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In the final days of Marcus Aurelius' reign, the aging emperor arouses his son Commodus' anger when he makes known his wish that Maximus be his successor. Power-hungry Commodus kills his father and orders the death of Maximus. But the latter flees and hides his identity by becoming slave and a gladiator. Eventually, Maximus journeys back to Rome to confront his archrival.
- Making of Gladiator: HBO first look - 25 mins
- Deleted Scenes with Optional Director's Commentary
- Gladiator Games - 50 mins
- Hans Zimmer Profile - The Making Of The Music
- Pietro's Treasure Chest: Best of Deleted Footage Montage
- Spencer Treat Clark - Production Journal
- Original Storyboard Comparisons and Conceptual Art
- Photot Gallery
- Animated Menus
- Production Notes
- Cast and Crew Biographies
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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.
For the film itself, Gladiator never loses its power. It is a dark and brooding saga that never quite made sense to me as a revenge tragedy until Ridley Scott explained it as a journey of a man who wants to go home, rather like Odysseus. Maximus has lost through murder his wife, his son, and his place in Roman society. He seeks vengeance--almost suicide by duel--to take him to the Afterlife where he can be reunited with the only two people he loves in this world. When Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) whispers to him "You're home" she understand the nature of Maximus' epic journey to rejoin his family.
One of the interesting supplements deals with May 1999, when Oliver Reed died unexpectedly, and how the filmmakers dealt with the gaps he left. In a word, brilliantly. Reed's performance was great, and sustained the dark nature of the film. Crowe reputedly is both a consummate professional and grating pain in the butt. So, for that matter, was Phoenix as Commodus, who showed us the wounded nature of the man who could take his own father's life from shame and emotional desertion, and then turn to incestuous love for his sister.
The battlefield scene in the first part of the movie defines the universe as cruel and merciless. That vision prepares us for the arenas at Zucchubar and Rome itself. Win or die: there are no middle grounds.