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every dvd tries but not every dvd truly lives
Member Name: utero
Date: 27/05/01, updated on 27/05/01 (107 review reads)
Advantages: great film, solid sound mix, informative documentary
Disadvantages: only a few extras, no need for 2nd disc
I'm going to make a confession. Last night was actually the first time I had seen Braveheart. I've had it on dvd since it was released in the UK but because it's nearly three hours long I haven't had the time to really sit down and watch it.
I'm sure the majority of readers will be familiar with the story. Mel Gibson plays William Wallace, a scotsman whose wifeis murdered by English troops. In an act of crazed revenge he actually leads the scottish in a battle to win their freedom.
The true test of a movie is if ti can keep you watching for it's entirety without getting bored. Bravehart manages this by being sometimes amusing, sometimes touching but having a lot of spirit throughout. It also helps that it has some stunning cinematography and bloodthirsty battle scenes. This is an Oscar winning epic that deseves the plaudits and doesn't seem out to make a ton of moeny unlike some other big war epics on the horizon that I won't mention.
The UK dvd release is a 2 dvd set but you have to wonder why. It certainly doesn't have the bulk of extras that you'll find on sets like Seven and Gladiator. It seems more of a ploy to extract a little more cash out of the buyer.
The film is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen. The print is enhanced for widescreen TV's. In general the picture quailty is very good. There are only minor print marks throughout but this film is nearly 6 years old so it can be expected. The colurs are all very solid. They don't shine as the film is generally dark and muted in look anyway. One thing that does shine is the look of the film isn't comprimised with the scottish highlands looking grand.
A Dolby Digital 5.1 soundmix puts you into thcik of the battle. This isn't one of the best mixes I've heard, the rears only come alive when the battles truly kick in but there are subtle sounds of wind, rain etc throughout to create the atmosphere. It won't blow
you away but it achieves it's intended job. The one thing that does stand out heavy in the mix in James Horners score that dominates a lot of the front sound. At times I was swept away by the emotion it creates.
Now onto the extras and there isn't really a great deal for an Oscar winning film. The second dvd contains a 30 minute making of documentary. It features a lot of behind the scenes footage. At one stage Mel Gibson can be seen reading a book on how to make the perfect epic. It covers the casting, the story and the filming of the battle scenes well and is generally quite informative.
On the first dvd we get a theatrical trailer and Gibson also contributes an audio commentary. When Mel speaks it's quite informative but towards the end he runs out of things to say and there are a few long periods of silence. He doesn't even thank the listener for listening and leaves without saying a goodbye !
The film doesn't disappoint but although the extras aren't bad you can't help feeling that there is more they could have done with the release. Certainly it doesn't warrant a 2 dvd set when the amount of material could have easily been put onto one.