Customer Reviews: Gladiator Signature Selection (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
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on January 19, 2011
Pay very careful attention when trying to determine which disc you actually received from Amazon. There's conflicting information on the internet as far as the telltale signs of the remastered disc versus the original crappy transfer. For example, most people tell you the packaging for the new version has a yellow UPC....not always true. Other people tell you the copyright on the back bottom right of the box says 2010 DW Studios LLC instead of the original which says 2009, also not always true.
It seems the only definitive way to tell if you have the new version is to look at the innermost rings on the underside of Disc One itself. Hold it up to the light, and at the end of a string of letters and numbers, you should see "B1R2". If you have anything else (i.e. B1R1), you have the original version and NOT the remastered one!
If so, exchange it promptly.
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on February 4, 2011
I do have the remastered version and it looks and sounds great! At first I wasn't sure. After doing some research I have confirmed that I HAVE THE REMASTERED VERSION.

BD has yellow UPC bar code not white.

2-DISC SET does not appear above the Paramount logo on the slip case (outside cardboard of BD packaging). However, and this is what threw me off; 2 DISC SET does appear above Paramount logo on the inner sleeve of keep case.

Remastered version no longer has a white, titled security sticker on the top of the case.

As for the inner ring number issue there are multiple numbers identifying the disc as the remastered version.
NA13081B1R2 - remastered version

BVDL-103860B1 (on my BD) is ALSO the correct number for REMASTERED copies of Gladiator.

The final confirmation that I had the remastered version; all the arrows appear in the opening battle sequence.
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on August 23, 2009
This review refers to the blu-ray picture quality only. The movie itself is an absolute classic. Unfortunately this blu-ray was a victim of considerable DNR and EE that has actually removed and distorted picture detail. Here's a good example. At the beginning of the movie where we see Maximus as a General leading a final battle, you see an amazing wide shot of flying, flaming, arrows. It should look amazing, right? Wrong. The picture was DNR'd so badly that it actually removed arrows and the ones you can see are a blurred mess! Absolutely terrible. Don't waste your money on this. Wait until they release a quality blu-ray because "this is not it!"
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on August 31, 2009
The version about to be released on 2009-09-01 is defective. Picture quality is from the 2000 DVD master. I would advise waiting until an updated release is made available, don't let them make you pay twice!!
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on June 18, 2013
This steelbook of Gladiator is as good as you can currently get.

Perhaps the first two reviewers would prefer the old release of Gladiator on blu ray where so many people complained about the Digital Noise Reduction and Edge Enhancement that this remastered blu ray was produced. Perhaps they would prefer the DVD.

Gladiator was shot on 35mm film. Film has grain. I much prefer to see the film grain than to view something that has been excessively processed and treated, but some people would prefer all blu rays to look like they were shot on digital HD cameras. And some people like to find fault with everything.

Just look at the amazon reviews for the 'regular' Gladiator blu ray and you'll see what I mean.

This steelbook rates as 5 stars. You get a two blu ray set of Gladiator, including the Theatrical version, the Extended version and a disc full of special features. All this in a very nice steelbook package, that at the time of writing is $9.99, less than the regular 'Saphhire Series' release. Only the German steelbook artwork looks better.
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on October 30, 2000
Gladiatorial combat is immortalized in this film, the only way it can be: through stunning action sequences and beautiful imagery. It also immortalizes, above all, director Ridley Scott.
Roger Ebert complains of people with short memory spans praising this film while forgetting that films like Spartacus have supposedly done this before. Well, I have a good memory, and I remember Spartacus. In fact, I kept on remembering that film while watching Gladiator, only in the context of, "This is so much better than Spartacus. It goes beyond." The action is better, the visuals are better, the story is better, and the acting is better. Sorry, Kirk.
Since this is an action film, the story isn't the most important element, but for an action film it is actually quite good. For one thing, I liked the disturbing under-the-surface incest element going on between Commodus and Connie Nielson. Furthermore, it was interesting to see how Crowe gained support among the gladiators until it became as if he were a general leading his army again. The plot itself needed to be there in order to fully create a sense of grandeur. With its insurrection story, the rise of the hero and his trek to the capitol of Rome, and the look at the people in power, the plot creates a sense of time-and-place necessary for an epic that couldn't exist with the visuals and action alone.
The acting is among the best one can ever seen for an action film, and there is plenty of fine dramatic work pulled off by the two main actors. Russell Crowe is now one of the best "new" (four or five films so far) actors in film. We believe, in his glances and the ways he delivers his many great lines, that he is Maximus. He is poignant, hate-filled, and sorrowful all at once. The praise he is getting is deserved. But why isn't Phoenix being lauded just as much? He carries the film in the second-largest role just as well as Crowe. His Emperor Commodus isn't a good villain and has no real character, but Phoenix adds so many layers to him and turns him into a great antagonist that that alone makes his performance excellent. He commands attention just as Crowe does. All by himself (no help from any great dialogue or development), he creates a villain that is prissy, whining, ambitious, pathetic, and malevolent, and worthy of our hate as well as our pity. It's a wonderful transformation. To sum it up, the characters themselves aren't really developed at all- but the acting is so good that it seems they are.
Now, onto the action, which, as I had hoped, is plentiful and intense. It has diversity and grandeur. All the fights were fast, hard-hitting, uncensored, and very bloody, which is what they should've been like. And every single fight sequence is unique from the others. There's the match where two men fought chained to each other, the opening war battle, Maximus vs. numerous other fighters, and the final sword duel, to name a few. This is so much more than just two half-naked men fighting with swords, which is what it could've been. The film also captures the feel and the motion of combat. Ridley Scott speeds up the film slightly during fight scenes to show the chaos and rapid reflexes necessary to survive. During the fight scenes, the camerawork is nonstop and covers the combat as one big blur to the fighters. (But we can still follow the fights themselves.)
This film also stands out in my mind as one of the most visual, image-driven action films I've ever seen. Thanks to Ridley Scott, practically every scene is jammed with wonderful detail, art direction, even distinct lighting (the Collosseum orange, other parts of Rome dark blue). Just look at the wide multitude (seemingly infinite number) of battle masks, weapons, and locales. Cinematography is skillful and impressive. There are tons of memorable shots, like Maximus entering the ring with rose petals coming down on him like rain from above, Commodus' pure white battle costume (when he's being risen up on the platform he looks like a demented angel ascending to heaven), and the images used to represent Crowe's home- the gentle hand carressing the wheat reeds, the door to his house, etc. They had a surreal quality and each were bathed in their own distinct color. Excellent work, Ridley.
A very impressive film. So why can't all summer movies be this good? We'd be spoiled.
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VINE VOICEon August 28, 2009
<Complete excerpt from review on> for which I wholey trust and respect the opinion of Bill Hunt, editor.

Okay... so, I've seen Gladiator and Braveheart on Blu-ray this afternoon. I should let you know that I tried to get the discs from Paramount directly. They're usually very helpful and responsive in such situations, but they genuinely don't seem to have them available to send them out until early next week, for whatever reason. Given the controversy around the Net regarding the Gladiator transfer, however, I still wanted to be able to see the discs today myself - rather than comment on all this screenshot silliness - to make my own judgments and report here in time for you all to have fair warning prior to street date (9/1 - this coming Tuesday). It's your money, and you want to spend it wisely. You need information in order to do that.

Let me first comment on the whole issue of screenshots. Judging a disc based on a few screenshots is, I think, silly. A screenshot represents 1/24 of a second of film. For a 2-hour film, that just 1/172,800th of the total visual information. You just can't properly judge a transfer based upon that little information. Screenshots CAN be illustrative of various kinds of image-related problems. But you really have to see the image in full motion to judge the complete context and impact of anything you see in a single frame grab. There's also the problem of potential alterations or artifacts that result from the frame-grabbing process itself, not to mention any changes resulting from image compression/editing software used by the poster - no matter how well intentioned - to present the frame-grab online. Finally, I've seen enough deliberately Photoshop doctored frame-grabs posted in discussion forums in my day that I just don't trust them. Ultimately, the only real way to judge these things properly is with your own eyes, first-hand, in context, in full motion, presented on proper equipment. Period.

That being the case, an exhaustive search of retailers and rentailers in my area turned up a "mom and pop" rental shop nearby that had both Blu-ray titles available for rent prior to street date. I was able to pick up the discs this morning, and I've since gone through the transfers in some detail. I'm not going to talk about the extras - I'll do that in more detail next week, and I can tell you with confidence that the extras on both discs are absolutely first-rate. No complaints there whatsoever. As for the A/V quality, however, here's my two cents...

Upon first glance, and as expected, the HD presentation quality of Gladiator isn't as bad as some online would have you believe. Color and contrast is fine at all times. The problem is with the level of detail. The vast majority of the film has a slightly digital-looking quality to it, and there's clear edge-enhancement "haloing" visible. The extended edition scenes, however, look fine - no halos, no digital patina - they're very natural looking. If the whole film looked like the extended scenes, we wouldn't be having this conversation. What it looks like to me, is that someone at Universal (keep in mind, it's Universal that controls the Gladiator assets for DreamWorks - not Paramount), decided to re-use the original digital master of the HD transfer done back in 2000 for the very first DVD release. Now, that transfer was state of the art for its day, and it was approved by director Ridley Scott, but obviously it's a far cry from the quality of new HD transfers done today, in 2009. One of the biggest problems is that until fairly recently, video mastering engineers were still applying edge-enhancement to their digital masters knowing that they were going to be used ultimately for standard-definition DVD release, and also analog VHS and laserdisc. It took the mastering community a long time to break the habit. In this Gladiator transfer, you can see it in the image. It's also clear that the 2000 digital master has been digitally-filtered to reduce the haloing and other artifacts - the signs of DNR are not hard to miss. That's in contrast to the extended edition scenes, which were transferred in HD in 2005 and so look much better. They're still not quite up to today's standards, but they look far superior to the rest of the film and there's no edge-enhancement or obvious filtering visible. The footage simply looks natural - as it should. There's been some talk of DNR being so excessive that - for example - arrows and fireballs disappear from one frame to the next. This IS an issue, but the fact is that when you watch the image in full motion it's not something you really notice. The arrow or fireball is highly visible in one frame, less so in the next, more so in the third, etc. You still detect the object in motion, so you don't go, "Oh my god, that fireball just disappeared!" The image just looks generally digital and lacking in fine detail. Overall, I would grade the A/V quality of the Gladiator Blu-ray thusly:

Video: 15.5 (theatrical footage)/17 (extended scenes)
Audio: 18

Let me be clear: Gladiator on Blu-ray is quite watchable - especially if you have a smaller screen. On the comparative grading scale we use for Blu-ray, the very best DVD video and audio quality would be graded a 10. So it's definitely an improvement over the previous DVD releases. The problem is, the best Blu-rays - most high-quality titles on the format these days - score in the 18-19 range. So while this disc is watchable, that's just not good enough, either for the format as a whole or for most fans and enthusiasts
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on June 30, 2013
Look elsewhere for a review of the Gladiator film.

This Steelbook version contains a theatrical and extend version of the film. For those who care, this does contain the "fixed" version of the blu-ray. IE: the one that looks pretty.

The steelbook case is nothing overtly special, but it is fairly cool for those interested. I purchased this version because it was it contained the right version of the film along with being considerably lower in cost. The case was a nice bonus.
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on August 31, 2009
What a disappointment for such a heralded and popular film.

This disc is a retread of the 2000 transfer, made for the DVD. What this means is that considerable edge enhancement (EE), or false sharpness, remains in place. Universal, in prepping the old, outdated transfer for release, smeared what is called "digital noise reduction," or DNR, all over the picture, to remove both the natural film grain that provides facial detail and other wonderful Blu-ray things, as well as cover up the nasty results of EE, which include white halos around most edges.

The result? A terrible picture:

1. The detail that justifies a Blu-ray upgrade, namely clear backgrounds and great facial detail, is GONE. It does NOT look like film, and barely upgrades the detail on the DVD. Yes, it's slightly better, but only because of the increased resolution. It's a barely noticeable upgrade.

2. Some elements are actually missing! Like arrows and catapult ammunition. Gone. Erased. Some spears have been magically segmented due to the errors.

In short, DO NOT BUY THIS BLU-RAY. It is a mere marginal upgrade from the DVD, and you should send a message to Paramount with your wallet. This is not worthy of the Sapphire label, and is not worthy of your purchase.
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on August 23, 2009
The picture is extremely shoddy in this Blu-Ray release! Avoid like the plague, so the studio gets the idea! What the heck is the studio doing releasing this atrocious transfer on BD when the movie itself is such a great one? Unbelievable! A movie like this should have a flawless transfer! Argh!
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