Gladiator 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 250, June/July 2020

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Paramount Home Entertainment
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Intense Graphic Combat
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Ridley Scott
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DTS Neo:X 11.1 Lossless, DTS HD Lossless 7.1
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"Gladiator" is the story of Maximus (Crowe), a Roman general who is betrayed by Commodus (Phonenix), a corrupt prince, and comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge, after his wife and child were murdered by Commodus. Captured, Maximus is forced into slavery, where he is sold to Proximo (Reed), a former gladiator who serves as both mentor and slavemaster. Maximus trains as a gladiator in the arena, where his fame grows. This is the 20th anniversary of the film, which won five Academy Awards®, including Best Picture and Best Actor (Crowe). (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director Ridley Scott, Pietro Scalia, and John Mathieson (theatrical) and Scott and Actor Russell Crowe (extended); the featurettes "Visions From Elysium: Topic Portal," "Strength And Honor: Creating The World Of Gladiator" (HD 03:16:50) and "Image And Design"; abandoned sequences and deleted scenes; The Aurellian Archives and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

The 2.39:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed on Eastman and Kodak Vision film stock in Super 35 using the Aaton 35-III, Arriflex 35-III, Panavision Panaflex Gold II, and Panavision Panaflex Platinum camera systems and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format remastered in 2018. Both the theatrical (02:34:59) and extended versions (02:50:56) are available. The picture is extremely natural in appearance with a fantastically realistic color palette. The color gamut is wide and finely nuanced in hue shadings and texture, exhibiting natural earthen tones. Dimensional depth is superb. Fleshtones are perfectly natural. Resolution is impressively detailed and brings realistic life to the intricate production design. There are so many details that the eyes never cease to be captivated, especially in the nuances of textures of leathery armor and shield grime, stone facades, and rough terrain. Facial features, such as skin pores, creases and lines, hair, beards, etc., are finely detailed. HDR contrast is wide and impressively balanced, exhibiting deep black levels and revealing shadow delineation. Daylight scenes exhibit variations from bright sunlight to overcast skies. Night scenes are filled with light by fire and candles. Interiors are revealing of shadow shading contrasted with dramatic spot lighting. The complexity of contrast and resolution is stunning, with textures accentuated. HDR contrast also translates to deep, rich blacks, especially exhibited on Commodus' black-dominant wardrobe, and revealing shadow delineation. WOW! segments are from 05:17 to 09:34, 48:00 to 49:12, 01:22:29 to 01:25:40, 01:56:20 to 02:00:26, 02:28:16 to 02:28:48 and 02:34:56 to 02:37:28.

This is a reference-quality filmic presentation of this Ridley Scott classic with vibrant color and superb sharpness and clarity. (Gary Reber)

The new remastered DTS:X/DTS HD Master Audio™ 7.1-channel soundtrack is powerful and dynamic sounding with a sweeping Hans Zimmer orchestral/choral score that envelops the soundfield with impressive dimension. Atmospherics are incredibly realistic, particularly the discretely enveloping crowd chatter and cheering in Colosseum environments, from small to Roman-sized. Sound effects are seemingly infinite, from powerful and aggressive to nuanced. Explosions are powerful and ignite widely scattered debris. Battles between gladiators are intense including that of a tiger's aggravated presence. Crowd applause, cheers, jeers and chants envelop. Foley sound effects are perfect and create exceptional realism. Atmospherics sound realistic and effectively define environments. Dialogue is intelligible throughout with good spatial integration.

The Immersive Sound element is comprised of the Hans Zimmer orchestral/choral score extended to the height layer. Atmospherics and sound effects are effectively dimensionalized, including bird sounds, a galloping horse, soldier cheers, sounds of fire balls and arrows, horse-drawn carriage sounds, atmospheric din, wind, hallucination sounds, bells on cows pulling a wagon, sounds of people chattering, crowd cheers and jeers, blade scraps, reverberant dialogue and other effects, all of which enhance spatial dimensionality.

This is a tremendous holosonic® spherical surround soundtrack that is reference quality throughout. (Gary Reber)