Gladiator – 4K UHD Review

Gladiator is a 2000 epic historical drama film that was directed by Ridley Scott and written by David Franzoni, John Logan, and William Nicholson. It stars Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Ralf Moller, Oliver Reed (in his final role), Djimon Honsou, Derek Jacobi, John Shrapnel, and Richard Harris. Crowe portrays the Hispano-Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius, who is betrayed when Commodus, the ambitious son of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, murders his father and seizes the throne. Reduced to slavery, Maximus rises through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena to avenge the murders of his family and the emperor he once served.

The film was released in the United States on May 5, 2000, and received considerably favorable reviews from film critics as it ended up grossing $457 million worldwide, making it the second-highest grossing film of 2000. The film has won multiple awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Crowe and three other Oscars at the 73rd Academy Awards. It has also been credited for rekindling the interest in entertainment that’s centered around ancient Greek and Roman culture, such as the television series Rome.

The Film Itself (4.5/5):

Gladiator is one of those films that takes the entire concept of the brutality of Roman gladitorial combat and brings it to the screen in epic proportions.  The insane amount of “oomph” that went behind a lot of the strikes that Crowe’s character landed during the battle scenes are of the upmost noteworthy proportions.  Coupled with an insanely stellar performance by everyone involved as they work together to share the complexities and overall intrigue that lies beneath the entire political environment of that time.  While this movie is one that I’ve always enjoyed in the few times that I’d seen it since its release, it’s definitely one of those movies that you have to be in the mood for.

Picture Quality (5/5):

Offering a completely native 4K presentation with the utilization of HDR 10 and Dolby Vision, Gladiator absolutely shined as it played out across my living room television.  Providing audiences with a significantly more natural feel to the film, it was pretty insane to see how damn good this movie looked with the color boost and sharper resolution.  Everything from the detail to the clothing that was worn during this film to the individual grains of sand (or dirt) that lined the floor of the colosseum absolutely stood out with this new release.

Audio Quality (5/5):

Bundled with an English DTS:X audio track, the UHD release of Gladiator packs one hell of a punch for those people that are able to make use of the technology behind the track.  Not only offering an immserive experience for its viewers, the bass track of this release does a spectacular job at emphasizing the impact of those strikes that were landed during the combat scenes, ultimately making for a much, much better experience for viewers.

The Packaging (2.5/5):

The 4K UHD release of Gladiator comes packaged in a three disc 4K UHD amaray case.  Within that case is the standard 4K UHD copy of the film, the standard Blu-ray copy of the film as well as a third Blu-ray disc that contains the majority of the special features and additional content for this release.  None of the discs within this release feature any artwork that’s related to the film outside of the standard release text and the generic blue or black background respectively.  There are no DVD copies included, but there is a digital copy redemption pamphlet included for the various streaming options.  A slipcover has been included during the original pressing that features the same piece of art that’s available on the case.  This release also includes both the theatrical and unrated presentations of the movie.

  

Special Features (5/5):

The UHD release of Gladiator comes fully packed with special features that not only allows the audience to explore the story further, but there are some that shows some of the work that went into making this film.  Surprisingly enough, some special features are also included on the UHD disc, which is starting to become more of a common item now.  Included with this release is:

  • 4K
    • Introduction By Ridley Scott (Extended Edition)
    • Feature Audio Commentary By Director Ridley Scott & Actor Russell Crowe (Extended Edition)
    • Feature Audio Commentary By Director Ridley Scott, Editor Pietro Scalia & Cinematographer John Mathieson (Theatrical Edition)
  • Blu-ray
    • Introduction By Ridley Scott (Extended Edition)
    • Feature Audio Commentary By Director Ridley Scott & Actor Russell Crowe (Extended Edition)
    • Feature Audio Commentary By Director Ridley Scott, Editor Pietro Scalia & Cinematographer John Mathieson (Theatrical Edition)
    • The Scrolls Of Knowledge
    • Deleted Scenes Index With Optional Audio Commentary By Ridley Scott
    • Visions From Elysium: Topic Portal
    • Strength & Honor: Creating The World Of Gladiator
    • Image & Design: Storyboard Design, Storyboard Archive, Costume Design Gallery, Photo Galleries
    • Abandoned Sequences & Deleted Scenes
    • The Aurelian Archives
    • My Gladiator Journal By Spencer Treat Clark
    • And More!

Technical Specs:

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR 10

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Audio

English: DTS:X

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

English: DTS Headphone:X

French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles

English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Korean

Runtime

1 Movie, 2 Cuts: 171 minutes

Final Thoughts:

While I am still irritated that the 4K UHD release of Gladiator was originally announced as a launch title for the format as it was one of those films that I had first thought of upon upgrading my home theater, I am beyond ecstatic that they had waited and taken their time with this release; because it was simply beautiful.  This particular release is one that should be the feature piece of everyone’s UHD collection.  Not only is the presentation above and beyond what I had expected, but the overall amount of content that’s packed into this release is something that I personally didn’t expect at all.  If you’re considering grabbing this release for your collection, I would hands down recommend grabbing it.  Gladiator will be available for purchase on 4K UHD beginning on Tuesday, May 15, 2018.

Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.

 

Doug

Movie lover, technophile, moderator of /r/dvdcollection and just your average, everyday movie viewer. Haven't heard of our subreddit? Check us out!

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