The Last of the Mohicans (Blu-ray)
I have to admit that after not seeing THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS for several years and sitting down to watch it, 18 years after it was released in theaters, I feel a little disillusioned by the film. The film is still a lot of fun, but when I first saw this in 1992, I remember being mesmerized by every second of the film and thinking it was incredible. I don’t know if it’s the fact there have been so many historical epics since then, or if the film just didn’t stand the test of time, but this film isn’t quite what it once was.
At times, I found myself rolling my eyes at some of the dialogue and checking my watch during the slower scenes. But before you know it, the incredible score from Randy Edelman and Trevor Jones would kick into high gear and I had goose bumps. And although the score has received numerous accolades over the years, it merits mentioning again because this is one of the greatest scores in the history of film, not only for how catchy it is, but for how well Michael Mann used it during the film. That, coupled with some stylish slow motion made for a few magnificent scenes.
And that’s really what THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS comes down to; a few incredible scenes. The battles and the famous “stay alive, I will find you” line spoken under the waterfall will still get the blood pumping and the heart racing. Michael Mann deserves a lot of credit for making the most out of his action and getting the audience captivated with our two leads, Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Cora (Madeleine Stowe). Their love, and quest to be together carries the film and makes up for a lack of character development and some off-putting dialogue. But no matter how hard you try to resist, you’ll be cheering for them to be together once the action gets going.
Their performances are top notch, especially from Stowe. Seeing her in her early 90’s heyday really makes me miss her as an actress. I’ve grown accustomed to overly dramatic turns from Day-Lewis, so revisiting one of his more action-y roles was almost odd. And I’m happy to say that in this “definitive director’s cut”, Mann decided to leave the “someday you and I are going to have a serious disagreement” one-liner from Day-Lewis. I’s a cheesy line, especially when spoken by such a talented actor as Day-Lewis.
Although I didn’t enjoy Mohicans as much as I did 18 years ago, the film is still a lot of fun. Instead of a sweeping, historical epic, I now look at it as a well-made action movie. The speed of the third act and the wonderful score make this film a must for any film library, but don’t be surprised if you don’t love it as much as you did the first time around.
Video: I have a few issues with this transfer, especially during the darker scenes illuminated by fire. I thought the red and orange were saturated at times, making for an awkward presentation. There were also some scenes that must have been skipped over during the transfer process. That said, it’s still the best Mohicans has ever looked.
Audio: No problems with the soundtrack.
Commentary with Michael Mann: Single participant commentaries are rough because you inevitably have a series of dry spells. Mann’s commentary is one of the more insightful commentaries out there as he goes into details on just about every aspect of the film. But he does have a few lulls that slow things down.
Making of The Last of the Mohicans (42:41): This is what I would call the “money” feature of the Blu-ray in that it’s a feature worth upgrading for. Previous DVD versions of Mohicans suffered from a lack of extras, but this featurette packs a lot of stuff into 45 minutes. We get new interviews with all of the major players and some detailed insight into the making of the film. It’s a very good featurette.