“The Eagle Is Not A Piece Of Metal. The Eagle Is Rome.”
“Focus Features, You Still Yet To Disappoint Me.”
“Self Destrust Sequence Activated”
“An Interesting Historical Drama That Attempts Contemporary Symbolism With Its Unique Casting But Eventually Falls Short Of Its Goal. Channing Tatum Is Respectable In His Role But Ultimately Is Over-shadowed By The Other Performers In The Film.”
“Likes Or Dislikes About The Eagle Will Be Based On How You Feel About Channing Tatum.”
Likes or dislikes about The Eagle will be based on how you feel about Channing Tatum.
Julian Roman - MovieWeb
The director's documentary background informs his almost reportorial attention to landscape, fighting technique, and especially the wild, fascinating otherness of the peoples beyond the reach of Rome.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
Lumbering along for a bit less than two hours, which passes like three, it feels more like a chore than like an adventure.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
The Eagle appeals to my older self while retaining what made my childhood reading so stirring.
Philip French - Guardian [UK]
A decent, forthright, if finally uninspired sword'n'sandal drama, based on Rosemary Sutcliff's 1954 children's novel The Eagle of the Ninth.
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
Despite some breathtaking scenery and documentary-like realism, The Eagle ultimately falls to some surprising contrivances that seem written by focus groups.
Scott Bowles - USA Today
Becomes absurd precisely when Channing Tatum marches onto the scene as a Roman army commander.
Stephanie Merry - Washington Post
This is a movie that needs a great or gonzo performer to give it depth or heft. In Channing Tatum, it has an actor who gives it camp.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
A thunderous boys' adventure of the old-school type.
J. Hoberman - Village Voice
Anthony Dod Mantle's cinematography is kinetic when it needs to be, ruminative and pretty when it doesn't. It looks good.
Amy Biancolli - Houston Chronicle
The latest sandals-and-swords outing, "The Eagle" has landed . . . with a thud.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
The Eagle fails to soar, thanks largely to Kevin Macdonald's unimaginative direction and Channing Tatum's charisma-challenged performance.
Kathleen Murphy - MSN Movies
Wild-eyed, long-haired Brits leap atop the Romans' shields as the soldiers blindly hack away, the bodies so close that you can barely tell the victor from the vanquished. The battles in the fog and rain have a hallucinatory power.
David Edelstein - New York Magazine
The story sags in the middle, as our wanderers traipse through the highlands-not a happy environment for Tatum, who, before his journey even begins, looks all at sea in this distant age.
Anthony Lane - New Yorker
"The Eagle" is a rip-snorting adventure tale of the sort made before CGI, 3-D and alphabet soup in general took the fun out of moviegoing.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Too often in "The Eagle," in which the Romans are played by American actors and the Britons are played by Brits, Tatum comes off like "second Roman warrior from the left" rather than "Roman warrior the film is about."
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
Exciting and even moving, this robust epic is filled with action, male bonding, and a terrifying sense of wilderness.
Michael Wilmington - Chicago Reader
A muscularly entertaining adventure inspired by Rosemary Sutcliff's historical fiction The Eagle of the Ninth, hugely popular in middle schools in the mid-20th century.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
Channing Tatum plays Marcus Aquila with an earnest furrowed brow that could indicate gravitas or constipation.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Alas, from its scruffy period melodrama to its repetitious battles and endless cross-country shots, this film is all grandiosity with no real heft.
Tom Long - Detroit News
To its credit, the film does attempt to grapple with the ambivalence that Europe and America feel toward the Roman Empire. We admire its cultural achievements while condemning its brutality, and in that tension we see our own ideals and failures reflected
Kerry Lengel - Arizona Republic
A codpiece-and-crossbow saga of relentlessly exciting battle sequences sandwiched between tedious, unconvincing chatter about cantankerous centurions, fiery feudal warriors and camera-ready six-pack abs modeled by hunky pinups...
Rex Reed - New York Observer
An earnest throwback to an earlier brand of filmmaking.
Brian Lowry - Variety
A long slog through ancient muck, so-so sword fights and dumb luck.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
For my money, "Centurion," using similar Scottish and Eastern European locations and with the formidable Michael Fassbender as its star Roman is a more rousing and entertaining movie.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
The greatest impediment of all is the square-jawed, flat-talking Tatum, who is so wooden he presents a fire hazard.
Linda Barnard - Toronto Star
Less epic than Gladiator, less ridiculous than last year's Centurion, less homoerotic than Top Gun (but just barely), this is perfectly acceptable matinee fodder.
Eric D. Snider - Film.com
The Eagle makes for an okay parent-and-young-son film outing. But you'll want to get your youngster the Sutcliff paperback.
Stephen Cole - Globe and Mail
"The Eagle" would be a lot more enjoyable if it weren't for the utterly incoherent action scenes and the side-of-beef performance from rising young hunk Channing Tatum as its supposedly brooding and wounded hero.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
Engaging, if straightforward and one-dimensional.
Todd McCarthy - Hollywood Reporter
It's hard to go along for the ride when the characters act more like statuary than people.
David Germain - Associated Press
If this episodic quest still manages to feel too flat and mild, at least it gives us the mysterious Highlands and the Celtic dirge of Atli Orvarsson's outstanding score.
Sheri Linden - Los Angeles Times
Inferior to the similar, based-n-the-same-history "Centurion."
Roger Moore - Movie Nation
It really all comes down to the story. Just like Tatum wasn't up to the task of bringing the character to life, the filmmakers weren't up to the task of bringing the story to life, and that makes all the difference.
Jeff Beck - Examiner.com
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
'The Eagle' will likely find a future life on the video shelves of high school history teachers looking for a semi-educational way to kill a couple of days worth of classes.
John Gholson - Cinematical
Fighting isn't big and it isn't clever. But, in the case of "The Eagle," it's the most interesting part of the movie.
Laurence Boyce - The Baltic Times
In the end The Eagle's flight is often striking, but a little erratic.
Andrew Simpson - Fan The Fire
Sadly not a movie about the big-chinned ski jumper Eddie Edwards, this underwhelming feature instead revolves around the 'Ted and Ralph' style bromance between a master and servant during the Roman occupation of England.
Ben Rawson-Jones - Digital Spy
...a distressingly uneven actioner that's rarely as entertaining as one might've hoped...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
It's almost new and interesting, but mostly just hints at some intriguing ideas.
Grae Drake - Movies.com
All the sturm and drang can't hide the obvious. "The Eagle" is "Gladiator" Lite, a low-budget costumer about honor and redemption ... handing your enemy his head on a shield.
Glenn Lovell - CinemaDope
Sam Bathe - Fan The Fire
- National Post
Mark Kermode - BBC Radio Five Live
It's a really earnest adventure set in the second century. And you know what that means. It means you have to tune your brain back to at least the 1950s.
Dave White - Movies.com
- Dark Horizons
As culture clashes go, this one should be filed under rout.
Charlotte O'Sullivan - This is London
Macdonald captures the Highlands setting beautifully and the two leads make a likeable pairing.
Alex Zane - Sun Online
Early on it's established that Tatum has a body fat ratio lower than most people's mortgage rates, but his humourless hero is hardly dynamic.
Siobhan Synnot - Scotsman
Tatum acquits himself admirably here, in a film that clearly intends to ensure Hollywood cheese is the last thing that comes to mind...
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Take Braveheart, Gladiator and Apocalypto, leave them to simmer in an iron-age pot and you've got The Eagle, a sword-swooshing slice of historical action that's plenty entertaining, if a touch familiar.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
The Eagle is not your typical sword and sandal epic. You could easily mistake it for a western, a war movie or even a timely commentary on the human casualties of 21st century conflict.
Allan Hunter - Daily Express
Based on the well-known novel 'The Eagle of the Ninth,' 'The Eagle' is a serviceable movie about the importance of honor and allegiance in ancient Rome.
Linda Cook - KWQC-TV (Iowa)
This looks like Ancient Rome as reinterpreted by the makers of Brokeback Mountain but with all the explicit gay sex taken out.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
While Bell is decent, Tatum is fatally wooden. I'm not really sure that he can act at all; he certainly fails to convince as a Roman soldier.
Coco Forsythe - Future Movies UK
Has all the ingredients of a terrific adventure thriller: an epic quest narrative, strong characters, the tangled interplay of pride, loyalty and masculinity.
Sukhdev Sandhu - Daily Telegraph
A boring Roman Top Gun.
Tom Seymour - Little White Lies
There's plenty of grit and craft on display here, yet somehow the result is never quite as rousing as you'd hope.
Trevor Johnston - Radio Times
This stilted view of 'Roman honour' is one big, phony cliche. Still, the fight sequences are good...
Mike Edwards - Obsessed With Film
The hero of the whole production is cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
Mike Edwards - What Culture
There's quite a bit to enjoy about The Eagle.
Roz Laws - Birmingham Post
It's best approached like a buddy movie with gold standards. Because, by Jupiter, it's the rapport between Tatum and Bell that lifts The Eagle beyond any derring-do.
Elliott Noble - Sky Movies
Despite strong, likeable performances from its two charismatic leads, The Eagle never quite takes flight and is ultimately brought down by a dull script, annoyingly edited fight sequences and a boring plot that places too much emphasis on trudging.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Best of all is Anthony Dod Mantle's breathtaking photography: the Scottish Highlands have never looked so eerily, threateningly beautiful.
Tom Huddleston - Time Out
SINCE the early days of cinema, great actors have found immortality by playing heroes of the Roman Empire. Charlton Heston, Richard Burton...and now the dormouse-eyed, muscly fella from a couple of dance films and that cack GI Joe thing.
Robbie Collin - News of the World
The plot may be corny sentiment, but the movie is rousing entertainment, with two engaging leads
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
Vivid cinematography and bromance between Channing and Jamie keep it standing strong.
- Total Film
Good fight scenes, but a confusion of plot, culture and accents make this a lesser example of the sword 'n' sandal epic.
Helen OHara - Empire Magazine
Jeremy Brock's script (from Rosemary Sutcliff's novel) begins well, but Brock evidently didn't read past page 42 ...
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
full review at Movies for the Masses
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
Perhaps inevitably, it lands as something of a cross-breed between 300 and The New World, which is to say it's both viscerally intoxicating and phantasmagorical.
Rob Humanick - Projection Booth
...an enjoyable film that in no way should be taken as historically literate, let alone accurate.
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Good direction and a decent cast help the shaky casting of Channing Tatum in this poor man's "Gladiator" that offers some twists and terrific scenery. Worth a rental.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
From what we see, Tatum's character is stubborn and foolish, and should be killed pretty quickly, and would be, were he not the main character.
Adam Lippe - Examiner.com
It strikes me more as exercise in style, really, than a completed film.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky - Ebert Presents At The Movies
While I did not think it were possible for any film to do a worse job in telling the story of the infamous Ninth Legion of the Roman Empire than Centurion, The Eagle does a pretty bang-up job of achieving that status.
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
The combination of battle tactics, subterfuge, and mystery solving while master and slave become friends and equals makes for an enjoyable story.
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
If we're forced to choose one contemporary Romans 'n' barbarians movie, this is the one.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
An adventuresome frolic that sticks to the formulas and provides an entertaining slugfest.
Ron Wilkinson - Monsters and Critics
Fierce yet fragmented, slogging through the story of colliding cultures and one centurion's quest to regain family honor.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
Before a lame, boilerplate ending, "The Eagle" uses calm interludes and intriguing performances to create character traits and compelling drama about caste systems and camaraderie - not just connective tissue to shattered cartilage or bashed brains.
Nick Rogers - Suite101.com
Showing Scotland as wild and forbidding as it must have in the 2nd Century, this is an entertaining adventure made tantalizing by the speculation based on real facts.
Tony Medley - Tolucan Times
Tatum and Bell are good in their roles but the movie just plods along even in its battle sequences
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
It still looks like guys in the woods doing historical re-enactments.
Fred Topel - Screen Junkies
The acting is lame, and the characters lack depth. The movie's strengths are the authentic costuming and the breathtaking scenery of Scotland and Hungary.
Keith Cohen - Entertainment Spectrum
Unfortunately, the storytelling falters throughout and The Eagle, despite its grandeur, turns out to be Macdonald's most disappointing effort.
Steve Ramos - Boxoffice Magazine
Its intelligence, as well as the light touch in drawing parallels with modern America's adventures abroad, is something to be admired.
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
As a travelogue the film has air. As a major motion picture, The Eagle doesn't fly.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
For a comparable lack of verisimilitude, I'd rather pop History of the World: Part I into the DVD player - a line like "The eagle is not a piece of metal. The eagle is Rome" doesn't stand a chance against the likes of "Don't get saucy with me, Bernaise!"
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
However you slice it, The Eagle is hokum, but modern-day Scots may get a kick out of the film's depiction of their ancestors as mud-caked hellions. Modern-day Romans will have to settle for less.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
A sword-and-sandals drama that hammers home the virtue of honor but then goes around the bend.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
THE EAGLE is a movie that should be better, that has a chance to be something unique and awesome, but ultimately stumbles.
Devin Faraci - CHUD
Given that the characterizations and historical details can often be as sketchy as the film's soft-focus backgrounds and moral compass, The Eagle tepidly takes flight but fails to soar.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
Essentially uncritical of the Roman occupation, while promoting a belief responsible for so much disaster: that not just ideas but 'honor' and its physical symbols -- a standard or flag or gang color or holy book -- are worth killing and dying for.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
It's just an honest, basic story set forth with brevity, skill, care and intelligence.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
It's even less interesting than "Centurion."
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
You can see why the people who made it hoped it would be good. But, unfortunately, it isn't.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
...enough wartime propaganda and chest-thumping battle cries to set a neocon's heart a-flutter.
Jeff Meyers - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Roman action epic comes across as grim, violent, and dull.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Common Sense Media
Tatum holds his own. I can find many faults with The Eagle, but he is not one of them.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
Perfectly servicable sword n' sandal action flick. Channing Tatum continues to evolve as a leading man, but Jamie Bell steals the show.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
It's the sort of movie that pretends to shed light on history, but really doesn't want us to think at all.
Daniel M. Kimmel - New England Movies Weekly
Tatum mounts barbed steeds to fright the souls of fearful adversaries.
Boo Allen - Denton Record Chronicle (TX)
A reliable little adventure flick may be just what we need in the midst of the winter doldrums.
Rob Vaux - Mania.com
Probably the only Western set in northern Scotland, and that must count for something.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com
The material here verges on camp, but director Kevin MacDonald has far loftier ambitions.
Radheyan Simonpillai - AskMen.com
The Eagle reaches for more than your typical glories-of-death saga. It's interested in story and character. Unfortunately, the story is not terribly compelling.
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
There's a potentially interesting story at the heart of The Eagle...
Rebecca Murray - About.com
There's a predictable arc, as the two enemies have to overcome their mutual mistrust to survive.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The Eagle is exactly what you'd imagine a movie about Roman centurions should be -- if, that is, you're 12 years old and have a fairly limited imagination.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
Channing Tatum, with his usual deadpan expression, can't decide if he's going to speak normally or try out that British accent he learned in school. He floats back and forth between them and it's a disaster.
Jenna Busch - SheKnows Network
Gritty day-to-day details distinguish this story of youthful warriors in second-century Britain, based on a young-adult novel whose popularity in the U.K. has remained strong since it was published in 1947.
Maitland McDonagh - Film Journal International
Compelling performances and frequent bursts of excitement nevertheless warrant an opposable digit, pointed up.
Kevin Williamson - Jam! Movies
Sluggish broadsword clashes and quick-cut chop-and-slash action..The dramatics are overheated, or perhaps oversteeped is more like it, given Donald Sutherland's performance.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
The Eagle can't sustain its scope. When it's small, it's kind of silly. When it's big, it's much, much better.
Bill Gibron - Filmcritic.com
[I]f it looks like a loving ode to fascism and sounds like a loving ode to fascism then, well, there's really only one conclusion to draw.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
It's good, but medium-scale when it had a slim chance of being epic.
Sean O'Connell - Reelrave
The film sometimes gets dangerously close to vintage Hollywood sword 'n' sandal territory, with American-accented Romans and much manly jaw clenching by Tatum and Bell.
John Hazelton - Screen International
A flat-footed, goofball international production with a global cast in search of a Roman relic, and also a definitive accent.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
Our hero is Marcus Flavius Aquila, a Roman soldier played by Channing Tatum, an absurdity from which the film never remotely recovers.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
There's an annoying "buddy movie" feeling to this that just won't go away. At least Centurion had a sexy witch to offset the unintentional homo-eroticism.
Peg Aloi - Boston Phoenix
The Eagle isn't smart enough to be engrossing or campy enough to be a guilty pleasure.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
Macdonald falls back on decently choreographed action sequences and predictable confrontations that add violence and subtract depth. Casting Tatum in the lead doesn't balance that equation.
Scott Tobias - AV Club
Ignore the 'accents,' stay for the story of honor and duty.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
Movies like this one are a dime a dozen unless the makers bring something a little extra or unusual to the table. When they don't, they end up as ho-hum as The Eagle.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
Tatum and Bell deserve more than the lethargic narrative that follows them across such exquisite wilderness.
Ted Fry - Seattle Times
Positioned awkwardly between serious historical drama and bloody action movie, The Eagle doesn't end up succeeding as either
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
More of a slack poetic edge instead of merciless slaughter, with director Kevin Macdonald unable to secure a riveting pace as he struggles to depict profound stances of honor and absolution.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Romans speaking American-style gives it a sloppy, Cliff's notes flavor underscored by Tatum's very contemporary look and the attire of the Britons, animal skin jegging.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
The non-CGI clashes are realistic, the Seals PC-appealing; and the center is less military than fraternal and filial.
Donald J. Levit - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
The Town showed that you could take a well-worn premise and still make something fresh and interesting with it. Most of the time people try to do that, they end up with a movie like The Eagle.
David Medsker - Bullz-Eye.com
Structure and pacing problems doom this otherwise decent sword-and-sandals bromance.
Thomas Leupp - Hollywood.com
Tatum has the strong-jawed good looks and stoic demeanor of a natural-born movie star. What he lacks is a sense of inner life, a spark of internal fire: When the camera trains on him, you can practically hear the wind whistling through his head.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
"The Eagle's" sweeping score and grand cinematography are reminders of that old saying: When in ancient Rome, do as Ridley Scott does.
Graham Killeen - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
This movie has problems unrelated to the acting -- its pacing and storytelling simply don't work onscreen.
Luke Y. Thompson - E! Online
At what point did films set in ancient Roman times stop emulating "Spartacus" or "Ben-Hur" and become a species of cowboys and Indians?
James Verniere - Boston Herald
PG-13 is not the arena this film should be fighting in.
Danny Minton - Fort Bend Sun
The Eagle deftly walk[s] the line between fun toga party and a weight-of-the-world bloody redemption pic.
Jordan Hoffman - UGO
Nearly everything in The Eagle feels like text carved into a tablet, and the stolid Tatum's lack of an inner life reinforces that miscalculation.
Elvis Mitchell - Movieline
Do you like movies about gladiators? Well, lend me your ears: The Eagle will more than gratify your sword-and-sandal cravings.
Keith Uhlich - Time Out New York
Nothing in The Eagle can be taken seriously, starting with its Wikipedia-ready intro explaining everything complex occurring before the simple-minded flick you're going to see. Funny that a movie for folks who hate subtitles makes them read so much.
Steve Persall - St. Petersburg Times
"Scottish director Kevin Macdonald as a boy was delighted by the 1954 novel The Eagle of the Ninth. With boyish enthusiasm, he now on film creates the rousing, grueling adventure about redemption.
Tony Macklin - tonymacklin.net
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
A cheerfully adolescent male-bonding movie...as silly dramatically as it is historically, but in this case the silliness is rather enjoyable.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
A proudly old-fashioned adventure about brotherhood that happens to speak to our current moment of moral uncertainty without ever drawing specious analogies between the political reality of its characters' lives and ours.
Ed Gonzalez - Slant Magazine
Old-fashioned, earnest and a bit dull, The Egale is a modest, ultra-simplistic historical tale anchored by two appealing actors, Jamie Bell, who's a good actor, and Channing Tatum, who's not.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
[VIDEO] "The Eagle" is a problematic piece of wartime propaganda that asks the viewer to idolize a manifestation of imperialist destruction as something honorable. Such false devotion reveals a lack of ethical consideration from all parties involved.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Evoking the forgotten meanings of action-adventure films (pre-Tarantino) is enough to make The Eagle a distinctive, if minor, film.
Armond White - New York Press