Horrible Histories The Movie is this summers perfect film to see with the kids. The Horrible Histories film does not let you down and does a fantastic job of entertaining the viewers whilst educating them. If you are a fan of the Horrible Histories books and the hit CBBC children’s show, you will know how fantastically funny and gruesomely awesome the cast manages to bring the history to life. I have been a huge fan of Horrible Histories since the very beginning, as is my eldest son. We were super excited to go and watch the film on the day that it hit cinemas across the country.
Horrible Histories The Movie, Rotten Romans is the first film to be made from the comedy-history children’s series and books.
Set completely in 54AD, during the time of Boudicca’s war against the Roman Empire, Horrible Histories does what it does best, entertaining you with gore, comedy and gruesome facts. The Rotten Romans focuses on Emperor Nero (Craig Roberts) and his famous battle with the Celtic rebel leader, Boudicca (Kate Nash). The well crafted and extremely memorable song, Boudicca appears twice in the film, if you have seen the television series, you will find it hard to not sing along.
“No man, Roman’ll push around this woman
You won’t get far with Boudicca
Bowmen, yeomen smash the Roman foemen
All say yah (yah!)
The film instantly opens with comedy as Rattus Rattus mimics the renowned MGM roaring lion opening sequence. Rattus Rattus is then seen again in the closing credits, where he hints that a second Horrible Histories film may be in the works? Rattus Rattus talks the audience through what was fact and what was fiction throughout the film, so don’t be so quick to leave when the credits roll on.
The film begins with the parody murder of Claudius, played by Derek Jacobi. Reprising his role as Claudius from the television series, Claudius is doomed from the beginning. As with most Horrible Histories deaths, Claudius is murdered in a shockingly strange way, via a poisoned feather tickled on his throat. The murder has been orchestrated by Agrippina in order for her son Nero, to take his place on the throne and become the Emperor of Rome. This sets up the story.
The narrative is split between characters, Atti, Orla and Nero and goes back and forth between Rome and Britain. Nero can’t think of a better punishment for the Roman teenager, Atti when he leaves him wee faced than to banish him to ‘The Stain’ on the map, known by us as Great Britain.
Not long after Atti arrives in Britain and is forced into becoming a Roman solider he is overpowered by a Celtic teenage girl, Orla. Fresh faces, Sebastian Croft and Emilia Jones did an outstanding job in their roles of playing Atti and Orla. Atti’s quick wits and sheer bravery transform him from a weedy weak Roman Citizen, into a loveable intelligent hero. Sebastian Croft reminded me of a young Mathew Baynton who was missed in the Horrible Histories film.
Although he was forced into joining the Roman Army as a punishment, Atti displays great knowledge and qualities of a Roman legionary. Atti repeatedly makes references about his knowledge coming from reading scrolls back in Rome. This is a smart reference to the Horrible Histories franchise which started out with the Horrible Histories books written by Terry Deary and illustrated by Martin Brown.
Orla is the feisty strong daughter of a Celtic chieftain, Arghus. With Boudicca as her idol, Orla has only one desire and that is to join the Celtic uprising against the Roman Empire led by Boudicca. Orla won’t let anything stand in her way, she will kill a Roman if she has to!
There are a large number of jokes made about Britain, commencing with Nero who refers to the country as being ‘the stain’ on the map, and Oral declaring that Britain does not need a sundial as it has no sun. One of my favourite and most memorable parts is when two Roman soldiers are wondering were Atti has gone. “Do you think he has been eaten by a tiger?” The first soldier asks his comrade, “there are no tigers in Britain.” He replies. “Well do you think he has been eaten by squirrel then?” The witty and funny dialogue kept me laughing all of the way through the film.
Brenda played by Joanna Bacon is hilarious in all of her scenes. She was probably my favourite character throughout the whole film. Together with Arghus, played by comedy legend Nick Frost, they naturally worked amazing together and don’t fail in making the audience laugh. Brenda the Celtic bandit likes to cause trouble where ever she goes, particularly with rivalry Celtic tribes. Arghus, the voice of reason doesn’t have to speak much dialogue before making the audience laugh with his persona and facial expressions.
I was surprised to see Lee Mack in the Rotten Romans as the character Centurion Decimus. Although he was not a main character, Decimus’s sincere love for Rome added comedy to his serious scenes. I was just as surprised to see Kim Cattrall playing Agrippina, Nero’s annoying and overbearing mother.
However, I was quick to spot the Horrible Histories star Tom Stourton, as he proudly declared himself to be ‘farticous’. I would have liked to see him in a bigger role, but it was nice to see him appear in the film.
The Horrible Histories movie has been released in perfect time for the summer holidays. Although some of the much-beloved Horrible Histories cast from the television series are absent, the actors did a fantastic job in making the history come to life. The only thing that I was really disappointed with was that there was no stupid death sketch with Simon Farnaby. I think this would have added extra comedy, history, gruesome facts and shocking entertainment for the viewers. It would have been great to see a stupid death sketch at the end, before or during the closing credits.
Overall, in the words of my son, “I did not like the Horrible Histories Movie, I loved it!” As did I! I absolutely recommend the Horrible Histories Movie to everyone! It is a perfect film for children and parents to watch during the summer holidays. We had an amazing time and I laughed more than the children did throughout the entire movie. Well done Horrible Histories, you once again did an amazing job in educating us about those Rotten Ancient Romans.
I rate Horrible Histories a historic five out of five stars. I can’t wait to watch the next one! I hope it’s on the Ancient Egyptians.