So do I go to see this film or not? My immediate reaction is no if only because it is based on a child hood favourite book, the Eagle of the Ninth, by that marvellous children's historical novelist,Rosemary Sutcliffe. My father read it to us children sitting by the fire after tea when I was, I suppose, about five years old. Most children of that age then were still on 'soppy childrens books' but my father refused to read anything which he did not enjoy personally so we three children were brought up on a superb diet of historical fiction. Sadly though whenever I have been to see a film of a favourite book it has been wrecked by the directors/producers who insist on making it 'relevant' and 'sending a message.' Rosemary Sutcliffe would never have dreamt of writing anything 'relevant' let alone 'sending a message' which of course is why she was such a brilliant writer. Reviews I have read speak of a suggestion of a 'homoerotic' relationship between slave and master something totally absent from the book of course where actually Marcus, the hero, becomes romantically involved with a British girl.
But the best reason for not going is that they have bowed to pressure from the American publicists to change the title from Eagle of the Ninth to just The Eagle as they were frightened that many Americans would otherwise think it was a film about golf. Well how thick is that? Now they have shortened the title to just the Eagle presumably most Americans will think it is a story about a bird and - at a guess -as there are far fewer ornithologists in USA than there are golfers they would have been better off sticking to the original name.