Review #508 of 365
Movie Review of The Last Legion (2007) [PG-13] 110 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $12.00
Where Viewed: United Artists Denver Pavilions Stadium 15, Denver, CO
When 1st Seen: 20 August 2007
Time: 8:05 pm
DVD Release Date: 18 December 2007 (click date to purchase or pre-order)
Film's Official Website • Film's Trailer
Soundtrack: order the CD below
Directed by: Doug Lefler (Dragonheart: A New Beginning)
Screenplay by: Jez Butterworth (Birthday Girl) • Tom Butterworth (Birthday Girl) with story by Carlo Carlei, Peter Rader, and Valerio Manfredi
Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Colin Firth (Nanny McPhee) • Ben Kingsley (Lucky Number Slevin) • Aishwarya Rai (Dhoom:2) • Peter Mullan (Children of Men) • Kevin McKidd (Hannibal Rising) • John Hannah (Cold Blood 2) • Iain Glen (Kingdom of Heaven) • Thomas Sangster (Tristan + Isolde) • Rupert Friend (Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont) • Nonso Anozie (Prime Suspect: The Final Act) • Owen Teale (Tsunami: The Aftermath) • Alexander Siddig (The Nativity Story) • Robert Pugh (Kinky Boots) • James Cosmo (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)
Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word or less review of this film]
Read the spoiler points.
"not destined to join the ranks of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Gladiator, nor Braveheart, The Last Legion entertains sufficiently to warrant a screening at early matinee prices "
While somewhat predictable, the twists in the story are fun. This is a relatively typical fantasy formula, though the Director and writer did prove to create a more inclusive army (see spoiler points again), and a tale was more interesting than one might suspect given the tendency to recycle too much in films of this genre. One thing that was a tad lacking was the excitement normally aroused by a great and victorious battle as well as the ingenious techniques invented to hold off a superior enemy. The film, perhaps, spent too much time on the travel sequences between spots that added little to the action of the story. As for the acting, Colin Firth was a bit too tentative at times in his portrayal of Aurelius to believe he was a great hero. Moreover, it was clear that his physical fitness was not up to par with either the others in his troops. He seemed to be in constant struggle to perform the physical feats required of Aurelius. Ben Kingsley was his typical wry self. There seems to be no role ever conceived that he won't find a way to play brilliantly. This character does not expect much from his talents, but he gives far more with mystical layers that eventually provide much of the story's enchanting surprise. While a bit far down on the cast list in the credits as children typically are, young Thomas Sangster as Romulus Augustus has one of the most difficult roles to play in the film. He is both the most powerful man in the world as far as his people know; and, yet, he's all too well informed that Rome has had 5 emperors in the past 5 years. The odds for him are not too good to reach his next birthday. He had the blood of a Cesar, but he lacks the stature and experience, much less the fighting skills to protect himself from harm. You Mr. Sangster portrays Romulus with a valiant vulnerability that he later transforms into a superior wisdom and charismatic understanding of true nobility. For such a young chap, with such great expectations necessary from him, he probably does a better job than most of the adults in the film. The other standout in the film is Aishwarya Rai as Mira on loan to the filmmakers from Bollywood, the former Miss World, is considered to be one of the best actresses in India. Her warmth and depth of charm and considerable beauty mask the inner fighter within (see the spoiler points for more on her role). She truly makes this film memorable in so many positive ways.
In the end, while director Doug Lefler has not made a film destined to join the ranks of The Lord of the Rings trilogy in the area of fantasy nor Gladiator nor Braveheart in the area of ancient war battles; and, while The Last Legion might have made a more brilliant Australian mini-series instead of this feature, it entertains sufficiently to warrant a screening at early matinee prices.
Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word review of this film]
Other Projects Featuring The Last Legion (2007)
Colin Firth • Ben Kingsley • Aishwarya Rai
Peter Mullan • Kevin McKidd • John Hannah
Iain Glen • Thomas Sangster • Rupert Friend
Nonso Anozie • James Cosmo • Alexander Siddig
Jez Butterworth • Tom Butterworth