Monday, September 05, 2005

HBO's Rome

Watching tonight's installment of Rome on HBO was almost painful. What a great opportunity to use one of the greatest stories depicting the development of human civilization and translate it to the small screen. Unfortunately, the reality is very different. It plods along with bad dialogue, choppy scenes, and little depth. And, I assure you that in ancient Rome there was plenty of plot that could have been culled. I also greatly question the liberties that were taken to spice up the show's plot line. How far they go adrift from truth is at great question and at what cost to the show's integrity.

We all like a little spice in a production, but this one is heavily laden with gratuitous violence, sex, and well, sex. I have no problem with sex mind you......but when it does not add to the storyline it just gets in the way. Tonight the show was sloppily cut from one sex scene to next without dialogue or seque.

In addtion, what is up with the ridiculous need to always have Romans speak with a thick British accent. This is hard to understand considering the Romans spoke Latin, the precurser of Italian. Would it not make more sense if they spoke English but with the proper accent? One that was descendant of a romance language? It drives me crazy to hear cockney spoken in the slums of Rome as if this were written and directed by Shakespeare and was performed in Piccadilly.

The only things I find truly worthwhile are the beautifully erected and somewhat authentic sets that were built and the beautifully elaborate costuming. They add greatly to the series and in some ways carry it.

In tonight's episode the entire fate of the Roman empire and it's decline into civil war was predicated upon the accidental mishaps of two rogue soldiers. Oops. Not at all inspiring. Sounds like the far-fetched fable of Mrs. O'Leary's cow.

I will continue watching, I suppose, but find it a shame that this great opportunity was missed to update a tale that is the basis of western civilization. This is not up to HBO's standards... especially considering all the wonderful series we have been given in recent years by this adventurous producer.


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