Big budget account of Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas. Released in 1992 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery. Shows the disastrous effects the Europeans had on the original inhabitants, and Columbus' struggle to civilize the New World. Written by
The film makes reference to three voyages, stating that the second voyage was the one in which Columbus fell out of favor; the epilogue says that Columbus took a third and final voyage to America. Actually, Columbus made four voyages. The second voyage tarnished Columbus's reputation, but it was the third voyage which proved to be his downfall. See more »
Young Fernando Columbus:
Of all the words my father wrote - and there were many - I remember these the most: "Nothing that results from human progress is achieved with unanimous consent. And those who are enlightened before the others are condemned to persue that light in spite of others."
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In 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus's arrival in the New World was marked with a deluge of movies, documentaries and T.V. dramas. Not only is this the best of those commemorative re-tellings, it is also a lesson in how good historical movies should be made. Ridley Scott's direction and Gerard Depardu's leading performance gives us a genuine feeling of what must have faced Columbus and his crew as they set off on a voyage that, in their time, was more dangerous than space travel. This movie does more than tell their story however. It recreates an epoch in a way that few other historical dramas ever have. Fifteenth century Spain is every bit as vivid as the unchartered jungles of Latin America. And it is a testament to Scott's skill as a director that he beautifully contrasts the splendor of Queen Isabella's court with the insect infested, monsoon ridden "New World". And yet we also see that while the hand of civilization has made Isabella's Spain so resplendent, it has also tainted it with corruption. No such corruption exists in the virgin forests of San Slavador. Not until the European's arrive that is.
Every single scene in this film is loaded with symbolism. Behind the dialog and interaction of characters, there is an abundant subtext that just craves to be explored. It is a film that you come to appreciate the more times you see it and come to understand better, the older you grow. Critics have been unenthusiastic and even dismissive of it. Don't dare listen to them until you have watched it at least three times yourself. It would also be careless of me to comment on this film without mentioning the brilliant score by Vangellis. Hovering between the atmospheric and the pure scary, it blends with the general aura of the film brilliantly. Pure magic.
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