Samstag, 27. Dezember 2008

TV-Guide Descriptions Of History Movies

Hollywood movies on world history events are often criticized for their historic inaccuracies. Many of those inaccuracies, at least when they are of a minor kind, are fine for me as long as it's clear they are intended for some good reason, e.g. a better storyline.

I noticed that kind of criticism lately in Austria's most widespread tv-guide. "Director A did this wrong, Director B did not adhere to historic facts", and so on. Which is kind of ironic, given the fact the same tv-guide tends to mess up facts as well. Major facts. And they do so without any logical reason.

Two recent examples:

Movie "The Gladiator" (2000): The tv-guide's movie description referred to the battle scene at the beginning as "Battle of the Teutoburg Forest". But the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (AKA "Varusschlacht" in German) took place in the 9 A.D. when Augustus was emperor. Marcus Aurelius, the dying emperor in "Gladiator", reigned from 161 A.D. to 180 A.D., and was involved in the so-called Marcomannic Wars at this time (he actually died in the city of Vindobona, today's Vienna). The movie at no point mentions the Teutoburg Forest.

Movie "Alexander" (2004): Here they talked about Anthony Hopkin's role as Ptolemy, and state that "he was Alexander the Great's teacher". That's nonsense. As everyone and his sister knows, Aristotle was Alexander's teacher, a fact that is shown and repeated several times during the movie (Christopher Plummer plays Aristotle). Ptolemy was a childhood friend, then one of Alexander's most capable generals, and ended up being Pharao in Egypt in the political and military turmoil following Alexander's death. This was the foundation of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt, with Cleopatra among its most famous members.