. I hope Angelina Jolie plays her as the highly intelligent and capable ruler she was instead of the usual scheming sex kitten Hollywood and Roman historical bias usually inflicts on us.
Most of my friends have no idea that a film like this actually exists. Well, it does. :p I remember watching this for the first time when I was eight years old and being completely enamored by the beauty of the costumes and the poignant and timeless romance between Egypt's most famous queen, Cleopatra, and two of Rome's most powerful men, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. The Taylor-Burton version is reserved for those who wish to revel in the beauty of old Hollywood; if you want to go closer to the actual telling of Cleopatra's story, this film is your best shot in seeing it come to life before your eyes.
It is the year 51 B.C. and Egypt has been thrown into turmoil. The throne has been usurped from Cleopatra (Varela), the oldest child of Pharaoh Ptolemy XII (although this isn't mentioned in the film, I did extra research to make my review factual :p) by her younger siblings, the ambitious Arsinoe (Voyagis) and the manipulated Ptolemy XIII (Clarke). Aiding them is Pothinus (Saxon), who wishes to control Egypt through the two royal siblings. Cleopatra is thrown into exile, but when the Roman leader Gaius Julius Caesar (Dalton) comes to inspect the trouble which has been brewing in the royal household, Cleopatra shows herself to the Roman and seduces him. Her plan works, and she gets total control of Egypt, dispatching her younger sister in the process (Ptolemy died while being chased by Roman soldiers). The alliance between Rome and Egypt remains unshakable, despite the fact that back in Rome, the Romans are opposing the closeness which has formed between Caesar and Cleopatra. When Caesar returns to Rome, he is faced with the threat of revolt, which ultimately explodes when Cleopatra, while on a courtesy visit to Rome, exposes the truth behind how much she and Caesar have gotten close: their out-of-wedlock son, Ptolemy Caesar (Francis-Lynch). Caesar's nephew, Octavian (Graves), whom he has named as his heir, becomes uneasy, and although he doesn't do anything to assassinate his uncle, he does not do anything to stop it either. The death of Caesar causes Cleopatra to return to Egypt, and when she learns that Mark Antony and Octavian are now ruling Rome, she quickly makes plans to turn Mark Antony to her cause. Like his predecessor, Mark Antony becomes smitten with the exotic queen. However, the two meet their demise in the hands of Octavian, but before she can be taken back to Rome to be paraded around as the prize of Octavian's conquests, Cleopatra kills herself from the bite of the cobra.
Wow wow wow. I cannot say enough about this one. Where to start? First, Varela's acting was breathtaking. She can be a seductress and a queen hell bent on maintaining the power of her country by selling herself to men in power. Dalton's turn as Caesar was very believable; his age didn't do anything to diminish the fact that although he was the leader of the most powerful nation during those times, he was still vulnerable. Zane's known for being passionate in his films, and here he makes no exception. Graves... well, although I know that he was supposedly portraying one of the greatest Roman emperors, his portrayal made me think if Augustus Caesar was truly a great emperor... nah, I'm kidding. :DDD Loved everything about it. And if you are really truly quick to spot people who you never thought you'd end up seeing in a film, let's see if you can spot Oded Fehr in this one. ;;) Watch it; even if you still think the Taylor-Burton Cleopatra owns, I'm sure you'll enjoy this one. If only for the historical factor. :P