Gladiator (Blu-ray)


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Rating: R

Russell Crowe as Maximus
Joaquin Phoenix as Commodus
Connie Nielsen as Lucilla
Oliver Reed as Proximo
Richard Harris as Marcus Aurelius
Derek Jacobi as Gracchus
Djimon Hounsou as Juba
David Schofield as Falco
John Shrapnel as Gaius
Tomas Arana as Quintus
Ralf Moeller as Hagen
Spencer Treat Clark as Lucius
David Hemmings as Cassius
Tommy Flanagan as Cicero
Sven-Ole Thorsen as Tiger

Special Features:
– Audio Commentary—Two separate commentaries accompany the original theatrical version and extended version of the film.
– The Scrolls of Knowledge—The original trivia track has been newly enhanced with focus points allowing viewers to access a series of new behind-the-scenes featurettes exploring key scenes and how they relate to the historical accuracy depicted in the film. The extended version of the film also includes a deleted scene marker.
– Visions From Elysium: Topic Marker—Viewers can tag moments of interest throughout either version of the film, allowing them to create “shopping lists” of topics to learn more about. Thanks to the Blu-ray player’s memory, the topics will automatically be loaded when Disc 2 is inserted, giving viewers immediate access to featurettes and galleries of interest.
– Strength And Honor: Creating The World of Gladiator—The definitive documentary on the origin, production and impact of the Oscar®-winning classic. The documentary includes an all-new Enhanced Viewing Mode allowing viewers access to additional interviews and behind-the-scenes material.
– The Making of Gladiator—HBO First Look special.
– Gladiator Games: The Roman Bloodsport—Learning Channel special.
– Hans Zimmer: Scoring Gladiator—An exploration of the rousing soundtrack.
– My Gladiator Journal—Personal diary of the young actor who played Lucius.
– Image & Design—Featurettes and galleries covering the production design, storyboards, costumes and more.
– Abandoned Sequences & Deleted Scenes
– VFX Explorations: Germania & Rome—Shot deconstruction with the visual effects artists.

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1Sound
French and Spanish Languages
Spanish, French, Korean Subtitles
Running Time: 155 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Featuring both the theatrical and extended versions in the perfect picture and sound, ‘Gladiator’ now sparkles like never before. The stunning historical epic follows Maximus Meridas, the brave general who was forced into slavery, emerged as a gladiator, and defied an empire. Winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, ‘Gladiator’ is a magnificent combination of vivid action and extraordinary storytelling.”

“Gladiator” is rated R for intense, graphic combat.

Do you like movies with gladiators in them? Well if it’s this movie, you’re not alone. Nine years after its debut and multiple Academy Award wins, it still sets the standard for epic filmmaking. “Gladiator” was well executed on every front. The story is a classic tale of revenge accompanied by classic Shakespearean elements. There’s romance, action, conspiracy, and drama. Russell Crowe delivered the performance of his life as Maximus. Joaquin Phoenix made his mark as the insane Emperor Commodus. Djimon Hounsou was also memorable as Juba. Oliver Reed, who died during filming, ended his career on a high note as Proximo.

“Gladiator” was perfect on other fronts, too. The action scenes were absolutely stunning. From the opening battle with the Barbarians to the matches in the Coliseum, Ridley Scott proved yet again he knows action. Few movies have matched it since. The production design was also amazing. They brought ancient Rome back to life and it was impressive. The score by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard perfectly matched the story and ended up being one of the most memorable on film in the last 10 years. It certainly proved yet again why Zimmer is one of the best composers working today.

It’s great to finally get this movie on Blu-ray. It will give movie fans a chance to relive it again or younger fans a chance to see it for the first time. While I don’t usually nitpick on picture quality, I did notice some dirt and spots in the picture, especially in the opening credits. I’m surprised that wasn’t touched up. You’d think a Best Picture would get better treatment.

There are tons of bonus features on this Blu-ray. Most of the ones from the previous DVD appear to be here. You get the theatrical edition and the extended edition. You get the audio commentary by Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe. You get the same deleted scenes and HBO feature. The Blu-ray attempts to reorganize them with a feature entitled “Visions From Elysium: Topic Marker”. As the movie plays, you can tag certain aspects of the film that are interesting to you. After the movie is over, you pop in the second disc and it will play those features you’ve tagged. I found this to be incredibly frustrating and annoying. It was hard to navigate and the topics were jumbled up. Pre-production stuff was mixed with trivia tracks which were mixed with post-production stuff. It was quite unwieldy. Another feature called “The Scrolls of Knowledge” is also awkward. A window covering a lot of the screen pops up and shows text trivia. It’s not a way I’d recommend to watch the film. On the positive side, the featurettes get heavily into the actual history of Gladiator and the making of the movie, so everyone’s interests should be sufficiently addressed by these bonus features.