Pleasing reprise of `Gladiator'

New on DVD

September 01, 2005|By Susan King | Susan King,LOS ANGELES TIMES

Introducing the extended edition of his 2000 Oscar-winning epic Gladiator (DreamWorks, $25), director Ridley Scott says this new version is not his director's cut - that was the one released in theaters five years ago. But he thinks the 17 additional minutes woven into the box office hit should please the movie's fans.

A lot of the new material is quite good. A few sequences stand out, including one in which Commodus visits the burial crypt of his father, Marcus Aurelius. At first, he attacks his father's bust with a dagger but then breaks into a flood of tears as he hugs the bust. Joaquin Phoenix, who received an Oscar nomination, is particularly strong in this deleted sequence.

The high point of the set - which also includes the theatrical version - is the disarming, informative commentary of Scott and Russell Crowe, who received the best-actor Oscar for his turn as the gladiator Maximus. In an informative trivia track, "Are You Not Entertained?" the trivia box turns red every time there is new footage.

The second disc features the lengthy documentary Strength and Honor: Creating the World of Gladiator , and the third disc explores the image and design of the film.

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