Titus - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Titus Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 27, 2012
My favorite Shakespeare movie. Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange are terrific. Visually impressive.
DragonEyeMorrison
Super Reviewer
½ April 30, 2007
Fantastic crazy fun, Shakespeare was truly ahead of it's time. Hopkins was great, same goes for the rest of the cast, specially Lennix and Cumming.
bbcfloridabound
Super Reviewer
April 18, 2009
I was captured once tied and beaten for 3 days, I suffered less pain from that, then this movie. But it just goes to show you I WILL WATCH ANYTHING! Have to admit that the costumes were out of this world, and Anthony Hopkins proves he can play any part with 100 percent success, but I can only put one star on it, Now will someone take of these handcuffs and untie me.
Super Reviewer
½ March 21, 2009
OH EM GEE Julie Taymor. You too, Will. I've never read this Shakespeare play and after seeing this textually faithful adaption (from what I hear), I don't understand why the play isn't more popular. It's like Sin City set in the Roman Empire. Amoral people committing violent acts for violence's sake. Heroes brought down by tragic flaws of hubris and nearsightedness. Inexplicable sacrifice made in the name of honor, revenge, piety. And the dialogue is hella sexy:
Chiron: "You have undone our mother."
Aaron: "Villain, I have done thy mother."
Taymor's mishmash of genres and periods is so convoluted, yet compelling. I could have done without the little boy guide though.
Super Reviewer
½ November 4, 2007
A very post modern version of one of Shakespeare's bloodiest tragedies, with all the well known ingredients: betrayal, murder, intrigues, revenge and revenge for revenge, really mean villains and broken heroes. The set and prop design refuses to be entirely antique or modern and mixes old ruins with motorcycles, guns with armor, which makes for a really gorgeous, unique look. The cinematography of the film is just as beautiful, the soundtrack changes from classic drama scores to catchy jazz tunes, which creates some rather strong changes in mood. It's the rather bizarre and oddly humorous and symbolic scenes that do not quite work as well as the rest of this great adaption, but that's only a small minority of the whole 155 minutes. The whole cast gives really strong performances and when Titus reveals his final plot of revenge it's quite clear why Anthony Hopkins is truly perfect for the role, considering who else he played in movie history...
Heavy, bloody and weird stuff but in the end very rewarding for Shakespeare fans with an open mind for new interpretations, just like Luhrman's Romeo and Juliet.
Super Reviewer
½ January 15, 2008
A decent adaptation of Shakespeare's most bloodthirsty play, "Titus Andronicus". Julie Taymor's refusal to stick to a specific historical setting or cinematic style creates some beautiful and dazzling images, however these anachronistic and stylistic juxtapositions sometimes jar and distract one from Shakespeare's dialogue, which demands close attention from most of us. The plot is almost too grisly to be taken seriously, so the film is wise to opt for a blackly comic tone for the most part. Anthony Hopkins is fine as Titus, particularly moving when pleading for the lives of his two sons, framed for the murder of Bassianus. Alan Cumming was an odd choice for Saturninus, more closely resembling, as he does, a child throwing a temper-tantrum than a wrathful Emperor. For me, Harry Lennix delivers the best performance of anyone as Aaron, the Moor. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers could well be the most irritating actor ever to draw breath, and I would have liked his death scene to have been more protracted and far nastier.
puffchunk
Super Reviewer
½ November 19, 2007
A bunch of guys do a bunch of stuff, then they have an orgie and eat people.
Super Reviewer
June 19, 2007
Very underated and visually captivating.
Super Reviewer
½ July 4, 2006
A very strange adaptation of one of Shakespeare's lesser-known plays. Anthony Hopkins is great and Taymor's direction is beautiful...the opening scene is classic.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ October 5, 2007
[font=Century Gothic]"Titus" starts with General Titus Adronicus(Anthony Hopkins) returning to Rome from a great victory over the Goths led by Queen Tamora(Jessica Lange). To start the festivities, he sacrifices her first born son to the gods which does not make her happy. After the death of the emperor, Titus is offered the position but he declines in favor of Saturninus(Alan Cumming) whose first decree is to marry Lavinia(Laura Fraser), Titus' daughter, but she is the true love of Bassianus(James Frain), the emperor's brother. Saturninus acquiesces and instead marries Tamora.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]William Shakespeare's violent play, "Titus" comes close to being about blowback and that our actions always have repercussions but regretfully takes the low road by implying that it is best to make sure all of one's enemies have been killed, lest they seek revenge and make one's life generally unpleasant. Julie Taymor imbues that general framework with her rich visual talents into creating a world that lies between Ancient Rome and the modern day.(I would have gone for Fascist Italy but would that have been too obvious?) Occasionally, she does go too far, and the movie verges on camp, especially in the casting of Alan Cumming. And though Anthony Hopkins is very, very good, especially in the later scenes, he does not strike me as having the gravitas of a military man.[/font]
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ August 9, 2012
And yet more Shakespearean tragedy pertaining to a high-status Roman. Actually, if you think about it, maybe Shakespeare wasn't so much big into tragedies, as much as he was just big into Italy, so I suppose the real tragedy is that he reportedly never made it to his dream vacation spot. Well, he boasts a legacy as one of the most influential writers in history, so I suppose his is a tragedy that ends better sweetly, and is certainly more hopeful than Julie Taymor's tragic Shakesperean tale. I'd imagine that poor girl was really riding on the hopes of being "the" female Shakespeare filmmaker, but then she just ends up making a mixed-reviewed $20 million flop that barely made $2 million back. Eh, well, plenty of people still dig this film anyways, and plus, she got to hang out with Anthony Hopkins, and that would be just dandy with me, just as long as he didn't start eating me, seeing as how, well, you, he chews up so much scenery. Oh no, don't get me wrong, it's a good kind of scenery-chewing that's not really overacting, but it's scenery-chewing, nevertheless, so much so that this film's poster features Hopkins looking as though he ate his way into a wall of clay, or stone, or whatever that is around his face. In that poster, he really does look pretty sad and stuck in something, probably because, by this time in the '90s, he was still trying to recover from the financial flop that was "Nixon" and critical underwhelmer that was "Meet Joe Black" (I and plenty of other people still liked it, but it did get pretty cornball after a while, and that film runs way more than a while), he seriously needed this film to be the hit that it wasn't, which is a shame, because I still like it just fine, though I certainly didn't miss some of the things that I could see keeping audience attendance slowed down a bit, because most moviegoers aren't quite as weird as Julie Taymor appears to be

The film opens up with a modern-day young boy with a paper bag over his head playing a messy game of war with food and toys until a bomb blows in the window next to him and a strange man comes to his rescue, rushing him out the door into an old Roman colosseum and presenting him to a roaring, invisible crowd, before the credits begin to role to a synchronized march by an enterting Terracotta-esque army that precedes a victory speech by Anthony Hopkin's Titus Andronicus character, and at that point, you should know what to expect: anything, and for it to not always work. Okay, now, the film's strange moves are commendably unique and, much more often than not, not all that trippy, yet when things do get especially trippy, they don't fit, feeling forced into the film to where substance dilutes, style takes over and you're momentary taken out of the film, based on style-over-substance alone, let alone based on the simple fact that the trippier moments of this film are just plain too trippy. Still, it's hard to fully connect with this film consistently, as Julie Taymor, as director, makes the common mistake of celebrating Shakespearean dialect and histrionics much to much, to where it doesn't always organically bond with the substance as relatively down-to-earth, but instead feels almost arrogantly overemphasized and isolated from the substance, thus creating a sense of disconnect that expels the audience's investment. This disconnect leaves the film to lose quite a bit of steam and even dull down a smidge, which of course makes what handful of actually slow spots there are all the more dull, for although there aren't nearly as many actual slow spots as I expected, when this film slows down, it all but falls to a crawl. All of these missteps deliver some hefty blows to the film's intrigue, yet what might very well be the straw that breaks the camel's back is simply the film's rarely picking up, and with the film being as considerably lengthy as it is, it can only lose steam as it progresses. For every major turn down a dark path of steam loss, there is a compensation that keeps the film from collapsing too deep into blandness, yet that just means that the film often keeps a consistent level of intrigue, which really isn't all that high, due to the disengaging overstylizing and dull disconnects, made worse by slow occasions, and after a while of this, the film fully secures its position as both an underwhelming Shakespeare film and underwhelming film debut for Julie Taymor. Still, as I said, for every fault, there is a strength, and just enough for this film to stand firm as, maybe not much more than decent, but enjoyable nonetheless, particularly as a style piece.

The film is, if nothing else, extremely stylish, and in many various fashions that are both detrimental and commendable, with one of your more commendable style pieces being Luciano Tovoli's photography, which really isn't all that special, but has its moments of slickly nifty lighting, coloring and, especially, staging that catch your eye. More consistent in being attractive are, of course, the production designs, which still don't grace every nook and cranny of this world, considering the film's time setting - whatever in the world it is -, but stand out in every scene they're prominently featured in, being cleverly intricate and dazzlingly unique, while playing a large part in bringing to life Julie Taymor's strange world, which is, in and of itself, a stylistic choice, and one that decidedly stands out the most, both for the wrong reasons and right reasons. We've seen Shakespeare adapted in various timelines, whether they be the time implied in Shakespeare's original writings or anywhere from the 18th century to, well, pretty much last week, but I don't know if there's ever been a Shakespearean world this all over the place, to where ancient Rome goes married with modern day and many other notable eras in between, and while such stylistic choices as those don't always work, especially when even trippier aspects come into play, they often do work, or if nothing else, consistently breathe uniqueness into this film so intense that, with all of the moments where things get so weird that it knocks you out of the film, you're typically pulled into Julie Taymor's bizarre Shakespeare world even more. Taymor crafts a film that ranges from strangely unique to just plain strange, but is rather interesting either way, and Taymor makes it all the more so with what she does do right as director, for although her visions go tainted by overambition and some botched approaches, she ultimately keeps things together in a generally tight manner, and when she couples that with moments in which she finds a firm grip on atmosphere, the film becomes fairly entertaining, if not rather engrossing, particularly during the actually pretty strong and, well, pretty messed up final act (Capped off with one of the most graceful and longest walk-into-the-sunrise shots I've seen in a while). Sadly, these moments are too few and far between, yet between these moments rest a consistent degree of inspiration in Taymor's flawed direction that keeps the film reasonably well-done, from a story standpoint, while the people who keep the film reasonably well-done from a character standpoint are, well, the people behind the characters, even if they have little to do. There are plenty of workmanlike performances and a fair couple of genuinely good performances, with Anthony Hopkins standing out the most, yet there is no performance that stands out terribly far on a general level, though everyone has some degree of distinct charm that defines his or her character as distinctive and memorably colorful, thus leaving the film to succeed on an aspect that has always been crucial in Shakespeare's plays and their adaptations: the character aspect, which is handled well enough by the performers and by director Julie Taymor for you to find yourself further invested in the story, though perhaps not quite to where the film transcends merely decent. The film is a mess, and I was hoping for better, yet what I ended up finding was a nevertheless enjoyable film - flawed though it may be - that may not sustain your investment, or even your full attention, but keeps you going just enough for you to ultimately find yourself enjoying yourself more often than not.

In conclusion, Julie Taymor's vision is a bizarre one, with over-the-top stylistic choices that often go too far over the top, to the point of repelling your investment, a situation exacerbated by an overwhelming overemphasis on Shakespeare's text that often leaves dialogue and certain action to disconnect from the substance, and therefore disconnect the audience all but throughout the lengthy runtime, while slowing down the film considerably until, after a while, the film finds itself limping along the simple straight line of underwhelmingness, though nevertheless decent, as the film goes supported by a reasonably attractive visual style, often attractive production designs and a consistently, if nothing else, rather interestingly bizarre and unique story style that creates a moderate degree of intrigue, intensified by inspired moments in Julie Taymor's direction and a reasonably memorable cast of colorfuls, thus leaving "Titus" to stand as an, albeit off-puttingly strange, but generally enjoyably unique take on a Shakespeare classic.

2.5/5 - Fair
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
½ October 8, 2015
Titus is a very uneven production where the positives outweigh the negatives. The 90s, early 20th century, and Roman era are combined to make for a surreal, fanciful, and often grotesque aesthetic. The acting and directing are at times strong and at others weak. Anthony Hopkins and Harry Lennix both give memorable performances. More recommended to those who enjoy experimental productions than to those who are looking for a classical rendition.
Super Reviewer
½ September 8, 2007
So very odd. Titus Andronicus is considered by many to be Shakespeare's worst play. I tend to disagree, because it's violent nature leads to interesting adaptations, like this film. The performances are little over the top but that works in this play because what happens to the characters is so ridiculous in many respects that it almost requires insane performances. An all around good adaption.
FanGirl
Super Reviewer
½ March 25, 2007
Probably my favorite Shakespeare to film. When it comes to sick twisted violence no body does it better than old Will. ;)
March 29, 2016
Titus has a spectacular vision and some hints of brilliance, but the director took too much artistic license with the play. It has a grand and extravagant scope, filled with colors and elaborate costumes and awesome music, but it's also too theatrical and weird. It has some ferocious moments and bloody violence that keep it grounded in its gripping story, but mostly the film is a lot of frilly hysterics and jarring visual effects. The dopey emperor and the two sons are ridiculous, some of the timeless props are disorienting (cars, motorcycles, guns) and most of the visual metaphors are really odd. It sort of feels like a Shakespeare play blended with a Tim Burton, Edward Scissorhands kind of movie. I thought some of the casting was pretty bad and they should've kept the story in Ancient Rome.

That isn't to say that it doesn't have its moments. Anthony Hopkin's performance is reliably compelling and Tamora's fiery aside at the beginning is awesome. Aaron is actually my favorite character in the film, though. He's cold, terrifying and he fully accepts his villainy. His line where he tells Lucius that his only regret was not doing a thousand more awful acts was awesome. I also really liked some of the aesthetic elements because the costumes had a lot of luxurious style and the settings were richly drawn, even though I disagreed with the choice to include multiple time periods. The film has a lot of energy and style, but it's too artsy and not grounded enough in its very gritty story.
½ February 23, 2007
This film was my first exposure to director Julie Taymor, and I have to say that I loved her stylish and colorful adaptation of Shakespeare's work, so I'm doubly happy to have finally revisited it on Blu-ray, because that presentation really pops.

Recommended.
½ November 13, 2014
***Due to the recent RT changes that have basically ruined my past reviews, I am mostly only giving a rating rather than a full review.***
½ May 1, 2014
While abridging may seem sacrilegious in a Shakespeare adaptation, a few more cuts may have been necessary in what is otherwise a stellar adaptation of one of the Bard's lesser works.
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