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Gladiator

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    90
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Gladiator's 4K Ultra HD release is thrillingly impeccable and highly recommended.

    Gladiator 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    88
  • Gladiator's UHD blu-ray release offers the best visual fidelity ever, with natural filmic quality, enhanced colors via HDR & Dolby Vision, and detailed textures, despite minor source-material limitations.

  • Audio
    91
  • Gladiator's DTS:X upgrade magnifies its auditory experience with Zimmer & Gerrard's score, precise dialogue, and immersive effects, creating a reference-quality, enveloping soundscape.

  • Extra
    91
  • Gladiator's release includes a vast array of extras across its editions, with both Theatrical and Extended cuts, director and cast commentaries, and a rich collection of behind-the-scenes content highlighting the film's creation, all ensuring a comprehensive package for fans.

  • Movie
    90
  • Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe, reignited the swords and sandals genre, weaving an epic tale of revenge in ancient Rome, celebrated for its storytelling, performances, and impact on cinema and culture.

    Video: 88

    The 4K UHD Blu-Ray release of "Gladiator" showcases an impressively detailed and filmic visual experience, enhancing the iconic film with modern technological advancements without compromising its original aesthetic. Utilizing a 10-bit video depth, a wider color gamut (WCG), HDR, and Dolby Vision—encoded with the HEVC (H.265) codec—the presentation breathes new life into the Russell Crowe-led epic. Despite being shot on 35mm film and thus inheriting a grainy texture synonymous with its era and style, the remastering effort captures the intricate details of ancient Rome, from the gritty sands of the Coliseum to the intricate designs of armor and weaponry. This release is sourced from a new 4K scan, significantly elevating the quality over its Blu-ray predecessor, offering an unparalleled sharpness and clarity that is as close to the original theatrical presentation as modern home cinema allows.

    The implementation of HDR and Dolby Vision notably improves the visual depth and color intensity, bringing a vividness to the film's varied palette that was previously unattainable. Scenes are rendered with more natural blacks, and brighter, more distinct colors, especially in sequences that were originally limited by older home video formats. Crimson blood and blue skies pop with an intensity that starkly contrasts with the more subdued tones of the film's many dramatic moments. However, it's worth noting that while the overall clarity and detail have seen remarkable improvements, some inherent soft shots and minor print wear persist, likely a legacy of the original film elements and not a detraction from the remastering process. Even so, these issues are minor and do not detract significantly from what is an outstanding video presentation.

    This 4K UHD release does not merely update "Gladiator" for a modern viewing audience; it revitalizes an already stunning film for a new generation, striking a fine balance between respecting the original filmic texture and embracing the potential of high dynamic range and color fidelity technologies. The preservation of natural film grain alongside enhanced detail and color makes this version of "Gladiator" the definitive home video rendition. Fans of the film and 4K enthusiasts alike will find much to admire in this careful restoration that respects Ridley Scott's historical epic's visual grandeur while bringing its physical and emotional landscapes into startlingly renewed focus.

    Audio: 91

    The Gladiator 4K UHD Blu-ray offers an exceptional audio upgrade with its DTS:X Master Audio soundtrack, providing a captivating aural experience. This remix, built on a robust DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 core, does not simply ride on the prowess of its previous formats but elevates the auditory presentation to new heights. The legendary score by Hans Zimmer, in collaboration with Lisa Gerrard, remains a central pillar, delivering power and emotion that breathes life into every scene. The dialogue is crisp and clear, ensuring that every line, from Maximus' thunderous speeches to the softest whispers, is delivered with precision across the frontal array. The immersive sound design meticulously balances dialogue, atmospheric effects, and musical elements, creating a panoramic soundstage that enhances the film's dramatic impact.

    The incorporation of overhead channels in the DTS:X mix introduces a dimensional depth that places viewers in the heart of ancient Rome, from the chaotic thrill of the Coliseum's battles to the tension-filled silence of intimate conversations. Sound effects, such as the clash of swords, the roars of the crowd, and the subtle nuances of nature, are rendered with a precision that adds a tactile sense of realism. The DTS:X mix brings an improvement in spatial detailing and layering, particularly in scenes of high action where arrows soar overhead and battle cries echo, creating an enveloping sphere of sound that is both dynamic and engaging.

    While achieving new auditory heights, the mix retains a meticulous balance that honors its original design intentions. Every element, from Zimmer and Gerrard's haunting score to the intricacies of battlefield din and whispered dialogues, is presented with clarity and depth. Despite minor limitations in overhead sound placement compared to the zenith of DTS:X mixes, Gladiator's audio experience remains bombastic and immersive. It stands as a testament to the prowess of its sound team, delivering an auditory experience that complements its visual grandeur, making it a reference quality presentation worthy of praise and enjoyment at the highest volumes available.

    Extra: 91

    The "Gladiator" 4K UHD Blu-ray not only brings the epic drama to life with exceptional video and audio quality but also packs a significant punch with its extras. These are primarily offered across the accompanying Blu-ray discs, ensuring that aficionados and new viewers alike have a wealth of content to explore. Both the Theatrical and Extended Cuts receive detailed attention, augmented by insightful introductions and comprehensive commentaries from Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe, and other key collaborators. The addition of the "Strength and Honour: Creating the World of Gladiator" and various design and storyboard galleries provide a deep dive into the film’s creation. Unique highlights include the detailed "Aurelian Archives" and an impressive collection of deleted scenes, showcasing the legendary, albeit unrealised, Rhino Scene. This comprehensive package stands out for blending technical excellence with an abundance of content, appealing to both critics and fans for its depth and quality.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Introduction by Ridley Scott: Insight into the Extended Edition.
    • Commentary by Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe: A detailed discussion for the Extended Edition.
    • Commentary by Ridley Scott, Pietro Scalia, and John Mathieson: Commentary for the Theatrical Edition.
    • The Scrolls of Knowledge: Rich additional information.
    • Visions from Elysium: Topic Portal for extended universe content.
    • Strength and Honor: Creating the World of Gladiator: An extensive documentary.
    • Image & Design: Includes Storyboard Demonstration, Archive, Costume Design Gallery, Photo Galleries.
    • Abandoned Sequences & Deleted Scenes: Rare footage including the Rhino Fight scene.
    • The Aurelian Archives – My Gladiator Journal by Spencer Treat Clark: Personal insights from the actor.
    • And More: Additional features documenting the creation and impact of "Gladiator".

    Movie: 90

    Ridley Scott's "Gladiator," starring Russell Crowe as the valiant Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius, remains a pinnacle of epic filmmaking, telling a story of betrayal, vengeance, and redemption against the grand backdrop of the Roman Empire. The film kick-started a resurgence in the swords-and-sandals genre in 2000, setting a benchmark for visual storytelling and historical drama. With a compelling narrative, rich character development, and breathtaking set pieces funded by a then-astronomical budget of $100 million, Scott delivers an emotionally charged experience that has endured as a modern classic. Crowe's portrayal of Maximus, embellished by his own improvisations, along with a standout supporting cast including Joaquin Phoenix's conniving Commodus and Richard Harris's principled Marcus Aurelius, anchor the film's human drama amidst its epic scope.

    The technical presentation of "Gladiator" in 4K UHD Blu Ray by Paramount showcases an impressive leap in audiovisual quality, ensuring that Scott's meticulous production and the film's sweeping desert vistas are rendered with stunning clarity and depth, courtesy of the 2160p/Dolby Vision transfer and a new DTS:X Master Audio soundtrack. Even though this release carries over the comprehensive suite of extras from its previous versions without new supplements, the significant upgrade in picture and sound quality revitalizes this iconic film for both long-time fans and new viewers alike. This underscores "Gladiator"'s enduring appeal, balancing powerful storytelling with groundbreaking technical achievements.

    The release corrects past issues with earlier Blu-ray editions, offering a definitive viewing experience that renders the film's historical grandeur and emotional intensity with newfound vividness. Despite being a product of its time, "Gladiator" feels surprisingly tangible and grounded compared to contemporary blockbusters, thanks to its judicious use of practical effects and CG enhancements. This investment in authenticity pays off, preserving the film’s legacy as a seminal work that not only reinvigorated interest in ancient history and epic cinema but also paved the way for future explorations of similar themes in film and television.

    Total: 90

    Gladiator," Ridley Scott's magnum opus, receives a triumphant enhancement with its Ultra HD Blu-ray release from Paramount Home Distribution, delivering a visual and auditory experience that surpasses all previous home video formats. This release, hailed as the best the film has ever looked or sounded, utilizes the original shot-on-film 4K source material, complemented by the vividness of Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range, to bring the epic scope of ancient Rome and its gladiatorial combats to life like never before. The addition of a DTS:X Master Audio soundtrack envelops viewers in an immersive soundscape that enhances every sword clash and whispered conspiracy. Despite the high praise, it's noted that while the presentation is not without its flaws, it represents a significant upgrade over prior Blu-ray versions, retaining all previously released extra content in a comprehensive three-disc set.

    The enduring appeal of "Gladiator" is evident not only in its narrative—a gripping tale of revenge, valor, and redemption—but also in the technical marvel of its presentation. The film, which catapulted Russell Crowe to stardom and secured 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, benefits immensely from the technological advancements offered by 4K UHD. The 2160p resolution modestly enhances the film elements over the excellent Blu-ray version, but it's the enriched color palette that allows the cinematic spectacle to truly shine. Furthermore, the dynamic DTS:X audio track brings new life to Hans Zimmer's iconic score and the thunderous roars of the Colosseum, delivering an unparalleled home theater experience.

    Conclusively, the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of "Gladiator" is an essential addition for both longtime fans and newcomers to the epic saga of Maximus Decimus Meridius. With its superior video and audio enhancements, this release not only sets a benchmark for how catalog titles should be presented in emerging home video formats but also reaffirms the film's status as a masterpiece of modern cinema. Whether it's the magnificence of ancient Rome in stunning 4K resolution or the compelling narrative that weaves personal vendetta with the grandeur of epic storytelling, "Gladiator" in Ultra HD Blu-ray is highly recommended and evidences why, even after two decades, it remains a titan of the action/period drama genre.