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Whatever may be extended about this extended edition I could not judge while wathcing it. In contrast to, say, the Lord of the Rings movies, there do not appear to be scenes without which the film would have been better. The DVD can afford to be longer, and so it is a longer version – not better, certainly not worse than the one that got the wide release on the screens.

Interesting to hear that Mr Crowe considers the story not yet finished in the audion commentary. That commentary is rather interesting, in its low-brow style. Scott and Crowe don’t try to get into the philosophy of things, but rather allow the film to revive memories from the shooting. Among the more interesting commentaries I have listened to. I will write a petition that the commentaries will be put on the DVD as an mp3 file in the future. I like the idea of just carrying them around, without having to bother about the video again and again.

On a general assessment, I found the film more entertaining than at first watching. The impression of rather lame scenes in the arena dissolved quickly, the action comes around as being pleasantly raw and untacky. The Maximus character is made to become a brute, a merciless machine on its way to the one goal it has. The side characters (including Joacquin Phoenix in the tradition of weak emperors) are also well-written and without too many distractions. The love interest is, of course, rather useless in terms of plot, but oh well, I am sure some bank surely asked for it, and she – whatever her name is – is being turned into a rather interesting plot aspect, in her semi-incestuous relationship to her brother, the emperor.

Look here for a suggestion on what the scenes are that have been added (some 17 minutes), and a comment (to which I tend to agree) to the end that the extended version is actually the more complete and sensible one:

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