Gladiator: Extended Edition Ridley Scott

"Are you not entertained?" Apparently not enough, according to the folks at Dreamworks. They've just added a third disc to the already generous Gladiator DVD release and wrapped it in a thick slipcase complete with a ten-page colour booklet. The good news: the extended edition doesn't duplicate many of the extras found on the two-DVD set. The bad news: see above. In other words, if you want every featurette, every audio commentary and every deleted scene related to Gladiator, you have to shell out for this new set and keep your old one. However, if you are content with your two-disc Gladiator, you don't need this new set. To jog your memory, Gladiator is the Oscar-winning mega-hit of 2000 where Russell Crowe plays Maximus, a beloved Roman general whom dying Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) names his heir. However, the emperor's evil son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) steals Maximus's crown, kills his family and condemns Maximus to the doomed life of a gladiator. Maximus stays alive purely to seek revenge from the man who betrayed him. This DVD set absorbs the outtakes found on the original DVD release and presents the film at a 172-minute cut. This version is no better than the original however, just longer. Fortunately, you can still play the original cut. A new commentary pairing Crowe with director Scott is anecdotal and light, and not as insightful as the original two-disc one with Scott, his cinematographer and editor. Disc two offers a massive 200-minute "making of" documentary, breaking down the filmmaking process into stages, including script development, costume, location filming and visual effects. The tone is typical EPK, but the "behind the scenes" footage is extensive, while interviews with the crew, director and stars are generous. Disc three is a grab bag of goodies, storyboards and trailers. Icing on the cake. However, those extras don't stand up to the featurettes of composer Hans Zimmer and the historical backgrounder on real gladiators found on the original. This extended edition will keep only hard-core fans entertained. (Dreamworks/Universal)