GLADIATOR - Extended Version - Quick Review

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by MJeeves, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. MJeeves

    MJeeves
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    Hi Guys,

    Received my "GLADIATOR - EXTENDED VERSION" DVD over the weekend. And I thought I'd post my thoughts here. This is NOT an indepth review as I hope AVForums reviewers will do that. But it will be interesting to see if they come across the same things that I did...

    THE EXTENDED FILM:

    The DVD opens with a menu that allows you to choose between the Theatrical Cut and the Extended Cut of the film. The Extended Cut opens with a very brief intro by Director Ridley Scott.

    The Extended Version of GLADIATOR is a wonderful version of an already great film in my opinion. I think this Extended Cut improves on the film greatly - adding more character moments particularly for Commodus (Jaoquin Phoenix) and Lucilla (Connie Nielsen), more battle carnage and more battle aftermath footage. The drawback is that much of this footage was seen as deleted scenes on the original 2 disc DVD release (although that was poor non-anamorphic video while this is pristine looking!). However, there is some new stuff here and there and there is also some deleted scenes on the old DVD that are NOT in the Extended Cut or on this DVD at all (the lions feeding on the Christians and the treasure chest moments being two such examples). All in all, I thought the extra scenes improved the film without making the already long film drag. A great film made greater.

    VIDEO:

    The video is awesome as it was on the original release. It is every bit as good as the original release with excellent sharpness, depth, color, and little in the way of artifacts, shimmer, print damage or edge enhancement. A really good transfer that shows off Ridley Scott's stylish work and stylistic colors.

    AUDIO:

    The audio is a BIG matter for debate and something I'd like the HTF reviewers to check out as well. This release misses out on the DTS 6.1 ES track (infact it misses out on DTS totally). I loved the GLADIATOR DTS track on the first release and it is sorely missed here, especially as I thought the Dolby Digital 5.1 track on this new release is not to hot and infact quite disappointing. I find it a little compressed sounding and during the chariot / gladiator battle (the first in the coloseum) when Crowe is shouting his orders... I detected noticeable distortion! Annoying, as this was not noticed on the earlier DVD. The sound is O.K. but it is not as good as on the original release and that is not just because the DTS track is missing but the Dolby Digital one is inferior as well.

    SUPPLEMENTS:

    The extras are very good here but there is little overlap from this release and the 2 disc original. The audio commentary here is a newly recorded one with Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe. It plays ONLY over the Extended Cut and NOT the theatrical cut. Crowe seems to dominate the chat with Scott asking him questions and Crowe answering and talking and talking and talking. Even when Scott does chime in, it isn't long before Crowe interupts him and carries on. Having said that, the commentary is very informative and covers ground that was not covered on the original release's commentary.

    I did not use the trivia track, so I cannot comment on that.

    I flicked through the other supplements on Discs 2 and 3. The documentaries seem well made and the picture is excellent (and anamorphic to boot!). But I found the speakers and interviewees somewhat dry. Most of the cast appear in "on the set" vintage interviews although Connie Nielsen's stuff seems to be quite new (wow... she is a looker nowadays!). The "deleted scenes" are mainly storyboards mixed with footage or test material, and the trailers and TV spots are good (you get 20. That's right 20 TV spots!). There is no "making of" or "Gladiator" documentary like on the original release, and also the "cast and crew", "Lucious filming journel", and the "production notes" are also not on this release. The new stuff is good though and very indepth. From an extras point-of-view, you really need both releases to cover everything.

    With the extra scenes seemlessly put back in the film, the wonderful picture quality and the new extras, this release is excellent. However, the lack of DTS and the inferior audio, and the lack of overlap will probably prevent people getting rid of their original 2 disc DVD sets.

    Over to you AVForums reviewers for a more indepth review, but please see what you make of the distortion in the Dolby Digital track. Interesting.
     
  2. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Hi,

    Nice review Mike. :) It sounds like this is the kind of DVD that people should buy and keep alongside their original double-disc, DTS version! At least, that's what I would do.


    Pooch
     
  3. Gary D

    Gary D
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    thats what i WILL do Pooch :)

    Gary
     
  4. Indiana Jones

    Indiana Jones
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    Was tempted to pick this up over the weekend but the £25 price tag most places wanted put me off, will probaley wait for the R2 release as Play have it for pre-order at £13.99 :thumbsup:
     
  5. Seth Gecko

    Seth Gecko
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    FYI Both the US Region 1 and UK Region 2 versions are being reviewed this month (all going well!!!)
     
  6. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder
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    I won't waste my money on a version which has inferior sound no matter how good the extended scenes are, like most films this will eventually be re-released on another format ( Blu-Ray or HD-DVD ) and i will happily wait for that release a few years from now.
     
  7. MJeeves

    MJeeves
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    That's great! See what you make of the audio. I listened again last night and this distrotion is definately there. Too bad! :(
     
  8. Gary D

    Gary D
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    :confused:

    Wierd

    Gary
     
  9. Razor

    Razor
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    I have a 1080i version and it will blow any SD version out of the water. I will stick to this untill blue ray or HD-dvd arrives. :clap: :clap: :clap:

    Great movie, true story to. ;)
     

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