The Colosseum – The Lizzie McGuire Movie (Ma. Pamela S. Gutierrez)

Who would’ve thought that one of my all time favorite tween movies would feature a famous structure that was built during an era I’ve learned so much about these past couple of months? Who would’ve thought that I would watch The Lizzie McGuire Movie again and say “It’s The Colosseum of Rome, built during the Roman empire!” and think of random historical facts about that era? I certainly didn’t and I’m sure neither of the people who have watched this movie before would think this way as well.

In a nutshell, the movie follows the journey of a girl named Lizzie McGuire who goes off to Rome for a pre-high school cultural experience with her classmates and encounters an opportunity to renew herself after experiencing a tubful of embarrassments during her 2 years in junior high. The storyline may seem a little shallow but for many of the little girls who first watched this movie, they can all agree that Lizzie’s life in this movie was the one to have. Embarrassingly, my 10 year old self thought the same.

I never fully appreciated the setting and historical information the movie gave. All I cared about was Lizzie’s path to becoming a popstar and the mishaps she encounters. But watching the movie 8 years later, I realized that the setting played significant roles in making the highlights of the movie truly memorable. Perhaps the most “goosebump-worthy” scene from that movie was Lizzie’s performance in an event called “The International Music Video Awards (IMVA’s)” , which was set in The Colosseum of Rome!

Originally called “The Flavian Amphitheater”, The Colosseum of Rome was built during 72 AD by Emperor Vespasian, during the Flavian Dynasty of the Roman Empire. The emperor was not able to see his work since it was only completed in 80 AD, a year after his death. Because it was built in a part of “Nero’s huge park in the center of Rome”, it was decided that this structure be called The Colosseum, named after the nearby Colossus statue found in that same park. Emperors held public games that would last for a day or more. Gladiator fights, races, animal slaughtering, circuses, and many other forms of entertainment were enjoyed by the public, therefore increasing the emperor’s popularity among the people.

The facade of this magnificent structure had been destroyed in earthquakes and fires. Parts of it were plundered in order to use its material for the building of churches and cathedrals such as St. Peter’s and St. John Lateran’s. Nevertheless, 1,932 years later, the structure still stands and serves as a reminder of the once glorious Roman Empire! Today, however, The Colosseum is used for less violent forms of entertainment. It serves as a popular tourist destination, a place to hold events, and of course, a setting to numerous shows and movies.

In The Lizzie McGuire Movie, The Colosseum was used as the location for the IMVA’s, where Lizzie, who had been impersonating a famous popstar named Isabella Parigi, “sang” with another Italian popstar named Paolo Valisari, who was actually setting her up to destroy Isabella’s career. The moment she entered the structure, the movie started its turning point – its climax.

Lizzie meets Isabella (who was brought by her best friend, Gordo) for the first time and she is informed about Paolo’s plan. Isabella tells Lizzie that he is merely setting her up so that it would seem as if Isabella lip syncs when in reality, throughout his whole career, it is Paolo who has been lying about his singing. Eventually, Lizzie believes Isabella and makes a plan to sabotage Paolo in front of the whole world. The Colosseum was packed with people and the stage was set to perfection.  But nothing went perfect for Paolo for he was exposed for the fraud that he is during their performance of “What Dreams Are Made Of” and in a surprising turn of events, Lizzie becomes a star herself when Isabella gives her the opportunity to sing live.

If this part of the movie was done in The Spanish Steps or the Tivoli Gardens (which were also featured in the film), I don’t think I would’ve felt the impact of the climax as much. The fact that it was done in The Colosseum contributed to the “goosebump” factor I felt when I watched this at 10 years old, and even now that I watched it again. The grandeur of the structure and the way it was set-up really made the movie worth watching, and the climax worth appreciating.

The incorporation of modernity and globalism (although not emphasized) brought about by the IMVA’s gave the structure a whole new life and essence. It gave the viewers a whole new perspective on The Colosseum and its functionality, showing us that it’s possible to think outside of what’s traditional and telling us that something that has been existing centuries back can still have a great impact in someone’s life today. It brought an impact to Lizzie’s life, and it brought an impact to many of the tweens who had watched this movie 9 years ago, without them even realizing it!

Ma. Pamela S. Gutierrez

Posted March 13, 2012 | 12:53 a.m.



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