A big-budget summer epic with money to burn and a scale worthy of its golden Hollywood predecessors, Ridley Scott's Gladiator
is a rousing, grisly, action-packed epic that takes moviemaking back to the Roman Empire via computer-generated visual effects. While not as fluid as the computer work done for, say, Titanic,
it's an impressive achievement that will leave you marveling at the glory that was Rome, when you're not marveling at the glory that is Russell Crowe
. Starring as the heroic general Maximus, Crowe firmly cements his star status both in terms of screen presence and acting chops, carrying the film on his decidedly non-computer-generated shoulders as he goes from brave general to wounded fugitive to stoic slave to gladiator hero. Gladiator's plot is a whirlwind of faux-Shakespearean machinations of death, betrayal, power plays, and secret identities (with lots of faux-Shakespearean dialogue ladled on to keep the proceedings appropriately "classical"), but it's all briskly shot, edited, and paced with a contemporary sensibility. Even the action scenes, somewhat muted but graphic in terms of implied violence and liberal bloodletting, are shot with a veracity that brings to mind--believe it or not--Saving Private Ryan
, even if everyone is wearing a toga. As Crowe's nemesis, the evil emperor Commodus, Joaquin Phoenix
chews scenery with authority, whether he's damning Maximus's popularity with the Roman mobs or lusting after his sister Lucilla (beautiful but distant Connie Nielsen); Oliver Reed, in his last role, hits the perfect notes of camp and gravitas as the slave owner who rescues Maximus from death and turns him into a coliseum star. Director Scott's visual flair is abundantly in evidence, with breathtaking shots and beautiful (albeit digital) landscapes, but it's Crowe's star power that will keep you in thrall--he's a true gladiator, worthy of his legendary status. Hail the conquering hero! --Mark Englehart
Gladiator, Ridley Scott's modern classic, arrives on Blu-ray with more extras than a Roman epic. Russell Crowe stars in a Oscar-winning performance as betrayed General Maximus, in a rollicking swords and sandals spectacular placing you right in the middle of some savage gladiatorial scraps!
The great Roman General Maximus (Russell Crowe) has once again led the legions to victory on the battlefield. The war won, Maximus dreams of home, wanting only to return to his wife and son; however, the dying Emperor Marcus Aurelius has one more duty for the general - to assume the mantle of his power.
Jealous of Maximus' favour with the Emperor, the heir to the throne, Commodus, orders his execution - and that of his family. Barely escaping death, Maximus is forced into slavery and trained as a gladiator in the arena where his fame grows.
Now he has come to Rome, intent on avenging the murder of his wife and son by killing the new emperor; Commodus....
Theatrical version - mm a.d. (155 mins.)
Audio commentary by director Ridley Scott, cinematographer John Mathieson and editor Pietro Scalia
Deleted scenes - with optional commentary
Extended version - mmv a.d. (171 mins.)
Introduction by Ridley Scott
Audio commentary by director Ridley Scott and actor Russell Crowe
U-control features on both theatrical and extended versions
The scrolls of knowledge - the original are you not entertained? Trivia track newly enhanced allowing viewers to access a series of new behind-the-scenes featurettes exploring key scenes throughout the film
Visions From Elysium: topic marker - a u-control feature that allows disc one viewers to tag moments of interest throughout the entire film, allowing them to create 'shopping lists' of topics to learn more about from the features on disc two
Visions From Elysium: topic portal - a u-control feature that a