Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Eric Schweig, Jodhi May, Wes Studi, Steven Waddington
Written By: James Fenimore Cooper, Michael Mann, Christopher Crowe, Daniel Moore, John L. Balderston
Directed By: Michael Mann
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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Last of the Mohicans is one of my favorite movies of all-time. It’s a film I need to watch once a year. I own the DVD but was curious to see how the movie looked on Blu-Ray. I’m not really an expert on video transfers but this one seems like it could have been better. But I don’t think that should stop you from owning this on Blu-Ray.
The film takes place in 1757 during the French and Indian War and centers around an American named Hawkeye (Daniel-Day Lewis) who was raised by Mohican Indians. His Father Chingachgook (Russell Means), his brother Uncas (Eric Schweig) meet up with their colonist friends and discuss about joining the British army to fight against the French. Meanwhile, The British’s commander Munro’s daughters Cora (Madeleine Stowe) and Alice (Jodhi May) get word that their Father would like to see them. As they begin to travel with a Guide calledMagua (Wes Studi) and a few British troops led by their friend and major, Duncan Heyward (Steven Waddington), the group is ambushed. The ambush is actually led by Magua but Hawkeye, Chingachgook and Uncas save Major Heyward, Alice and Cora. They find out that their friends’ homestead was attacked with everyone killed, which leads them to believe it was a war party. The French begin their attack on Fort William Henry in Upstate New York and the British have no choice but to retreat. During all of that Hawkeye and Cora begin falling for each other but they still have to worry about that pesky battle that’s happening, as well as the treacherous Magua and the Hurons on their tail.
Last of the Mohicans is a sometimes overlooked movie because it’s stuck in the middle of Dances With Wolves and Braveheart. But it’s one of hell of a movie! Great acting from Daniel Day-Lewis, Russell Means, Wes Studi and Madeleine Stowe. The cinematography is outstanding, the score by Trevor Jones & Randy Edelman is one of my favorites of all-time, and the movie has an interesting storyline. The story, particularly the ending of the movie is different than the book (or so I read). From what I read, I think I prefer the way it ended in the movie. It’s a bit more dramatic and interesting, and at least somewhat uplifting in that not every single person dies in the story.
I liked how realistic/factual the movie was. I didn’t know that the Battle of Fort William Henry ended up the way it did. The way the characters looked, spoke, even down to the scalping seemed real to me. Another reason why I love this movie is that the battle & action scenes were downright bad-ass! Who would have thought a 50+ year old Russell Means could turn out to be so awesome and wield a gunstock warclub. That thing is so cool and deadly. I particularly love the scenes where Hawkeye and the others rescue Cora the first time and of course the famous end sequence. The ending is perhaps the most known scene in the movie. Sweeping score piece “Promentory” playing, beautiful mountains & scenery, and great fighting! What more can you ask for? Well people surviving for one but I didn’t write the story. It’s certainly heartbreaking what happens and romantic.
I don’t know what to think of the transfer for Blu-Ray. I thought the dark scenes where there was lots of shadows was hard to see. During the night scenes, it was tough to make out anybody at times. Not sure what to think about. The day scenes seems looked crisp though. I just wish with Blu-Ray that the black widescreen bars at the top would go away. The bonus features for the movie include commentary from Michael Mann, and an all new 42 minute documentary featuring new interviews with the cast & crew, and some old behind the scenes look at the shooting. It’s a great featurette and you learn a lot about what happened during shooting and how Daniel Day Lewis prepared for the role of Hawkeye. Fun fact, Captain Dale Dye who worked on Band of Brothers and every military movie imaginable also worked on this movie as well. The guy is everywhere! I highly recommend watching the featurette when you’re done with the movie.
The Blu-Ray for Last of the Mohicans is a toss up. It’s an excellent film but not sure what to think of the transfer just yet. I might have to see it again to really decide. My initial reaction is the dark scenes are TOO dark and it’s hard to make out certain things. But you be the judge and decide for yourself. Regardless of Blu-Ray or DVD, this movie is a classic in my mind and something that everyone should see!
All-New Director’s Definitive Cut Of The Film
Commentary By Michael Mann
All-New Making Of
Widescreen 2.40:1 Color
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1
English, Spanish, French
Bottom Line: One of my favorite films!
Running Time: 114 mins