Caligula – 1 out of 5
Caligula is one of those movies I always heard about but never actually bothered to watch. I always heard about how it was basically just a porno disguised as a biopic about the eccentric and, to many, outright crazy Roman Emperor. Sure, when I was a young boy and readily available internet porn just didn’t exist, I had wished my father had owned it so I could watch the infamous orgy scene but, alas, he didn’t own it and eventually the film fell into the deep recesses of my brain and I forgot about it. For some reason (I’m going to guess it involved seeing Malcolm McDowell in a commercial), I was reminded of the film and decided to finally give this one a go…it was not pleasant.
|This was, literally, the tamest shot I could find when it concerned naughty actions|
in this film...and then you see her vagina two seconds after this.
This movie is super classy, is what I'm saying.
Caligula tells the story of…are you sitting down? It tells the story of Caligula (Malcolm McDowell). It shows his relationship with his sister Drusilla (Teresa Ann Savoy) and how he replaced the dying Tiberius (Peter O’Toole) and ended up as Emperor. It showcases how he went against marrying his sister and marries a priestess named Caesonia (Helen Mirren). We see how he goes mad and declares himself a god and how he is killed in a coup for power (and no, that’s not a spoiler because this movie is 36 years old). Oh and there’s also a stupid amount a nudity and non-simulated sex pointlessly thrown around the running length.
|Don't worry. There wasn't any sex with the horse. Not even Penthouse would have|
gone that far...I hope.
I honestly found the reactions from cast members and stories about what a nightmare the production for this movie was far more entertaining than the actual film—in fact, that madness actually explains why it turned into a glorified porno because in order to get the money needed to make it because they had to turn to Penthouse for funding. As far as the actual film, I found it pretty deplorable and containing very few redeeming factors.
|I just have to say, it was really hard to find screencaps that didn't have nudity or sex|
The performances from Malcolm McDowell and Helen Mirren are excellent and really helped the film chug along (even when every fiber in my being said to just turn it off and watch something better). I wasn’t a fan of Peter O’Toole’s short performance because he was hammy up the fuck out of his role but, compared to the rest of the film, he wasn’t that bad to sit through. Even the sets and costumes weren’t too bad even though they don’t look as good as other films and, occasionally, look really cheap. Instead, the one thing I really didn’t like about the film was the absolutely pointless and unnecessary nudity and sex.
|Damn, even when dying O'Toole couldn't help but overact the living hell out of it.|
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude. I like naked things, I like sexy things and I like naked sexy things. However, there does come times when too many naked things, too many sexy things and oversaturating your movie with way too much naked sexy things can hurt the story, overshadow the performances and end up just making the feature feel like a spectacle. While this film started out, it was meant to be a biopic on Caligula but not in the way it was released. With the heaping doses of non-simulated sex forcefully edited into the story, it made for a movie that wasn’t about telling a story and, instead, was just making sure you saw plenty of naughty bits and some of those naughty bits entering other naughty bits. Shit, the infamous orgy scene alone is a test of patience as it last over ten minutes and nothing of consequence is happening during the entire time. It’s just cutting from one sex act to the next and it never feels like it is important to the story or meant to keep the plot flowing but rather just needless gratuity.
|Helen Mirren amusingly refers to the film as an "irresistible mix of art and genitals."|
That's definitely one way to put it.
This is also seen in the wholly unnecessary camera angles that are used for no other reason than to get a shot of the naughty bits in-between a girl’s legs. Within the first few minutes, you are treated to several camera angles that are basically done in order to get a clear show of some vaginas and it happens so rapidly in the beginning moments that it quickly robbed the film of any credibility, made the whole thing feel absolutely ridiculous and felt like it was being helmed by a hormone driven teenage boy. Sex, when handled properly in a film can propel characters in their development and enrich a story but, when handled sloppily and with the care of the Dudley Boyz in a room full of tables in a WWE hardcore tag team match they rob a film of substance, story and another word that starts with an “S” so I can have some alliteration for this sentence. I understand that the real Caligula had some…um…interesting sexual escapades and adventures but he also did other insane things as a ruler and it was clear that this film was only interesting in having sex in it and it made the whole feature feel like a wasted opportunity and a waste of time.
|However, if there was a part where James Earl Jones showed up and he and McDowell|
both said, "Totes McGoats," it would have saved the film...and predicted the future.
If it wasn’t for great performances from a few of the principle members of the cast, this movie would probably score a Zero on my rating scale but, as it stands, it’s enough to give it my next lowest score of One. Like other movies that get scores this low, I didn’t walk away from watching Caligula in a bad mood or upset that I wasted my time watching a pornographic film with a very high budget. Instead, I was actually glad to watch the film because of its story of being made and it’s one of those films that have cemented itself into the history of cinema. So, from a perspective of educational purposes, I’m glad I watched it because it’s interesting in that aspect but from an entertainment angle, the film is trash and something I’ll probably never think about again and definitely will never watch.