULKING GERMAN RECRUITS HE COMMANDS BEFORE HIS INJURY
and his mission WHICH IS NOT OF PERSONAL VENGEANCE BUT DRIVEN FOR THE SAKE OF SAVING THE REALM ( altho he does want to find out what happened to his father & his dads comrades too )
is given him by an older egyptian officer from one of the noble families w greek names like the ptolemies , thus linking him w alexander the great
& who is introduced thusly :
As he neared the doorway, a strange voice sounded behind it. The guest had arrived already, then.
“You are sure?” said the voice, a harsh, clipped voice, but pleasant. “It would be a simple matter to send him up to the transit camp.”
And Uncle Aquila’s voice replied: “When I have not the space to lodge two guests at the same time, I will tell you. You are a fool, Claudius.”
There were two strangers in the long room with Uncle Aquila, both in uniform: one, resplendent under his coating of dust in the gilded bronze of a Legate; the other, standing a little behind him, evidently a staff officer. It seemed that they had only just arrived, for they had done no more than lay aside cloak and crested helmet. That much Marcus saw as he hesitated an instant on the threshold before his uncle looked round and saw him.
“Ah, you are back, Marcus,” said Uncle Aquila; and then, as he came forward to join the group, “Claudius, I present to you my nephew Marcus. Marcus, this is my very old friend Claudius Hieronimianus, Legate of the Sixth Legion.”
Marcus raised his hand in salute to his uncle’s friend, and found himself looking into a pair of long, jet-black eyes that seemed to have the sun behind them. ..
who does that sound more like ? ?
this guy ? ?
IN CASE YR NOT SURE THIS IS ALL INTENTIONAL
that sutcliff intended it or that del toro saw it
THE ROMAN BRITAIN BOOKS TIE INTO THE ARTHURIAN MYTHOS SUTCLIFF WROTE A LOT ABT KING SACRIFICE HEIRONIMIANUS MEANS , LITERALLY “THE SACRED NAME ” & THE EAGLE IS AN AVATAR OF ZEUS THE THUNDER GOD LIKE THE BULL
& THE HERO IS AN ACOLYTE OF MITHRAS
( there are also symbols of roses , rings , hounds , foxes , horses , lighthouses , harvests good & bad
also being sent north to the wall as a form of exile also aquae sulis better known as bath where the fashionable go to socialize & matchmake for their nieces YES AUSTEN WAS THERE ALL ALONG in the retelling cottia gets to go on the quest as she deserved )
the movie they made erased everything
erased the sister / friend who guards the home , the protector of the wolf , THE AVATAR OF ARTEMIS erased the friendships & the hospitality as theophany erased the themes of reconciliation & rejecting colonial imperialism
erased EVEN ALMOST ALL THE TATTOOS OF THE HEROS FOSTER BROTHER
in the book the short guy w the notebook is the centurion
whitewashed everyone EXCEPT THEY CAST A FRANCO-ALGERIAN AS A BRUTAL PICTISH ENEMY CHIEFTAIN they only racebent the bad guy IT RLY WAS FREAKING AVATAR
erased the central story of love & hope casting out fear & rivalry kindness & welcome & sharing a wounded hero WHO CHOOSES TO BE A HEALER
along with all the loving dwelling on domestic details & the beauty of ordinary things made it UGLY AND SORDID & COLD where the book revels in the glow of a rose growing in a recycled jar
WHERE KINDNESS AND RESPECT AND TRUE JUSTICE & SELF SACRIFICE ARE THE ONLY THINGS CAPABLE OF RESTORING ANY BALANCE TO HUMAN LIFE
AFTER BETRAYALS & BLOODSHED
CONTRASTED W A COLD & CRUEL WARRIOR ARISTOCRACY THAT IS ULTIMATELY DOOMED but which can be resisted & escaped WITH THE HELP OF EVERYONE
they reversed all the symbols MADE IT A CELEBRATION OF THE BULL not the smashing of the patriarchy CELEBRATION OF COLONIALISM THE CONQUEROR AS CIVILIZED & JUST BY COMPARISON TO BARBARIANS the dove that marcus carves in the book THEY TURNED INTO AN EAGLE they made it A JUSTIFICATION OF EUROPEAN CONQUEST OF THE AMERICAS ! ! !
but what else to expect from THE PRODUCTION COMPANY THAT IS DOING FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY
yeah no way charlie hunnam belonged there & no way he cld have had any good influence on that project
the ONE GOOD THING is that the originals are now available as ebooks (x) which they werent before
BUT YEAH THE MOVIE WAS WORSE THAN A DUMB ACTION MOVIE& A BADLY FILMED BADLY STAGED ONE @ THAT
IT WAS QUITE LITERALLY A TRAVESTY
& im not glad i watched finally but otoh i needed 2 see it , to see what a movie of the MYSTERY PLAY looks like when done by the minotaurs
Imagine a fandom in which one character is canonically a slave, but in the fanon the slave character is often the dominate one in the relationship.
Imagine a fandom in which the canon slave character is physically much slighter and smaller than the slave owner character but in the fanon the slave character is still often the dominate one in the relationship.
Imagine a fandom wherein in the fic, the canonically slighter, less “beautiful” slave character is a boss at everything he does.
Imagine a fandom wherein in the fic, the canonical slave owner spends a lot of time thinking about how boss the slave character is.
Imagine a fandom in which, in canon, the slave becomes the slave owner and the slave owner becomes the slave, and then in fic these shifts of power dynamics are replicated and considered and played upon.
Imagine a fandom in which one half of the ship never seems to be made into someone clinging and weak and delicate who can’t function on his own and constantly bursts into tears; imagine a big powerful man constantly thinking about how much he’d like to submit; imagine that it isn’t always that simple.
Imagine a fandom that appears to be in love with researching history.
Imagine a fandom whose fic often maneuvers the characters into equal relationships before porn commences.
Imagine a fandom wherein understanding and accepting cultural differences is a common theme for the fic.
I’m getting a little ahead of myself (this takes place in about 120 A.D.) but it’s such a good movie and it ties in a lot of what we’re learning about regarding Rome and it’s military (and what they stole from the greeks- note the phalanx formation and the huge emphasis on honor). Also though it doesn’t specify, I’m guessing that the “painted people” (as they are called in the movie) are really the Etruscans? Starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell.
i mean, i know marcus slowly gains his trust and loyalty, and by the end of the movie they consider each other equals… but could anyone really blame esca if he’d chosen to carry on hating marcus through it all? marcus, who strives with every inch of his being to be the perfect roman, meets esca, who had everything he ever wanted or needed with his family, and his tribe - before rome destroyed it all, and tried its damnedest to destroy him, too.
when we’re first introduced to esca, it’s a complete case of ‘they’ve taken my body and they’ll take my life, but they can’t have me - they can’t have my thoughts or my actions’. esca has no agency at all in this situation, yet he decides he’ll make sure his last act is his own - that he dies the way he chooses to die, within the horrendously limited constraints of the gladiator ring.
and then marcus goes and takes even that away from him. to esca at this point, marcus saving him isn’t an act of mercy or kindness. it only forces him to suffer more under the control of rome. no wonder he’s angry. like he says, he hates everything marcus stands for.
but esca is honourable, and he abides to his own codes (again, within the extremely limited framework rome gives him to work with). he can’t be a warrior, he can’t be free, he can’t be who he was meant to be, but he’ll do his utmost to live up to his ideals anyway.
of course, it’s his honour that gains him marcus’s respect, but i think the same works the other way round, too. but esca doesn’t entirely understand marcus’s very roman concepts of honour.
like, when marcus kills the british child after esca tries to let him go. i think it’s interesting that esca’s POV is the one that’s most understandable here. for a minute, whatever else the film actually implies about rome as an empire, here we see it entirely through esca’s eyes:
but obviously, by the end of the movie, esca and marcus have both learned a little more about each other, and about themselves. they’re less rigidly bound to their original social and cultural contexts; esca starts to feel kinship towards marcus once they’re on a more even playing field, and that leads him to a more sympathetic view of rome - he places his father’s knife on guern’s pyre, and this acts as a symbol of his respect for both his british heritage (guern being adopted into a british tribe) and for rome.
i truly think that esca at the end of the movie considers himself to be marcus’s equal (and vice versa). they’ve earned that, having been through something impossible for outsiders to understand. and that’s exactly why i worry about esca post-movie. because rome doesn’t understand their relationship; rome doesn’t understand that esca isn’t worthy of freedom because of his loyalty, or his fulfilment of his duty, or his honour. esca is worthy of freedom because he is a human being, and no human being deserves to have their autonomy utterly stripped away from them.
(tl; dr) esca is the best and is worthy of every good thing in the world, tbh.
I’ve seen a few posts going around lately with all the pretty book maps and decided to do my own with some of my favorites because who doesn’t love book maps?
The maps are from Ranger’s Apprentice, The Lord of the Rings, Six of Crows, The Kingkiller Chronicle, The Queen’s Thief series, Inkheart, The Books of Bayern, The Eagle of the Ninth, The Princess Bride, A Song of Ice and Fire, and The Inheritance Cycle.