Finally, after sufficient pestering, I succumbed to half an hour of it yesterday, and the rest tonight. In spite of the editing, I still found myself plugging my ears and closing my eyes several times for what I thought were rather long periods of gratuitous screaming and squelching.
I can see why Alex loves the movie. I didn't love it. I didn't really even like it. But I can see the whole consummate fortitude fidelity patriotism gravitas thing—the whole manly ideal thing. Here is what the film has lead me to conclude:
Gladiator is for men what Pride and Prejudice is for women. We identify strongly with the protagonist. We love Maximus and Elizabeth. We live our latent dreams vicariously through them.
This propensity to live through fictional characters is why men have been so annoyingly dominant through the ages. Women fall in love with men, and men fall in love with men. Yes, yes, I know we are the neck that turns the head any way we want, yadda, yadda, yadda. Nevertheless, sometimes my feminist streak leaves me a touch disenchanted. Strength and Honor, Shmength and Shmhonor.