BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Last of the Mohicans
Director's Definitive Cut hits home video in hi-def...
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One of my favorite films of all time, Michael Mann's The Last of the Mohicans is truly an impressive film with the sort of dynamic acting, awe-inspiring visuals, exciting story, and majestic score that makes writers like me appreciate writing reviews.
Now, thanks to 20th Century Fox, fans of the 1992 original can pick up the “Director’s Definitive Cut” of The Last of the Mohicans on blu-ray hi-def now. While I'm not too sure what has changed (if anything) from the previously released DVD "extended edition, I do know this version is a feast for the eyes and ears and truly a treat to experience.
The story of Hawkeye (played perfectly by Daniel Day-Lewis) is nothing short of stellar. For those who haven’t read the book or seen the film, the story follows three Native American trappers, including the white Hawkeye (adapted son of Chingachgook and brother to Uncas) as they struggle to find their place and survive during the French and Indian War. Tasked by a British Colonel with protecting his daughters, the three traders must fight to protect the Munro sisters from Magua, a vengeful Huron warrior, and his war party.
The tale, based on James Fenimore Cooper’s 1826 novel of the same name, dynamically comes to life on screen thanks to brilliant directing by Michael Mann as well as superb acting by the entire cast. Day-Lewis doesn’t do bad movies and this work is a testament to how amazing an actor he is; however, he’s not the only one who shines here. Both Russell Means and Eric Schweig portray Hawkeye’s adopted father and brother (respectively) perfectly as well. Stoic, but always ready for confrontation, each shines as Chingachgook and Uncas. Likewise, Madeleine Stowe as Cora Munro, the oldest of Colonel Munro’s daughters, is both beautiful, realistic, and captivating. Best of all, Wes Studi’s portrayal of Magua is sheer genius. Pent-up hate and chambered aggression rage through his portrayal of the Huron warrior who lost everything because of the Brits.
This blu-ray captures the previously mentioned majestic visuals perfectly as well. Thanks to a solid video transfer, the film now in 1080p in the original 2.40:1 widescreen aspect brings to life the eastern frontier during the Seven Year War. All the while, a DTS-HD Master Audio track lays down impressive sound, making each and every piece – be it twigs breaking or cannons roaring – come to life.
While seemingly somewhat weak on special features, the blu-ray does include two well worth mentioning. The already mentioned “all-new director’s definitive cut” (though specifically what has changed I’m still trying to figure out) isn’t one of them. However, the disc does feature an insightful audio commentary with director Mann, who gives listeners information on the story, the history behind the story, the film production, design, and creation of the film. Best of all, a new three-part, 40+ minutes “Making of” featurettes is included which gives fans brand new on-set filming as well as new interviews with cast and crew regarding the film. Mann especially gives updated info on everything from his first wanting to make the film to casting the actors, the shooting locations and more. Likewise, interesting information about Day-Lewis’ training to be Hawkeye is very impressive to watch. Overall, while maybe not nearly as impressive as other epic films, it’s pretty darn good for a movie nearly 20 years old.
While The Last of the Mohicans might not carry the same weight it did 18 years ago, it’s still one of my favorite films and well worth owning in hi-def. With beautiful visuals, impressive audio, stunning locations, an epic story, and a cast that’s perfect in each and every role…what’s not to love?
The Last of the Mohicans is available on blu-ray hi-def today wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley
"Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"
Jess C. Horsley