Spartacus: Blood and Sand - Season 1

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Sex and Violence, and the Glory That Was Rome! SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND

Sep 24, 2010 (Updated Jun 15, 2012)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Action Factor:
  • Special Effects:
  • Suspense:

Pros:Gripping story, realistic gore, and sex.  Full frontal nudity.  Gay Sex.

Cons:Historically accurate?  Not for kids, or the squemish.

The Bottom Line: For a made for STARZ series, it is remarkably good; gripping stories awash in blood and other bodily fluids.


Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

Spartacus: Blood and Sand (2010) Created by Steven S. DeKnight
 
A Thracian man, living a good life, hard but rewarding with his wife, Sura (Erin Cummings), is impressed into the Roman Army.  General Claudius Glaber (Craig Parker) is determined to win glory (and gold) for his future career, and he brings the Thracians in as canon fodder.  Of course, if Glaber were more concerned with doing his job than grabbing the glory, he probably wouldn't have messed up so bad the Thracians deserted, and Sura ended up in slavery.  And of course, so did the Thracians, for desertion.  Sometimes, you just can't win.
 
The Thracian is sold to one of the Gladiatorial Stables in Capua, to one Batiatus (John Hannah) who gives his purchase the name Spartacus (Andy Whitfield).   As Spartacus joins the Ludus he finds it hard and brutal.  It is run by Doctore (Peter Mensah), a champion Gladiator.  And though all men are in theory brothers on the sands, there are rivalries; particularly Crixus (Manu Bennett) star of the ludus.  But there are others; allies like the endebted Varro (Jai Courtney) big, blond and likable, and the scheming Ashur (Nick Tarabay) whose interests sometimes coincide.  And there are enemies.  Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) is the wife of Batiatus, and Crixus is her lover.  She is very protective of him, and Spartacus threatens his position as Primus.
 
But as scheming and manipulative as the House of Batiatus is, they are amateurs compared to the real Romans, the Glabers.  Lucretia sees Glaber's wife Ilithyia (Viva Bianca) as a rung on a ladder.  The casual distain they have for human life is amazing.  They are wonderful villains, the sort you love to loathe.
 
And then there is the sex and violence.  This is not Kurt Douglas' Spartacus.  This is the decadence that was Rome, soaked in blood and other bodily fluids.  There is gore galore, up close, splattering, gaping wounds, disembowelments, and decapitations with all the fountaining crimson.  The action actually slows as the blood flies, giving the production an almost comic book feel, and oddly, making the gore less brutal than if it played at full speed.  And it gives just as much weight to sex; copious nudity, male and female, frequently full frontal.  And there is sex.  Lots and lots of sex.  Honestly, the aesthetics are almost like slasher flick meets soft core porn.  And yet, to reduce it to those two factors cheapens what is really is, an intense historical drama.  It comes across as a snuff flick because that is the world it was set in.  That is the Rome that was; at least, it's seedy underbelly, where the gladiatorial ludus was part killer training ground, and part patrician ladies bordello.
 
But the real story here is the human drama, the plots and schemes of all these people as each seeks to use the others for their own ends.  Spartacus agrees to fight if Batiatus will hunt for his wife.  Batiatus wishes to climb the social ladder, building enough fame and wealth and patronage to join the upper crust.  His wife has the same ambitions, compounded with her lust for the beautiful gladiator, who at the same time is using her to secure a better life for himself, and possibly, freedom, both personal, and for the handmaiden Naevia (Lesley-Ann Brandt).  Varro fights to pay his gambling debts, and struggles with the separation from his wife.  And Ilithyia plots schemes, lies and betrays all to amuse Ilithyia.
 
Part soap opera, part history, part skin-flick, part blood-bath, this is the glory that was Rome.
 
And it will (hopefully) be returning.  Andy Whitfield has Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is not responding as well as could be hoped.  As he goes into his second batch of aggressive treatment, they are contemplating doing a prequel with House Batiatus and then, when the star can return, they will do the Slave Rebellion for season two.
 
If you loved Rome, but thought it didn't last long enough, here's another dose of Roman history to sink your teeth into.

Like Spartacus, this review is Lean-N-Mean at 666 words.
1st

Dedicated to the Memory of Andy Whitfield 1974-9/11/2011.  Requiem in Pacem, brave warrior.

Spartacus


Gay Movies:

La Mission***Burnt Money***8: The Mormon Propo$ition***In The Flesh***The Sensei***The 24th Day***Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon***ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction***East Side Story***Dorian Blues***Creatures From the Pink Lagoon***Satyricon***Ice Men***Richard O'Briens Rocky Horror Tribute Show***Prom Queen***The Kids are All Right***Between Love and Goodbye***The Mudge Boy***That Man: Peter Berlin***A Single Man***Almost Normal***Outing Riley***Outrage!***Law of Desire***Love is the Devil***Cowboy Junction***Horror in the Wind***Bedrooms and Hallways***Cut Sleeve Boys***Big Eden***For A Lost Soldier***Midnight Cowboy***Redwoods***The Massuer***Boy Culture***Breakfast With Scot***The Fluffer***Flesh***Little Ashes***L.I.E. ***Dorian Gray***9 Dead Gay Guys***Shank***I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry***Beautiful Boxer***Bangkok Love Story***Schoolboy Crush***Shelter***Back Soon***Dog Tags***Theft***The Mulligans***The Velvet Goldmine***Swashbuckler***Smoke Signals
***C'Thulhu***Milk***The Picture of Dorian Gray***Brideshead Revisited***Notes on a Scandal***RocknRolla***Mamma Mia!
***Priscillia: Queen of the Desert***The History Boys***Brokeback Mountain***The Broken Hearts Club*** Yaji and Kita: Midnight Pilgrims ***Surge of Power ***In & Out ***Mambo Italiano ***Touch of Pink ***To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar ***Wolves of Kromer ***Rocky Horror Picture Show ***Taboo ***Deathtrap 


Gay Themed Series:

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Dante's Cove
Hex
Carnivale Season One
Carnivale Season Two
Rome Season One
Rome Season Two
True Blood
True Blood: Season Two
The Book of Daniel: The Complete Series
Torchwood: Children of Earth
Torchwood: Season One


Gay Animation:

Pirate's Booty***Sensitive Pornograph***Loveless: The Complete Series***Loveless: Hope on the Run***Loveless: Soul of Chains***Loveless: Lost and Found***Embracing Love: A Cicada in Winter***Embracing Love: Cherished Spring ***Stonewall & Riot***Drawn Together Movie: The Movie***Drawn Together: Season 2***Drawn Together: Season 3


The Glory That Was Rome

Agora
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
The Eagle 
Centurion
Spartacus
Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Satyricon
Rome: Season One
Rome: Season Two
Hercules
Troy



BOOKS

Roman Blood
Sailing the Wine Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter
Oracle of the Dead
Under Vesuvius
A Point of Law
A Gladiator Only Dies Once
Pompeii


Recommend this product? Yes


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age


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