Starring Mel Gibson, Catherine McCormack, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen, Brendan Gleeson, Tommy Flanagan, David O’Hara
Written By: Randall Wallace
Directed By: Mel Gibson
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Braveheart is one of my favorite movies and it could easily be in the top 5 favorite movies of all time. Braveheart has everything you could ever ask for in a movie: excellent direction/writing/acting, graphic violence, a beautiful score, nudity, some funny lines, romance, and beheadings. There has been a Braveheart DVD out for a few years now, but that DVD was always lacking special features. With the Special Collector’s Edition, there’s more special features this time around plus a new digital transfer.
Braveheart was written by Randall Wallace, and he brought the story to Mel Gibson. Mel Gibson sat on it for a few years but then became passionate about the story and felt he could direct, star and produce the movie. The movie went on to win 5 Academy Awards and jump-started the epic drama genre again. Braveheart is about a Scottish hero and savage warrior, William Wallace. He fought for Scotland’s freedom and lead a revolution against the tyrannical English King, King Edward I (or Edward the Longshanks). William Wallace suffered earlier on in life with the death of his Father and Brother; so when things get even messier in Scotland, Wallace tries to stay in peace. Until one day when the English soldiers harm someone close & dear to him. After that, William Wallace goes on a rampage of revenge but also determination to make Scotland an independent & free country.
After all these years, I can still watch Braveheart over and over again. I literally need to watch the movie every 6 months. I watched the old DVD this summer and glad there is a new DVD version out now. It’s a better transfer and lots more special features than the last DVD. What’s to say about Braveheart that hasn’t already been said? It’s practically a masterpiece in my mind. Just everything down to the score to the costume design to the acting, this film just screams Oscar! It’s probably one of the few movies where men will admit they get teary eye in. I know I get weepy at the end. I think the score has something to do with it, but it’s something sad about a guy who’s trying to do all this good for his country, and the English deny him that. But Wallace’s beliefs and passion live on in others and they overcome English tyranny.
The story of Braveheart was made to be entertaining so it’s not historical accurate. But there’s a lot we don’t know about William Wallace since there wasn’t much documented back then. Randall Wallace wrote a story based on the feelings on what he thought William Wallace was like, and wanted to show the people a man who Scotland called a Hero. Even if the stuff isn’t entirely accurate, it’s still a great story regardless. Mel Gibson certainly helps build up the character to god-like stature. I just can’t see anyone else playing this role except Mel Gibson. Sure, his Scottish accent isn’t the greatest but who cares. The supporting cast is excellent as well, featuring mostly English and Scottish character & theater actors. The direction of Mel Gibson was unique & fresh at the time. It seemed like no one else had done what he did for the battles sequences, or at least did it that well. It took over 6 weeks to shoot the Battle of Stirling and I can see why. There were a ton of extras, all wielding swords and spears. That sequence seemed like it needed the right director to have patience to get everything just right. I think with the acting, editing, the beautiful cinematography, direction, costume design, writing and the film score just made this movie an excellent movie that everyone will enjoy when they reach that age to watch it.
Since this is a Special Collector’s Edition, there’s a whole disc of content. There’s audio commentary by Mel Gibson but I’m not sure if it’s the old commentary from the last DVD. I didn’t bother to check it out this time. “A Writer’s Journey” was a great featurette about Randall Wallace writing the screenplay for the movie. He didn’t know anything about William Wallace until he went on a trip to Scotland to learn about his ancestors. After that trip, he knew there was a story to be told. It’s interesting to see his take on things and how he presented the script to Mel Gibson. “Alba gu Brath! The Making of Braveheart” is a new Making Of featuring new and old interviews from Mel Gibson. I was glad that there was more behind the scenes footage to be shown since there was already a half hour making of on the last disc. You see a lot of that footage plus lots more in the editing room, and the scoring sessions with James Horner. I was happy to see Mel come back and talk about the film again. The last thing I check out on the DVD was the “Tales of William Wallace” and glad they finally included something about the man on this DVD. It’s intriguing to me to learn about the real stories about William Wallace, even though some of that stuff is still a bit sketchy. Rounding out the DVD extras is archive interviews, photo gallery and some trailers.
If you already own Braveheart, be sure to get this upgrade. It looks better than the last DVD and there’s more content. I wish this DVD was some sort of extended edition DVD but maybe that’s still in the works. I’m sure Mel Gibson has extra footage lying around he’d like to put back into the movie. Either way, this would make for a great holiday gift!
Commentary by Director Mel Gibson
A Writer’s Journey
Alba gu Brath! The Making of Braveheart
Tales of William Wallace
Archival Interviews with the Cast of Braveheart
2 Original Theatrical Trailers
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
SPANISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)
English, Spanish, French
Favorite Scenes: Revenge for Murron, introduction to Stephen, Battle of Stirling, Battle of Falkirk
Running Time: 177 minutes