May 112018

Gladiator is a tremendous movie that still holds up so well after all of these years, and this coming someone who really didn’t fully appreciate it upon its initial theatrical release. Seeing the “Extended Edition” version for a second time and thought it was remarkable.




Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Drama
Paramount | R/Unrated – 155 min. / 170 min. – $31.99 | May 15, 2018

Date Published: 05/11/2018 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Ridley Scott
Writer(s): David Franzoni (story), David Franzoni and John Logan and William Nicholson (screenplay)
Cast: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, Richard Harris
Features: Audio Commentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Galleries, Trailers
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 3
Audio: English (DTS:X), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 2160p/Widescreen 2.40
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Korean, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C


THE MOVIE — 4.5/5

Note: Portions was from Elyusha Vafaeisefat’s original 2005 review with some minor updates. The video and audio parts are, however, new to reflect the 4K release.

Released nearly 20 years ago, Gladiator surprised audiences worldwide and became a massive hit (grossing $460 million worldwide; $360M domestically adjusted for ticket inflation) and garnering critical acclaim by winning 5 Academy Awards as well. Gladiator became one of those rare films that was able to be a great crowd pleaser as well as a big awards winner. Not only that, the film also ignited interest back in the historical epics of old Hollywood with Master and Commander, Troy, King Arthur, Alexander, The Last Samurai, The Alamo and Ridley Scott’s own Kingdom of Heaven, before the system churned out superhero movie after superhero movie in its stead, though those films were certainly box office disappointments to say the least…

The film itself instantly became one of my all time favorite films and after many viewings, now is my favorite film of all time. The film is able to mix great action sequences with great storytelling and acting. Of course, Russell Crowe comes to mind when anyone mentions Gladiator and it is no secret why. His range in this film as Maximus is simply incredible. He goes from playing a general at the height of the Roman Empire, to a common slave and then to a gladiator. After watching the film again, I can definitely see why Crowe was rightfully awarded Best Actor at the Academy Awards a few years back. I honestly can’t think any other actor on this planet who would be able to pull off what Crowe did in this film. Crowe was able to create a character that will go down as one of the most memorable of all time. In addition to Crowe’s spectacular performance, there is also Joaquin Phoenix’s unbelievable performance as Commodus. Phoenix too is able to give a multi-layered performance that plays off of Crowe’s Maximus beautifully. In addition to Crowe and Phoenix, Richard Harris, Oliver Reed (who died three weeks before filming ended), Connie Nielsen, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, and David Hemmings all turn in amazing performances. To me, this film is the definition of a great ensemble piece of acting.

Of course, the film is also incredibly directed by Ridley Scott. I don’t think any other director in the world would be able to do what Scott did with Gladiator. His attention to detail and overall visual style gives Gladiator a unique look. I still am trying to figure out how Scott did not win Best Director for this film at the Academy Awards. The unique story by David Franzoni, John Logan and William Nicholson is also another great aspect of the film. In addition to Scott’s incredible directing and the great story, you have Pietro Scalia’s great editing style, Arthur Max’s incredible set designs, Janty Yates’ beautiful costumes, John Mathieson’s great cinematography and of course Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard’s memorable original score. The combination of the incredibly talented actors, along with Ridley Scott’s crew, created Gladiator’s atmosphere and overall success which recently many have attempted to mimic, but none were able to do as successfully.

The extended edition still has the greatness of the original, but now with even more character development. All the scenes added are directly from the deleted scenes that were included in the original 2 Disc DVD. However, a few of those included in the original (like the Christians being fed to the Lions) are not included in the extended edition. Nonetheless, it is nice to see all the scenes redone from a video standpoint and included. One of my favorites is the scene between Commodus and Quintus after Commodus finds out that Maximus is alive. Commodus orders Quintus to execute the two in charge of reporting back that Maximus was dead; it has a great deal of tension and adds even more to Phoenix’s amazing performance. Overall, the extended edition never takes away from the overall pace of the film and I believe big fans of the will enjoy it just as much as the original.



This release comes with a glossy slip cover and inside contains a digital copy redemption code. All of the features from the Sapphire Series Blu-ray have been ported over since, well, they are pretty much the same discs.

Disc 1 (4K Ultra HD):
Introduction by Ridley Scott (0:31; HD) is optional as he explains the extended version.

Audio Commentary – Producer/Director Ridley Scott and Actor Russell Crowe on the Extended Edition. Crowe is on the more awkward side early on (not sure, this might’ve been his first commentary) but soon finds his footing alongside Scott as the pair give their insights on what the production and locations were like.

Audio Commentary – Producer/Director Ridley Scott, Editor Pietro Scalia and Cinematographer John Mathieson on the Theatrical Version. As you might imagine, this one is far more technical yet I do generally enjoy listening to Scott and his extensive filmmaking knowledge.

Disc 2 (Blu-ray):
Comes with the features from the 4K along with a Deleted Scenes Index (TRT 19:21; HD), many of which were re-inserted into the extended version; The Scrolls of Knowledge (1:19:04; SD) is a picture-in-picture feature, that can be played with the movie or on its own, with trivia and special features video; and Visions from Elysium: Topic Portal which is viewable on the third disc (read more about this below).

Disc 3 (Blu-ray):
Visions from Elysium: Topic Portal – This allows the user to pick and select which short featurette to view from “Alternate Titles” to “Special Effects: Arrows and Fire” to “VFX Explorations”. There’s also the option to play them all. Includes interview and behind-the-scenes footage with Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe and many others plus storyboards.

Strength and Honor: Creating the World of Gladiator (3:16:50; SD) is a massive 7-part documentary covering the story, weapons, costumes, production journals, resurrecting Proximo, vfx and release and impacy. Included is the Enhanced Viewing Mode which links to related footage from the aforementioned “Topic Portal”.

Image and Design:

  • Production Design
  • Storyboarding
  • Costume Design Gallery
  • Photo Galleries
  • Weapons Primer: Simon Atherton

Abandoned Sequences & Deleted Scenes:

  • Alternate Title Design (9:16)
  • Blood Vision (2:16)
  • Rhino Fight (4:14)
  • Choose Your Weapon (0:48)
  • Treasure Chest (7:12)

The Aurelian Archives:

  • The Making of Gladiator (25:03)
  • Gladiator Games: The Roman Bloodsport (50:04)
  • Hans Zimmer: Scoring Gladiator (20:42)
  • An Evening with Russell Crowe (27:15)
  • Maximus Uncut: Between Takes with Russell Crowe (8:00)
  • My Gladiator Journal by Spencer Treat Clark
  • VFX Explorations: Germania & Rome (23:50)
  • Trailers (2:50)
  • TV Spots (8:55)

The above featurettes are fairly extensive and much of the footage was also included in the “Topic Portal” and “Strength and Honor” featurettes.


VIDEO – 4.75/5

Gladiator is the latest catalog title to get the 4K treatment from Paramount. Presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 2160p high-definition transfer, the film does look magnificent, probably a modest upgrade over an already great picture on the Sapphire Series which had thankfully corrected the awful original Blu-ray. Here, detail is sharp throughout, skin tones appear natural and there is a modest boost to the colors thanks to the HDR.

AUDIO – 4.75/5

As with Saving Private Ryan, the audio gets upgraded from DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 to DTS:X. The audio does sound fantastic, starting with the crisp, clean and clear dialogue levels followed by excellent low levels with the LFE channel and well balanced dispersion across all of the speakers with the fronts utilized for the central action while the rear channels output the haunting and beautiful score by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard’s lovely vocals, as well as some of the ambient noises especially noticeable during the coliseum scenes.


OVERALL – 4.75/5

Overall, Gladiator is a tremendous movie that still holds up so well after all of these years, and this coming someone who really didn’t fully appreciate it upon its initial theatrical release. Seeing the “Extended Edition” version for a second time and thought it was remarkable. As was this 4K Ultra High-Definition release that even though it’s not as reference quality compared with the recent Saving Private Ryan release, still was fantastic, from video/audio transfers to a well rounded selection of bonus features.


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