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Gladiator (DTS-ES 6.1) "Signature Selection"

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Robin

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Title: Gladiator (DTS-ES 6.1) “Signature Selection”
Year of Release: 2000
Film Studio: Universal / DreamWorks
Genre: Action Adventure / War / Drama


The most excellent ‘Sand and Sandal’ film yet made. “Gladiator”, has it all, from thrilling action adventure, war, and gladiator contests to tense love scenes. Ridley Scott has made a grand masterpiece epoch. The tale of a loyal General, ‘Maximus’ played wonderfully by, Russell Crowe. Maximus is, unfortunately, thrown into the middle of a son’s anger and treachery toward the 'right of power and succession'. Maximus survives execution, but ends up a captured slave, eventually, owned by Priximo, Oliver Reed’s character. This was Oliver Reeds finial glorious performance. Sadly, Oliver Reed, died of a heart attack in Marco, during the filming, but thankfully Scott had shot enough of his scenes, so that his finial wonderful performance, could be included in the film. Maximus must defend the Roman Empire in a duel to the death with Commodus, portrayed superbly by Joaquin Phoenix. The great Richard Harris plays the famous Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius. One of my favorite scenes of this film is between Commodus and Marcus Aurelius in the war tent, as Aurelius informs Commodus that Maximus will rule after his death. Commodus then suffocates his father in a very passionate emotional embrace. Phoenix and Harris are just terrific in the scene.

I find, Ridley Scott’s direction, during the opening battle, to be truly inspired. This is one of the scenes, I use to Wow, unsuspecting people to my ML home theater... Visually, this opening battle scene, between the Goths and the Romans is stunning. Scott does not over do the individual fight sequences. He slows them down or speeds them up just briefly and edits so masterfully, so each detail of the battle is magnificently revealed. One of the things Ridley Scott is most noted for in his films, is his beautiful cinematography, and with "Gladiator", he does not disappoint. Their are gorgeous dream scenes, of Maximus going home, walking through fields of golden wheat, of his wife and son happily at home, scenes depicting Maximus near death - where he is just floating over rocks towards a wall, beautifully filmed, excellent cinematography... Ridley Scott's direction is impressive, most impressive...

From a sound effects perspective, I am continually blown away, by the separation of the sound effects and music into the DTS-ES 6.1 speakers. In "Gladiator" an arrow shot, will ring out and whip, whish and fly though, to my Theater i, then move quickly to my Ascent i’s, then straight to my Script i’s, then impacted with a thud, landing at my - Sony tower rear speakers. I can hear all of the horses bridles, hoofs, snorts, men, swords (metal on metal) and catapults as clear as day, in all of the surround speakers. This sound track tests my ML's to the maximus... This is an astounding film for sound on DVD. It definitely has Wow!!! appeal…. :D

I must mention Connie Nielsen’s excellent performance, as the person closest to Commodus, and being his sister Lucilla. She is so gifted in her moving performance as a tortured princess, in love with our hero Maximus. I really love films with a lot of action and not only, one great a love story, but two great love stories. Evil Commodus in love with his sister was a surprisingly emotional twist.

I’ve saved my accolades of just how fantastic the close-up fight scenes of the gladiator contests were for last. I thought the less talked about performance of Dujmon Hounson’s character, all through out the film, showed such a wonderful friendship, full of respect, admiration and honor. It was a great supporting performance by Hounson in this film.... My favorite gladiator fight scene, although I loved them all, was the one, involving the four Bengal Tigers, with the undefeated champion gladiator vs. Maximus... Fought in the Colosseum, in Rome, it was simply outstanding in every detail and aspect, just perfectly choreographed…

The ‘Bonus Features’ DVD disc is excellent with a plethora of ‘Featurettes’ and ‘making of’ interviews. The 25 mins. of deleted scenes are not to be missed. These deleted scenes proved to be very hard, for Ridley Scoot, to cut out of his finial version, which is probably why; there is another extended version of this film currently on the market today. I did not care for the extended version, largely due to the fact that the sound is only in regular, ‘Dolby 5.1’. The sound of this film is sooooo important to the over-all presentation of the film, in my opinion. I recommend the "Signature Selection", double DVD disc set, version of this film on DVD only…

I am the first to admit, I just love history and historical events, in literature or on film. “Gladiator”, is marvelous at portraying all of the best elements in just the right amounts to entertain completely. I feel, “Gladiator”, is movie making at it’s very best. The film does this, by simply imparting to the audience, feeling and all of the emotions the story wants and needs to convey. This is a glorious film and looks and sound fantastic on DVD. I highly recommend it… :D


:D HT relaxed, comfortably surrounded in ML bliss, until next time, let the movies turn you on…

Cheers

-Robin
 

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