Maximus (an alternate cut of Gladiator)

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Brief Synopsis:
This edit gives the viewer the chance to experience and interpret the story as it unfolds rather than constantly being told what is happening and how to feel about it. Commodus’ actions alone are what shows us his depravity, and he actually acts upon his lust for his sister. Lucilla (the sister) is also depicted as a much stronger woman.
The film, Gladiator manages to have some powerful, dramatic moments despite its flaws. Director Ridley Scott struggled as usual with style over substance and self importance over entertainment value. Am I not entertained? Yes (I am). But not consistently enough.
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Cuts and Additions:
Major changes:

1. Drastically reduces expository and on-the-nose dialogue throughout.
2. Drastically reduces preemptive setups like telling us early on that Marcus is sick or Maximus could get political with an army behind him.
3. Some deleted scenes have improved foley.
4. Commodus isn’t immediately and overtly set up as such a scheming villain. We cut away before we see him murder his father. So we are not sure, initially, whether or not the Emperor’s death was by natural causes. It seems possible Maximus could be overreacting to Marcus’ death.
5. The creepy scene where Commodus puts his fingers in his sister’s mouth is moved earlier. She doesn’t get up from the bed either and leave—strongly implying she is already being (or about to be) raped her brother. The scene establishes a clear motivation for Lucilla’s desperate first visit to an enslaved Maximus.
6. Lucilla’s visit to Maximus for help is moved slightly later. Her “living in a prison of fear” line is now supported and believable based on story changes and the new scene structure. Neither she nor Maximus overtly say (in this scene) that Commodus should be killed.
7. Shortly after speaking with Maximus, Lucilla has a secret meeting with the two senators where she says Commodus must die. She’s now depicted as a dominant force in charge, moving the chess pieces herself despite Maximus’ reluctance, a much needed improvement to her character. In this edit she earns making her powerful speech at the end after Maximus’ final battle.
8. When Commodus broods and strikes the bust of his father with a sword, we then flashback to a reveal of the murder by smothering. Trims out him wanting to punch the statue. After the flashback we return to Commodus embracing the bust.
9. Commodus’ more immature facial antics during the games are removed.
10. New musical score when the plan for Maximus to escape fails (Pretorian attack montage). The original score was trying too hard to make the sequence into grandiose, epic action. It didn’t suit the footage and made the already weird-ish montage feel disjointed.

Deleted/Extended scenes:

1. Maximus visits the injured after battle. Kept this scene but shortened it for more momentum/action — and added in flies buzzing and more anguished moans, etc.
2. Maximus prays to ancestors. Kept first part of the scene (his prayer) but removed the flashback to his wife’s face and him making out with his little figurines.
3. Slaves discuss what it takes to be freed as Maximus razors off his military tatoo. Kept the part where the Scribe slave is told he will scream in seven languages (great line) but removed the ridiculous expository monologue about being freed after killing enough opponents.
4. Proximo considers betting against Maximus. Kept the scene for some much needed levity but trimmed a little expository dialogue, and Proximo does not have a delayed reaction.
5. Proximo tells Maximus he must be a hero/entertainer (not a butcher). Kept full scene.
6. Proximo beats a dead horse as Maximus heads to fight exclaiming, “So entertain!” This 2 second addition removed.
7. Lucilla has a secret meeting with a few Senators about Commodus selling off the grain reserves. Made a much shorter version of the scene with Lucilla acting more confident. This scene as originally shoved into the extended edition was mostly redundant (a lesser practice version of her heated first encounter with an enslaved Maximus), but I recut both scenes, so the meeting with Senators becomes useful for both story progression and character development.
8. Commodus broods and hits a sculpted bust of his father with a sword. Kept most of the scene mainly as the perfect opportunity to flashback to a reveal that he murdered his father.
9. Commodus has Quintus execute two solders. Kept the scene with some very slight adjustments. Develops the characters of Quintus and Commodus.
10. Commodus is suspicious because the Senate didn’t react to him selling off grain reserves. Removed this extra footage as it’s not particularly vital or interesting. Used the theatrical version of this scene with its pacing and different (better) camera angles.
11. Proximo, lounging near the Foot of the Colossus, realizes the Emperor’s spies are watching. Kept the scene. If nothing else, it helps us ease into the next scene better.
12. Lucilla walks into the palace and then notices Senator Falco laughing and scheming. Kept the scene but trimmed out Falco so we’re not told by overt camera zooming this is an “important” revelatory scene. It’s really not. Left much of the sequence intact because it makes her visit to Commodus flow so much better.
13. Commodus’ soldiers set people on fire when they arrive at Proximo’s compound. Kept the scene.
14. Quintus has a last minute conversation with a chained up Maximus. Kept it all. Great scene.

Full change list
(D) = change to a deleted/extended scene:

1. Updates opening title to “Maximus.”
2. Cuts most of the expository conversation between Commodus and Lucilla in the carriage.
3. No grandiose slo-mo of Commodus exiting the carriage.
4. (D) Maximus pauses less while walking among the wounded. Tightens footage of the makeshift hospital. Adds SFX for added polish.
5. Cuts a Senator’s remark to Maximus about his power.
6. Commodus doesn’t tell Maximus that Lucilla came with him and he doesn’t call him “the great man.”
7. Trims Marcus’ dialogue to Maximus so he doesn’t paint Commodus as immoral and unfit to rule.
8. Lucilla doesn’t tell Maximus, “My father favors you now.”
9. (D) As Maximus prays, cuts the flashback to his family.
10. Trims Marcus reaching out for a hug.
11. Cuts just before Commodus’ hug turns into deadly smothering. This is used later for a flashback reveal.
12. When Commodus offers his hand to Maximus, removes “I’ll only ask once.”
13. Lucilla doesn’t slap Commodus after Maximus leaves.
14. Maximus doesn’t explain what frost does, “Sometimes it makes the blade stick.”
15. Juba doesn’t tell Maximus, “don’t die” and then give expository about slaves and lions.
16. (D) Cuts Hagen’s stageplay monologue about killing opponents in order to be set free.
17. (D) Cuts Proximo’s line after talking about betting against his own man, “That’s not ethical.”
18. Improves VFX of first Rome establishing shot descending through clouds, with new atmospheric and lighting VFX.
19. Improves VFX of Commodus arriving in Rome by cropping out the twirly CG ribbons in the foreground that looked completely fake.
20. Color grades the live action falling rose petals to better match the color of the VFX ones.
21. No silly cross dissolve montage of people in the crowd as Commodus arrives by chariot.
22. In the welcoming party, cuts a Senator’s expository comments to another Senator and to Lucilla’s son, Lucius.
23. More realism with new atmospheric VFX of the chariot race arial city establishing shot.
24. Trims a Senator’s extended expository about the mob loving Commodus for bringing them death.
25. (D) Removes Proximo’s brief but continued request for Maximus to be entertaining.
26. Cuts Proximo saying win the crowd, win your freedom.
27. Trims Proximo’s expository after he says they are going on bloody adventures to Rome.
28. When Maximus and the slaves first see the Colloseum, changes the establishing shot to a more realistic one that originally came later.
29. Trims scene when Commodus first asks Lucilla to stay with him so she doesn’t say no.
30. Commodus doesn’t make weird noises and stick out his tongue during the chariot battle.
31. (D) When Commodus strikes the statue of his father, adds flashback to the murder. Trims out Commodus poised to punch the statue. Adds new musical score, foley.
32. Scene of slaves playing games and eating moved.
33. Visually trims some of Juba’s expository about Maximus having a great name— to make it more subtle.
34. (D) Moves scene of Commodus having the two prisoners executed. Removes shots of Lucilla which tried to make it look like she was watching from a great distance.
35. (D) Moves the scene of Lucilla walking into the palace to visit Commodus. Removes Senator Falco at a table laughing.
36. Lucilla does not answer Commodus’ question about a dream.
37. Moves the scene of Lucilla in bed with Commodus. She does not get up to leave. Adds in dialogue of Commodus telling her to kiss him.
38. Moves scene of Lucilla visiting an enslaved Maximus to just after it becomes clear Commodus is raping her.
39. Cuts Lucilla’s unnatural expository about rich matrons paying for sex. Trims some other dialogue in this scene.
40. (D) Trims dialogue of Lucilla’s secret meeting with the Senators for less expository and to make her be the one in control of things.
41. (D) Reverts “Sea Snake” scene with Commodus and Falco back to the theatrical version. Also trims Commodus’ last dialogue in the scene to just, “We will lie still.”
42. (D) Adds new SFX when Pretorian’s set fire to Proximo’s servants. They scream and can still be heard from inside Proximo’s bedroom.
43. Changes musical score for the Pretorian attack on Proximo’s compound. It’s a remix of Voluspa by Nytt Land. Extensive re-foley and new SFX.
44. When Commodus talks to a chained up Maximus, removes dialogue about “how the story ends.”
45. Juba does not say, “Now we are free.”
46. During end credits, switches to a non-vocal version of the song, “Now We Are Free” so it doesn’t start to sound like the Lion King.
47. Changes last music of the end credits from boring, random score to a remix of the song, Tyr by Wardruna.

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(Updated: December 10, 2022)
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I haven't seen the original version for a while so this was a great rewatch!
And I really enjoyed all small changes Krausfadr has made to this epic modern classic.
I find this edit a more interesting watch and these small tweaks makes all characters stronger.

The only thing I would have done different is the Marcus death scene.
I would have cut that scene even shorter and let the music fade into the waking up of Maximus without the statue shot and the small music change.
The scene works as it is but this was the only scene that I felt was edited and I think it could be done different.

But as a whole this edit is a great way to watch Gladiator!

"We who are about to die salut you!"

Great work Krausfadr!
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