In this movie from Ridley Scott, Russel Crowe plays Maximus Decimus Meridius, a successful Roman general who is loved by his troops and is chosen by Marcus Aurelius to become the new Caesar as Marcus believes his son Commodus is not fit for the job. When Commodus hears this, he gets furious and kills his father. When afterwards Maximus does not want to pledge loyalty towards Commodus but instead wants to retire from the army and return to his family in the country, Commodus accuses Maximus of killing his father and sentences him to death.
Maximus escapes but when he returns home, he finds his wife and child killed by soldiers from Commodus. Completely in despair, Crowe starts wandering around and gets captured by slave traders who sell him to an organiser of gladiator games. Being very well-trained as a soldier, Maximus learns the tricks of the trade of the Gladiator games and really fast grows out to one of the most popular people in the Arena. His success reaches Rome and he gets invited to play at the Gladiator games there where he again faces Commodus.
Sound and Vision:
Gladiator is getting hyped as one of the must-have blockbusters for Blu-ray but unfortunately the image quality isn’t really as one would expect from such a release. The filters that were supposed to clean up the material have done their job a bit too well and suddenly you see things disappearing like a fireball or arrows during the first combat scene where the Romans attack the Germans. Also the color use seems to be a bit on the artificial side and there’s plenty of edge enhancement present. I won’t be going into all the details but suffice to say the overall image quality of this blu-ray isn’t really superior to that of the DVD.
The DTS-HD track on the other hand does do a somewhat better job. The amount of detail in the sound is truly excellent. During the action scenes you’ll be hearing swords scraping over each other, arrows flying around and fireballs burning the forest when they come down, while dialogues remain crystal clear at all times and the music score is extremely detailed during the calmer scenes. Excellent!
- Two versions of the movie: the extended and theatrical cut
- Two audio commentary tracks
- Deleted Scenes
- U-Control: Scrolls of Knowledge and Visions From Elysium
- Strength And Honour: Creating The World Of Gladiator
- Production Design
- Costume Design Gallery
- Photo Galleries
- Weapons Primer: Simon Atherton
- The Making Of Gladiator
- Gladiator Games: Roman Blood Sport
- Hans Zimmer: Composing Gladiator
- An Evening With Russell Crowe
- Maximus Uncut: Between Takes with Russell Crowe
- My Gladiator Journal, by Spencer Treat Clark
- VFX Explorations: Germania And Rome
- Trailer & TV-spots
Just think of all the extras of both the 2-disc and 3-disc edition DVD’s combined and add to that a bit more and you have an idea of just how extensive the extras department is on this Blu-ray. Excellent stuff!
There’s two versions of the movie present on this Blu-ray: the theatrical version and the extended one. When checking out the latter, we get an introduction by Ridley Scott who clearly states that this is not the director’s cut but just a longer version with some additional footage. Personally we didn’t find the extended version to be any less than the theatrical one but some emphasis is changed here and there and it will be up to you to decide which you prefer. In any case it’s great to have both versions available
This Blu-ray shines in the extras department and does everything it should do there, but unfortunately the image quality isn’t what it should be. There’s quite a number of issues with it and things could have been a lot better in this respect. The soundtrack on the other hand is also excellent.
Overall Gladiatior is a title that can make people make the shift over to HD and it’s therefore all the more sad to see the transfer was done all but perfect. Still, when it comes to extras and sound this is the best Gladiator we’ve “seen” yet.