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Spartacus (50th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]
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Is it Kubrick's finest film? Well, frankly no it isn't. It's an interesting mishmash between Kubrick's detached, ironic style and Hollywood glitz. Spartacus is Kubrick for people who don't care for Kubrick's detached style. It doesn't measure up to Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001 or A Clockwork Orange although it does compare favorable to the much darker Paths of Glory.
Kubrick stated that his intent at the time was to subvert the cliches of the genre. As a result, Kubrick manages to reinvent a genre that was in danger of becoming a parody of itself. As a collaborative effort, Spartacus is a great piece of entertainment and far more sophisticated than almost everything else that came out of Hollywood at the time.
The transfer is beautiful with much of Kubrick's bold use of color restored. The strong acting of most of the cast has always been a virtue of Sparatcus. The soundtrack has been meticulously transferred to 5.1 and Alex North's beatiful score has never sounded so sweet, tragic and powerful before. The audio commentary is the same one that was on the laserdisc version.Read more ›
Universal's 2010 release of this film on Blu-Ray was a piece of garbage. My review below was made on a 52" screen.I've since created a projection room in my home and watch on a 100" screen. The flaws of that 2010 disc are so glaringly obvious now that it defies belief that Universal even released it.
Well, Universal has gone back and restored Spartacus from a fresh 6k scan of the 35mm Technirama color separates. They've cleaned up the print of dirt and scratches and color corrected the whole film. They've created new 5.1 and 7.1 channel HD audio mixes.
In short, the results speak for themselves. Detail is superb. Individual grains of sand, facial pores (which were almost entirely absent in the 2010 craporama), skin creases, very light film grain, it's all here. And it's blissfully free of any evident DNR or edge enhancement. Colors pop but not unnaturally so. Black levels are strong and stable but not crushed. In a word, superlative. In more than one word, ravishing, transporting, reminds the viewer of how magical watching a movie can be.
I am bumping my rating up to 4 stars. But I can't in good conscience go with 5, because of the history. Universal owes its customers an apology, if not a refund for the travesty they foisted upon them in 2010. I doubt we'll see any of it (they have not replied to my customer service query about a refund or disc exchange). But this disc is at least a good start.
NOTE TO CUSTOMERS:
Do not under any circumstances buy the 2010 edition of this movie.Read more ›
As an old-fashioned Hollywood epic, "Spartacus" doesn't disappoint the viewer - there are epic battle scenes, high drama, and some great acting by several Hollywood legends. Interestingly, the film's producers felt that the contrast between the slave-gladiators and their corrupt Roman masters would be given greater contrast if they cast British actors (Sir Laurence Olivier, Peter Ustinov, Charles Laughton) as the leading Roman characters, and American actors as the slaves (Douglas, Tony Curtis, Jean Simmons). All of the actors listed above shine in this film - Olivier simply drips with menace and hypocrisy as the great Roman General Crassus, who will stop at nothing to crush the slave revolt and bring the entire Roman Empire under his personal control. Laughton is delightful as Gracchus, a fat and somewhat corrupt, but also clever and freedom-loving, Roman Senator who loathes Crassus.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Terrible film, badly acted, bad script, bad dialogue. Hard to believe Kubrick directed this. Boring.Published 1 day ago by PJ
During Easter/Lenten season of 2016- decide to invest in some perennial religious and biblical video stories to enrich my spiritual knowledge.Published 13 days ago by John R. Schwartz
It's a classic. Great story with great character studies. It's somewhat close to what really happened to Spartacus, but doesn't have history quite right.Published 23 days ago by Joseph Delisle
Great movie. My students love watching this at the end of their Rome unit.Published 1 month ago by Sarah B
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