Introducing the extended edition of his 2000 Oscar-winning epic "Gladiator" (DreamWorks, $27), director Ridley Scott says this new version isn't 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 legions of fans.
Of course, this three-disc set is also a way to add a few more dollars to the coffers — the original "Gladiator" DVD, released in fall 2000, was a big moneymaker and is still one of the top 15 bestselling DVDs of all time.
A lot of the new material is quite good. Though some are just short extended scenes, a few sequences really stand out, including one in which Commodus visits the burial crypt of his father, Marcus Aurelius. At first he brutally 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 memorable turn as the gladiator Maximus. Adding to the viewing experience of the extended edition is 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.
... I still can't remember if I bought this video; I thought I had but it's gone missing. I guess now I have an excuse to get another. On a semi related note, I haven't seen 'Alexander' in the video stores (for sale) around here yet ... I did get House of Flying Daggers though ...