There are some films which benefit more from a PG-13 rating because of the wide appeal of the subject. Film studios want to hit as many demographics as possible, which is probably why The Eagle was forced into this rating, despite being a film which may have been better suited as an ‘R.’ With the young cast of Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell, it is no surprise that the studios would want it to be PG-13, but the story itself lends itself to a much more sophisticated audience. Director Kevin Macdonald approaches the material with the same realistic hand that he applied to his past films, and this makes for a remarkable period film that may bore the young audience the film was marketed for.
The film does not call for an R-rating because it needs more violence, though the unrated version does give a slightly more graphic depiction of the film’s few battle sequences. Only one scene of war is in the film, which is much more about the hardships of travel than it is battle. Taking place in Roman-ruled 2nd –Century Britain, celebrated Roman soldier Marcus Aquila (Tatum) chooses a path to restore his father’s tarnished name. Having been the commanding officer last to have the golden emblem known as The Eagle to all Romans, he disappeared in the savage wilderness of
Northern England twenty years prior. Marcus takes on the task of sneaking into the northern region with his slave, Esca (Jamie Bell). Although these two are from opposing sides, they build a bond of brotherhood in their struggles to find the truth about the missing Eagle emblem.
The Blu-ray release includes both the theatrical and the unrated version of the film, though the changes are minimal. There is also an alternate ending in the special features, along with additional deleted scenes and a making of featurette. There is also a director’s commentary, and the package comes with a digital copy.