Ridley Scott spirits us away to Rome for this revenge tale of a man who was truly wronged. Now it’s here on 4K Ultra HD, but how does it fare? Should you celebrate a glorious victory, or leave it to be carted off to the pyre?
The story: You just can’t escape politics, even if you’re in the year 180AD. Maximus (Russell Crowe) is a respected and powerful Roman general – a man of honour. He’s so respected that Emperor Marcus Aurelius selects Maximus as heir to his rule, despite him having a son, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), who is less than honourable. Before his death, the Emperor chooses Maximus to be his heir over his own son, kicking off a power struggle that leaves Maximus and his family condemned to death. Will the seemingly unbeatable Maximus’ desperate desire for revenge bear fruit?
“Are you not entertained?”
The 4K disc: A pure 4K transfer is the order of the day here, and it’s quite a good one. Despite a very fine, almost imperceptible grain, detail fares well, while the Dolby Vision (or HDR for those without DV hardware) treatment brings things to incredible life – from the bright whites and deep reds of garments all the way through to the things that are ever so shiny, such as shields, weaponry and armour.
Speaking of shiny, a new DTS:X mix has been created for Gladiator, and it really adds to the movie’s atmosphere. Be immersed in the Colosseum action as if you were there, while the opening battle scenes may have you ducking arrows as they twang all around. The soundtrack fares well, too, in particular Lisa Gerrard’s gorgeous voice in the theme song that she co-wrote with Hans Zimmer, ‘Now We Are Free’.
The 4K disc totes a handful of extras, with one standing out – the 16-minute longer extended cut from 2005 (or, should you prefer, XXV). Both versions feature commentaries, the theatrical version from Ridley Scott, cinematographer John Mathieson and editor Pietro Scalia, the extended cut from Scott and Russell Crowe.
Release date: August 15, 2018
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen
Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.