Gladiator was one of the very few movies that took me back to the cinema this last year. I saw this flick at the new Krikorian theater here in Redlands, a very plushy looking theater. Unfortunately, George Krikorian went cheap when it comes to presentation; the use of very large lenses to fill those large scope screens wind up showing all the defects a print may have...and Gladiator's film stock seems to be very grainy is some scenes.
After waiting seemingly forever for AMAZON to ship me several pre-orders (that is it! No more waiting to be last in watching new releases!), Gladiator finally arrived this Monday. I watched it this morning on a 12 foot wide scope screen, via a Dukane ImagePro 9015 D-ILA projector (professionally calibrated), using a Crystal Image video scaler and Sony DVP-S7000 DVD player. A Isco anomorphic lens attachment was deployed in front of the 9015 to restore images to their normal proportions because I chose not to use the scaler's aspect ratio controller for that task since Gladiator is an enhanced DVD.
The scope image quality is astonishingly film-like and in fact looks better than the print I saw at the cinema because grain content is nearly non-existent. Images are sharply defined, and had no trouble seeing even the smallest details as resolving high resolution is attainable with this set up. Colimetry mimics closely that of film prints and in fact I think is about the same as I recall. I did find some edge enhancement bothersome in some scenes, but for a scope ratioed film image quality just doesn't get any better...
Sound wise, I could only listen to the AC-3 track since the S7000 doesn't allow DTS data stream to pass (I'll be checking this DVD on my HT-PC, which does DTS--have to hear it!). The Lexicon DC-1 Version 4, which is equipped for Dolby EX/DTS ES, sounds phenomenal through the 8.0 channel system. Metal clashes and similar sonic subjects emerge shockingly realistic, and when objects are swing around (like the chariots, etc.) one is able to discern clearly the directions from which the sound sources proceed.
Amazingly for a movie of this genre, bass is powerful and deep. My eight SVS 46/16 subwoofers had no trouble whatsoever conveying a realistic sonic portrayal of dozens of horses cavalcade at full run, nor the somewhat unrealistic explosions of the catapulted fire missiles striking people, trees and the ground. Superb soundtrack...
Although bloody, it has nothing in comparison to The Messenger in that respect; TM is about the most violent and bloody film I've ever seen, bar none. But wars in those days were bloody by necessity because of the weapons used to accomplish the carnage that ensued (not that modern weapons make human conflict more civilized).
There can be no doubt that Ridley Scott's genius has managed to produce one of the best films to appear in the last ten years. However, because of the subject matter, it demands direct comparison to The Fall Of The Roman Empire (the historic plot line is similar, and the featured cast comprised of Christopher Plummer, Stephen Boyd, Alec Guinness, and Sophia Loren, remains unrivaled IMHO), one of the last great film epics of the 60s...
[This message has been edited by Frank J Manrique (edited 11-30-2000).]