Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Elliott's The Return of Epic Film

Seems I'm very much behind here. More details on recent scholarship in the field.

The Return of the Epic Film: Genre, Aesthetics and History in the 21st Century
Edited By: Andrew Elliot
(Information from Edinburgh University Press)
(Information from Oxford University Press)

Edinburgh University Press
Publication Date: Mar 2014
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Extent: 240 pages
12 bw Ill., film stills

ISBN: 9780748684021
Price: £70.00

ISBN: 9781474402842
Price: £19.99

This book is distributed in North & South America by Oxford University Press USA

Hardcover (01 April 2014) for $120.00 (same ISBN as UK edition)

Paperback (available for pre-orders and will ship on 01 March 2015) $34.95 (same ISBN as UK edition)

Details (Edinburgh)

Explores the return of the ‘epic’ in twenty-first-century cinema

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.

Details (Oxford)

What does the new epic film now look like? How is it classified? Why has it returned?

The success of Gladiator re-launched a genre which had lain dormant for 35 years. The Return of the Epic Film is one of the first books to examine this return as a coherent body of films. Studying a range of films from Gladiator to Clash of the Titans, the various essays question how we define these new epics, their aesthetics, their relationship to history, and who decides which films should be in the canon. Over the course of 11 essays by key figures in the field, the book examines in what ways, why, and how the epic film has returned to our cinemas.

By embracing a range of approaches which take into account the production process, and by questioning the canon of films conventionally accepted as epics, this book will inspire Film Studies students and scholars to rethink the epic film.


Introduction: The Return of the Epic, Andrew B.R. Elliott (read online)

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, Saër Maty Bâ
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


Andrew B.R. Elliott is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Lincoln, UK, where he works on the depiction of history in popular culture. In addition to his work on epics, he has written on the use of the Middle Ages, Robin Hood, Vikings, and Classical Antiquity in film, as well as the depiction of the past in video games and television.

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