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The Return of the Epic Film
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With the success of Gladiator, both critics and scholars enthusiastically announced the return of a genre which had lain dormant for thirty years. However, this return raises important new questions which remain unanswered. Why did the epic come back, and why did it fall out of fashion? Are these the same kinds of epics as the 1950s and 60s, or are there aesthetic differences? Can we treat Kingdom of Heaven, 300 and Thor indiscriminately as one genre? Are non-Western histories like Hero and Mongol epics, too? Finally, what precisely do we mean when we talk about the return of the epic film, and why are they back? The Return of the Epic Film offers a fresh way of thinking about a body of films which has dominated our screens for a decade. With contributions from top scholars in the field, the collection adopts a range of interdisciplinary perspectives to explore the epic film in the twenty-first century.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Return of the Epic, Andrew B.R. Elliott; Part I: Epics and Ancient History; Sir Ridley Scott and the Rebirth of the Epic, Jeffrey Richards; The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and America since the Second World War: Some Cinematic Parallels, Kevin J. Harty; There's Nothing So Wrong with a Hollywood Script that a Bunch of Giant CGI Scorpions Can't Solve: Politics, Computer Generated Images and Camp in the Critical Reception of the Post-Gladiator Historical Epics: Mark Jancovich; Popcorn and Circus: An Audience Expects, Robert Stow; Part II: Epic Aesthetics and Genre; Colour in the Epic Film: Alexander and Hero, Robert Burgoyne; Defining the Epic: Medieval and Fantasy Epics, Paul Sturtevant; Special Effects, Reality, and the New Epic, Andrew B.R. Elliott; Part III: Epic Films and the Canon; Pass the Ammunition: A Short Etymology of Blockbuster, Sheldon Hall; Epic Stumbling Blocks, Saer Maty Ba; The Greatest Epic of the 21st Century? Deborah Bridge; Ramayana and Sita in Films and Popular Media: The Repositioning of a Globalised Version, Aarttee Kaul Dhar.

About the Author

Andrew B. R. Elliott is Senior Lecturer at the University of Lincoln, UK, where he works on the depiction of history in popular culture.

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