Gladiator (and Braveheart) launched Paramount’s Sapphire Series of Blu-rays, supposedly a higher caliber disc, and an easy way to appreciate some of their biggest catalog titles in hi-def. With Gladiator, that was not the case. The original Blu-ray utilized an outdated, grain-reduced, edge-enhancement riddled transfer, infamous for literally wiping arrows off the screen in the opening battle segment.
Now, 10 months after its release and completely out of the Blu (bad pun firmly intended), the studio is rectifying the situation with a new batch of discs. The story broke courtesy of DigitalBits. Paramount’s hilariously worded press release goes like this:
“We are implementing a limited exchange program. This program is only for those consumers that may have preferential issues with some of the technical DVNR (digital video noise reduction) and EE (edge enhancement) choices made in the original source transfer, and so would prefer to exchange it for one that addresses those preferences in a different manner.
While the version that we originally distributed was of the highest quality, some enthusiasts may prefer to view it without the Edge Enhancement and DVNR implemented as standard process in bringing the film to hi-def. This new master resolves those issues.”
The sad issue is that now the studios consider a disc with a proper master to be a bonus, and seem to think fixing these issues after the fact is acceptable. It is not. If you can’t do it right the first time, and you cannot understand the issues at hand, don’t bother releasing the film until you have a proper transfer in hand. Also, if applying EE and DVNR are standard practice, why would they be considered “issues” that can be resolved as the press release states?
That said, kudos to Paramount for fixing the wrong regardless, and hopefully this has taught the studio a lesson financially as to avoid messes like this in the future. Those wishing to exchange their DNR’ed Gladiator for the properly remastered version can do so by calling Paramount at 323-956-3010.