Monday, June 04, 2012

Top Five Battle Scenes

Ancient warfare is a difficult thing to represent on screen. Hoplite warfare in particular, which consisted largely of pushing and shoving, does not work cinematically (in one battle scene in 300, they give it a good go for a minute or two before saying to heck with it and going into comic-book-style slo-mo). And a good battle scene is quite hard to do under any circumstances, needing a combination of close action featuring our heroes and villains and sweeping shots of the battle as a whole (see for example every battle scene in The Lord of the Rings).

Military history is very much not my area, so these have not been chosen for their fidelity to ancient battle tactics. Nor have they been chosen necessarily for artistic merit or violence level - I'm not that into gore or screen violence. I like scenes that surprise me or that feature powerful character development, or a fresh angle on an old trope, or something like that. Or that just end with one army turning into a pile of dust. Whatever.