(Review originally written at 28 March 2008)

This is one grand looking and made movie, with plenty of mass sequences, impressive sets and costumes and a story that just screams epic.

It's pretty nice to see how some early film-makers got influenced by this movie. Film-makers such as Fritz Lang, D.W. Griffith, who were also all pioneers by themselves. They were obviously inspired by some of the sequences, its scale, sets and compositions, since this movie in some of its sequences show some definite similarities to some sequences in movies such as "Metropolis" and "Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages". Only in that regard you can already call this movie an innovative and important movie. Its sets, compositions and just overall way of story-telling were all quite new and innovating for its time. It's also the first ever movie to use a dolly-track system, which provides the movie with a couple of nice moments as well.

The movie its story is very epic, since it's set at many different locations, with also many different characters. It features historical well known figures such as Hannibal, Hasdrubal, Scipio, Archimede, Massinissa, which makes the movie real interesting but is also one of its weaker points, since it makes the movie and its story-telling a bit disjointed at parts.

It perhaps also makes the movie feel overlong in parts, even though the movie is only about 2 hours long (well, depending on which version you'll watch), which is actually quite short for an epic movie, especially for one that got made early in the 20th century. 4 hour epics from the same time period are no rarity. The movie just goes on for a bit too long with some of its sequences. After a while you get the point but the scene will just go on and on. It doesn't always makes this an easy but pleasant movie to watch.

But overall the movie of course is pleasant as well as impressive, not only because of its visuals but also because of its story that is actually quite adventurous, as long as it knows to focus on the movie its key players. It's adventurous in the same way as a movie like "Ben-Hur" for instance.

Also especially when you realize that this is an 1914 movie, it's a real excellent, innovative and interesting, fun movie to watch.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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