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  1. #1
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Jul 2002
    Northern, CA

    Gladiator (UHD Blu-ray) review

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    Before his death, Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) designated General Maximus Meridas (Russell Crowe) as successor to the Roman throne. When his son, the deranged and insecure Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), hears of the plan, the son decides to secure his own right to the throne by ensuring his father dies in his arms and then dispatching the beloved general to the afterlife. Narrowly escaping death, Maximus rushes home to Spain to find his wife and son weren't so fortunate. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Maximus works his way back to Rome as a gladiator hell-bent on vengeance.

    My Thoughts
    Gladiator has a interesting past when it comes to home video release. The DVD was amazing with its DTS-ES 6.1 soundtrack, which I used a demo for years for the “Unleash Hell” segment. When it finally arrived on Blu-ray, it was a mess as the debut title of Paramount’s Sapphire Series. The release was plagued with edge enhancement and lack of high-frequency detail. It was so bad that arrows would disappear in mid-air in the scene referenced above. Fortunately, a year later in 2010, Paramount remastered the disc and it pleased fans.

    Fortunately, this UHD release is mastered in 4K and looks fabulous. In fact, I doubt it looked this good in theaters. The film has many different looks from the gray coolness of the Bavarian forests, the dry landscapes of Spain, and the golden hues of Rome. All come across quite well and while the HDR effects are mild compared to many modern films, it’s never distracting.

    The DTS:X audio track is just as impressive as it has always been. The overheads are used to good effect, especially during the opening battle and the gladiator sequences and takes an already impressive soundtrack and improves upon it.

    Video 9.5/10 (MVC)

    Audio 9.5/10 (DTS:X)

    Special Features:


    • Theatrical + Extended Version of the Film
    • Commentaries
    • Visions of Elysium: Topic Portal
    • Strength and Honor: Creating the World of Gladiator
    • Image and Design
    • Abandoned Sequences & Deleted Scenes
    • The Aurellian Archives
    • Blu-ray + Digital Copy

    With 12 Academy Award nominations and five wins, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell Crowe, Gladiator is one of my favorite films in recent memory. The screenplay by David H. Franzoni is a conventional tale of revenge, but the phenomenal cast takes what could have been some cheesy dialog and gives it emotional depth and feeling. If you’re on the UHD bandwagon, certainly add this to your collection. Highly recommended.
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  2. #2
    Administrator Tracy Rainwater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    I too loved this film on DVD, but never made the upgrade to Blu-ray. It's good to see that it received the presentation that it deserves.

    Thanks, David.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TrippleJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Thanks for the review. Great movie.
    Samsung UN75F8000 LED TV, NAD T-777 (7.2 Receiver), Oppo 103 Blu Ray Player, Sony PS4 Gaming Console, Panamax MR-5100 Surge Protection, 7 Paradigm Reference series 8" in ceiling speakers (AMS-150R) - 30 degree tilting speakers, 2 Paradigm SE Subs. Pictures here.


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