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Ridley Scott’s Napoleon Sets Course for Streaming Debut

February 17, 2024 - Movies

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Summary

  • Ridley Scott’s
    Napoleon
    is set to premiere on Apple TV+ on March 1. The film offers a visually stunning but incomplete look at the French emperor’s life and military feats.
  • Despite lukewarm box office performance, the film shines in epic battle scenes and lead actors’ performances.
  • Streaming release on Apple TV+ opens doors for wider audience reach and potential for greater appreciation.



Apple TV+ is set to release Ridley Scott‘s Napoleon, a historical epic featuring Joaquin Phoenix as the iconic French ruler, on March 1. Initially released in theaters in November 2023, the film documenting Napoleon Bonaparte’s life and career was subsequently made available for rental and purchase on video-on-demand platforms beginning January 9, per Apple.

Napoleon pairs Phoenix with Vanessa Kirby, who plays his lover, Josephine. Although the film featured a star-studded cast and came from Scott, known for his visually stunning epics, it experienced a lukewarm box office performance and received mixed reviews. The film’s release in theaters led to a somewhat underwhelming box office outcome, with a gross of only $219 million worldwide against a considerable budget of $200 million.


The film marks Ridley Scott’s return to the historical epic genre, a field he previously mastered with the critically acclaimed Gladiator in 2000. However, Napoleon did not replicate the success of its predecessor. Critics noted that the film’s portrayal of Napoleon’s life felt incomplete, despite its lengthy runtime of two hours and 38 minutes. The narrative attempts to balance between Napoleon’s complex relationship with Josephine and his military achievements, but neither aspect seems to receive the depth it requires.

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Despite these criticisms, the performances of Phoenix and Kirby were lauded, along with the film’s grand battle sequences. The depiction of the Battle of Austerlitz stood out as a particularly memorable moment, showcasing Scott’s ability to craft visually stunning and impactful scenes. Movieweb’s Julian Roman praised the film for the stunning battle scenes. Roman stated:

Napoleon has incredible battle scenes. Scott’s lack of nuance with his characters doesn’t taint the impressive carnage. Armies march against each other in complex tactical formations with cannons booming, cavalries charging, and soldiers spearing each other with bayonets. Animal lovers will recoil in disgust as horses suffer the same grisly fate. The action grows exponentially as Napoleon tries to dominate Europe against stiff resistance.



Napoleon Set for Streaming Debut on Apple TV+ with Hopes for a Wider Audience

The streaming release of Napoleon on Apple TV+ offers an opportunity for the film to reach a wider audience. While its theatrical run may not have lived up to expectations, the convenience of streaming could attract viewers who missed the film in cinemas or those curious to see Scott and Phoenix’s latest collaboration. It’s uncertain whether the digital platform will breathe new life into Napoleon and garner it greater appreciation as it becomes more accessible.


Ridley Scott’s Napoleon is a visually impressive but somewhat divisive film that explores the life of the French emperor with a focus on both his personal and military endeavors. With its forthcoming release on Apple TV+, the film might find a larger audience and a chance for a better reception, despite its mixed reviews and lackluster box office performance. With standout performances and epic battle scenes, Napoleon could still carve out its place in the historical epic genre.

Napoleon

Napoleon

Release Date
November 22, 2023

Runtime
2hr 38min



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