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Spartacus: Gods of the Arena [Blu-ray]
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The title is misleading--there is no Spartacus to be found here--but little matter, as Gods of the Arena is a prime example of making lemonade from lemons. Faced with the unavailability of Andy Whitfield, star of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, due to a recurrence of cancer, the folks at Starz chose to go ahead without him and create a prequel, a resourceful way of buying some time until a new Spartacus could be found while employing several actors already under contract. The focus throughout these six episodes is on the house of Batiatus. It is there that gladiators hone their skills as they prepare for glory and/or death in the arena under the evil eye of Quintus Batiatus (John Hannah), whom Blood and Sand viewers will recognize as the principal villain of that series. The younger Batiatus, already blindly ambitious, wants to make his mark in the gladiator biz, aided by his sexy, scheming wife, Lucretia (Lucy Lawless), and her licentious friend Gaia (Jaime Murray)--and they have just the warrior to do it with in Gannicus (Dustin Clare), a preening stud described by one show exec as "Han Solo meets Achilles." There are, of course, numerous obstacles, ranging from Batiatus's own father to various rival gladiatorial operations. But really, who cares about plotting when a show has as much sex and violence, usually directly juxtaposed, as this one? True to the Blood and Sand precedent, every episode offers a steady parade of gratuitous, risibly over-the-top beheadings and other mayhem, much of it lovingly shot in slow motion, along with ample nudity (some of it full-frontal) and sex (all of it soft-core). With drugs, torture, and constant profanity also in the mix (who knew the ancient Romans dropped so many F-bombs?), this is definitely not a program for the young and impressionable. Nor is it one that's big on nuance; almost without exception, Batiatus and his ilk are depicted as frivolous, depraved, and conniving, while the gladiators and slaves are lowly but noble (not to mention as gloriously muscled and sweaty as your average Chippendales dancer). But this isn't a documentary--it's entertainment, and on that level, Gods of the Arena totally works. --Sam Graham
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So many revelations come to us while watching this series. Batiatus and Lucretia, while still rather despicable characters, display the human struggle to which we all fall prey. There are family squabbles Roman-style, inlaw situations, fertility issues, family business problems. Here we are enticed to feel some of the angst Batiatus has trying to be "the good son", to equal if not outdo his father's success. His marriage to Lucretia against his father's wishes is a thorn in his side. However, it is not his wife who causes him this pain. Lucretia while scheming, arrogant and sometimes cruel will support her man to the very end....and she does! Watching this family's dynamic is like watching a reality show today...mesmerising!
Perhaps, some wonder if the lack of the character of Spartacus himself would not weaken this series...absolutely not! In the footsteps of all those gladiators before and after him, Gannicus too takes up the sword. Excellently played by Dustin Clare, Gannicus gives us everything we hope for in a hero. He is physically awesome, easy on the eye and an in-depth, fully-rounded character in his own right. Gannicus is perhaps a conglomerate of all gladiators and in his plight we can follow that track on which they are proplelled by fate. To train, to fight, to live for the glory and blood and agony of the arena, that was the life of a gladiator. Few were given their freedom at the end of a glorious career.Read more ›
IN MY OPINION THE BEST OR SECOND BEST OF ALL THE SEASONS. HOPEFULLY THE CREATORS WILL COME UP WITH SPIN OFFS AND DELIGHT US WITH MORE GANNICUS ;)
YES THERE IS BLOOD AND GORE BUT NOT OVER KILL SINCE IT IS ABOUT GLADIATORS. WHILE LIBERTIES ARE TAKEN REGARDING LIFE IN ROMAN ETC. IT STILL IS A WHILEWHILE PURCHASE
By the way, Gannicus character is awesome.
Most recent customer reviews
Best show in my opinion! Great acting, great writing and great cinematography!!!Published 24 months ago by Henry Bada
I know this is the "beginning". Its not bad - lots of fight scenes in it and really tells the story from before Spartacus and how the other characters play out.Published on Jan. 7 2014 by tinyfreckles