Britannia: the Roman Empire, to the conquest of the land of the Druids – Review

Published on Jan 28, 2018

While the fans of The Game of Thrones you are struggendo for the confirmation of the long wait for the final season of the series inspired by the novels of George R. R. Martin, on Sky Atlantic here appear a new production that aims to make up for this lack: Britannia. Co-production between Sky and Amazon, that follows the distribution on the american soil, the series fits within that narrative where history and magic are intertwined, but, please, don't call it fantasy.

On the channel, Atlantic Sky, this kind of series has had a good prominence. In addition to the now unsinkable "Game of Thrones", in fact, played the card fantasy also with The Shannara Chronicles. The series, inspired by the cycle of books by Terry Brooks, however, has met its just fate, ending his race with a second season that managed to be even more disappointing than the previous. Data from these previous two, how can Britain fit into this sector?

Trying to leverage on the historicity, adapting it to a narrative that makes it at the same time, the supernatural element is a key, essential reading. The current England has been a thorn in the side of the Romans, that they always had a hard life to conquer the land of Albion. Britannia focuses on the conquest of the Empire, or rather of the attempted conquest, led by general Aulus Plauzio (David Morrisey), in 43 after Christ. Considering that not even Julius Caesar had been successful for almost a century before, in the expedition of general Plauzio seems to clash against an enemy rather tough.

The story line dedicated to the roman troops, fits within a narrative context much broader. The british society of the period was still highly tribal, with the dissensions which separated the different crowns. Within Britannia are the population guided by the king Pellenor of the Cantiaci and the queen Antedia of Regnensi to carry out this role separation, a war that in the first two episodes of the series, we are presented with a clear-cut and brutal.

Do not miss that touch of the supernatural and magic, which is embodied by a reality that is so typical of the celtic culture of the period: the druids. Mystical figures and through with the divinity of the pantheon of the british, these priests in the series are presented as one of the three pillars on which is based the production. If, on the one hand, we have Veran, the chief of the druids, on the other, we Currency the Outcast, a druid banished because it was considered possessed by a demon. Their role in opposition to the roman advance is, apparently, that of a protection against a civilization assimilatrice, which requires the loss of freedom in the name of a great thrust of civilization.

The tone almost patronizing words to the honey with which Aulus Plauzio coax the queen Antedia and the response proud and fearless women are the demonstration of defence in which the druids feel the call. This speech should be seen as contrasted to the charge of Veran's move to the legionarioo Antonio, guilty of having forgotten their god to worship the roman gods. And yet, Britain seems to be moving towards a balance game in which old disagreements tribal become a powerful weapon for the romans, and always supporters of "divide et impera". These first two episodes are the perfect narration of this principle, used in a sneaky way, by Aulus Plauzio.

Fortunately, the first two episodes were presented together to the Italian public, since they constitute the basis on which we move in this series, introducing the main characters and showing what the real machinations behind this war. Most of all, they narrated the antecedents that have led to this situation of separation between the Cantiaci and Regnensi, that weakness in the ground by the british, who will be exploits by the Romans.

The narrative tone seems to follow that of the Games of Thrones, with a sudden change of subject. This setting is definitely functional to be able to manage a large amount of characters as it happens in the HBO series, but given the smaller amount of important subjects now present in Britain, this stylistic choice is not fully shareable. In two episodes, we try to give haste to the characterization of the main protagonists, in particular, Aulus Plauzio and Kerra, a trend that sacrifices the time dedicated to other pawns of this war, as Currency.

The luck is that a cast at the height still manages to infuse charisma in Britannia. Aulus Plauzio has the face of David Morrisey, who after being the Governor of The walking dead seems to be comfortable in the shoes of a commander tormented. Plauzio looks like a man determined to defy fate, to win the biggest myths of him, even at the cost of deal with possible betrayal and fight wars impossible. His pace on the field of battle royal, it gives off that caliber of command that one might expect from a roman general.

Kerra, daughter of Pellenor (played very well by Ian McDiarmind, better known as return of the jedi, Star Wars) is played by Kelly Reilly. Beauty is definitely in line with the ideal of the british, the'reilly has an expression that is minimal, but particular, able to show with sufficient emphasis the grit and determination of his character. Kerra is the figure of Britannia, from which I expect more, forced to fight against his heritage and to make choices easily strumentalizzabili against her, for the good of his people.

Nikolaj Lie Kaas is an interesting Currency, the Outcast. Particular character, seemingly insane, but at the same time in communion with his gods, and Currency is the first to sense the impending danger, feeling the load of this responsibility. Manages to be funny in his relationship with the little orphan Cait.

Nice to see our Lucky Cerlino, don Pietro Savastano in Gomorra, to interpret the roman centurion, Vespasian, the future emperor.

From a purely aesthetic point of view, Britain is striking. The locations are the strong point of this production, especially those near the coast, where the contrasting colors fill the screen. Directed by Metin Huseyn enhances the surrounding environment, in addition to creating a strong empathy with the viewer, focusing on the construction of the scene in which the action and characters are always a joy in their emotions. For example, the roman attack on the solstice in the ceremony of passage to women, in which the celebration is lying on the play of colors that slowly glide toward a higher density and prominence at the time of the attack. Also interesting is the vision given to druids, unnatural, and definitely mystical, accompanied by a blurring of the shot when they exercise their ability. Trick sometimes abused, but still pleasant.

Watching these first two episodes of Britannia, while appreciating the historical reconstruction, it seems clear that the intention of Jez Butterwotrh, the writer of the series. The key to reading the series is not so much the battle, as the clash of mentality, which is played on three levels: religion (druids), people (Kerra), domain (Aulo Plauzio). This series does not intend to present itself as a vision of the roman era, but it puts the emphasis on the element of the mystic of the celts, their beliefs, asking their characters to show that feeling of mystical faith that, for the period, was the essential element of a social structure that is deeply tribal. From here also the contrast with the mentality of the schematic and ordered the romans, in which also the relationship with the sacred was aimed at a concrete social level. In this sense, it should be noted as Aulus Plauzio lose its security right in the battle with the warriors, but in face-to-face with the influence of the earthly of of celtic.

Britannia decidedly in fourth, perhaps a little too much, focusing a little on the care of the individual characters, except for the top three, trying to throw the viewer in an abrupt manner in the setting. The risk is to confuse you, who follow each other, resulting in concern and a little interest, a danger that must be averted, starting from the next episode.

The article Britannia: the Roman Empire, to the conquest of the land of the Druids – Review comes from Justnerd.en.


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