Synopsis: Set in Roman times, the story of a once-powerful general forced to become a common gladiator. The emperor's son is enraged when he is passed over as heir in favour of his father's favorite general. He kills his father and arranges the murder of the general's family, and the general is sold into slavery to be trained as a gladiator - but his subsequent popularity in the arena threatens the throne.
Synopsis: William Wallace is the medieval Scottish patriot who is spurred into revolt against the English when the love of his life is slaughtered. Leading his army into battles that become a war, his advance into England threatens King Edward I's throne before he is captured and executed, but not before becoming a symbol for a free Scotland.
Main Features: *Note: each film is on a separate discs in one 4K Blu-ray case*
I am just going to get it out here: I don't get the fascination with "Gladiator." Yes, I am a red-blooded male who doesn't get a blood-and-guts BC epic. In 4K, my reception has certainly changed a bit. The picture is dynamic and looks stunning in the UHD format. The context of execution and direction still remains a mystery to its reverence of quality. Director Ridley Scott did helm a complex production. The story and characters are not something that reverberate with me. Russell Crowe is good, but his best performance? Absolutely not. "A Beautiful Mind" was more nuanced, but "LA Confidential" is his quintessential acting accomplishment. If you're a fan of it, "Gladiator" is a must-have. I will actually recommend for the picture quality alone.
"Braveheart," on the other hand, is something that has remained a constant ever since I first saw it in a history class. Like "Gladiator," "Braveheart" is luminous in picture and sound quality. And the story remains eloquent and affecting. Mel Gibson, for all of his trials, tribulations, and faults of character, is an amazing filmmaker and presence of an actor.
Bonus Features: The dual disc set provided by Paramount does contain as many special features as the 4K releases of each individual film. In fact, they are fairly sparse. "Gladiator" has the most, with a pair of commentaries--one with Scott and other crew on the theatrical cut, and another with Crowe on the extended cut. The Extended Cut also features an intro with Scott. "Braveheart" has one extra only, which is a Gibson commentary. The exclusive steelbooks released at the same time as this dual set contains more, but were unavailable for review for the Snitch.
Final Call: While "Gladiator" may not thrill me but "Braveheart" does, both storm the 4K format as brilliant and exquisite additions to the UHD catalog.
Grades: Gladiator B-, Braveheart A-