Friday, 7 March 2014

"The Last Of The Mohicans" on BLU RAY - A Review Of The 2012 "Director's Definitive Cut" - Good Rather Than Great...

Here's a link to Amazon UK to get the right issue at the best price:

"...Deeply Stirring In My Blood..."

Based on James Fenimore Cooper’s novel about the British and French Colonial wars on the American Frontier in 1757 – Michael Mann’s "The Last Of The Mohicans" is a 5-star blast of a movie with fabulous chemistry between its lead actors Daniel Day-Lewis (Nathaniel Hawkeye) and Madeleine Stowe (Cora Munro – a general’s daughter). But no matter how much I love the 1992 movie or want it to be great on the new fangled format – I take exception to anyone suggesting that the "Director's Definitive Cut" on BLU RAY is 'stunning' to look at. That's just nonsense – it isn’t.

Unfortunately the whole film seems afflicted with a sort of out-of-focus blurriness and lack of definition that infects scene after scene. Sure it looks clean in the daylight sequences - especially when Hawkeye and the power mad Magua (a sensationally good Wes Studi) go at it with hatchets on the mountain ridge at the end. The scene where Magua seeks the approval of the tribe elder and Hawkeye tries to reason with him – is superb too - gorgeous clarity. But other outdoor sequences (running through foliage) are just plain ordinary looking. And again there's huge parts of “The Last Of The Mohicans” - especially the interminably long night sequence in the centre of the film when General Munro’s Fort is being bombarded by French guns - when blocking and grain fill every shot to a point where it looks like a bad Eighties video.

It’s defaulted to 2.4:1 aspect ratio (bars on the top and bottom)  – but if you stretch it to semi or even full screen aspect – immediately the picture quality degrades – and the haziness of the focus returns.

The "Director's Cut" runs about 5 minutes longer than the Theatrical Version - and other good news is that there’s all-new “Making Of” featurettes:

1. Act 1: Becoming Hawkeye
2. Act 2: A Love Story Between Hawkeye and Cora
3. Act 3: Bringing The Epic Story To Life
4. Commentary by Michael Mann

Subtitles include English, Brazilian Portuguese, Complex Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, Hungarian, Korean, Polish, Romanian, Thai and Turkish. This November 2012 BLU RAY reissue is also REGION FREE.

I hate to throw a damp squib on the log cabin fire – but I’ll now find this movie hard to watch ever again. It’s a bit like “American Graffiti” (see review) – another huge favourite of mine that’s been made worse somehow by BLU RAY rather than better.

No matter how much affection you have for this film – I’d suggest a rental before you buy…to actually see what you’re getting. Let your own eyes be the judge…

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