Gladiator celebrates its 20th Anniversary with a brand-new 4K steelbook. Given that it’s a movie older than 2012, none of the younger readers will remember it. So, why take a chance on releasing an older movie to 4K Ultra HD in this pandemic day and age? The answer is because the target audience is an increasing aging populace of people trying to keep from going crazy locked inside with their dusty home theater equipment.
But, what about Gladiator? Well…what about it?
Ridley Scott is a director that has earned a fair amount of scorn in the last decade. I think most of that has to deal with being an older white male revisiting his late 70s work. It seems to be that if you try to rework an idea you had in the past, there’s no shortage of neckbeards that will cry about it. So, why don’t they talk about Gladiator with any fervor? Hell, I’d settle for a lively chat about A Good Year at this point.
It was a big deal that a swords and sandals movie won Best Picture at the Oscars. In a year that brought us Traffic, Wonder Boys, Almost Famous and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon…it was a big deal that Gladiator busted up these races. Effectively using CG to recreate historic architecture and effectively world build, many were blown away by the future that Gladiator promised with its past. But, the film itself was a revenge story that we’ve seen before.
20 years have passed and the legacy of Gladiator has gone a little stagnant. Some might be able to tell you that Oliver Reed died during the production or how this one of Richard Harris’s last major film outings. Yet, no one can call out their favorite scenes or reference the dialogue. It’s not like people were floating to Elysian Fields back in 2000. People were forgetting about the movie when Battlefield: Earth opened on the following weekend.
We’ve discussed this recently on the site, but Gladiator was one of the last major films to benefit from being smart spectacle. It was a flashy CG romp with big stars that told a classic story with a throwback feel. Traffic was the better directed and acted movie. Almost Famous said smarter things about the past. Hell, Wonder Boys still sported one of the smartest scripts of the last 20 years. But, Gladiator looked cool and that was all people needed.
Paramount loads the 4K Ultra HD steelbook with all the special features from the prior 4K and Blu-ray releases. You get commentary from Ridley Scott, featurettes, deleted scenes, both cuts of the film and so much more! The A/V Quality is among Paramount’s best 4K releases. Check out the gallery and the included screenshots. I’d recommend a purchase.