Last of the Mohicans, The (Blu-ray) (1992)
Audio Commentary-Director Michael Mann
|Year Of Production||1992|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Michael Mann|
Warner Home Video
Daniel Day Lewis
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
†††† In 1757, during the wars between the English and French fought around the Hudson Valley in North America, colonial frontiersman Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his adopted father Chingachgook (Russell Means) and brother Uncas (Eric Schweig) save Cora and Alice Munro (Madeleine Stowe, Jodhi May) and Major Duncan Heyward (Steven Waddington) from an Indian ambush led by the Huron Magua (Wes Studi). Cora and Alice are the daughters of Colonel Edmund Munro (Maurice Roeves) and the English are led by their rescuers through the wilderness to their father at Fort William Henry. However their safety is illusionary as the fort is being attacked by the French led by General Montcalm and his Huron allies. Hawkeye and Cora have the time to fall in love, but when the fort surrenders the defenders are massacred by the Huron and Cora and Alice are captured by Magua and taken north. Hawkeye, Chingachgook and Uncas embark upon a race against time to save their lives.
†††† Director Michael Mann had made a few features including Manhunter (1986) before coming to notice with The Last of the Mohicans in 1992. It is a sumptuous looking film, with beautiful photography by cinematographer Dante Spinotti including the mountains, forests and lakes of North America as well as exquisite use of the widescreen frame for such images as the bridge (8:44) or the attack upon Fort William Henry. The action is well staged, including the attack upon the fort and the Indian massacre is energetic and brutal, with the use of edged weapons prominent. All the leads are very good, especially Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means and Wes Studi, but all roles are well performed and visually the pairing of Day-Lewis and Stowe looks beautiful on screen.
†††† The other undoubted highlight of the film is the musical score by Randy Edelman and Trevor Jones that is rousing and Celtic in feel and which perfectly supports the visuals. The climax of the film is around ten minutes of score and visuals without dialogue, all in all a magnificent and moving piece of pure filmmaking by all concerned although this is not the only occasion of music and visuals alone; the courtship of Hawkeye and Cora in the besieged fort is another visual, dialogue free, treat.
†††† The Last of the Mohicans is epic in scope, but at less than two hours (even in this longer cut) it never feels bloated and moves along rapidly towards the climax. At heart the film is a love story and a paean to the American frontier; a magnificent film, beautifully shot, beautifully scored and acted, with rousing set piece action scenes and a poignant conclusion.
†††† This Blu-ray release of The Last of the Mohicans runs 114:32 and is labelled as the Directorís Definitive Cut. This is the third time this film has been recut; for a listing of the changes see this link here.
†††† The Last of the Mohicans is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, close to the 2.35:1 original ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.
†††† Cinematographer Dante Spinotti makes full use of the widescreen frame to deliver beautiful images of the mountains, forests and lakes of North America. Colours are deep and lush, from the greens of the forest to the vibrant red coats of the English soldiers. Generally detail is crisp, especially in close-ups, although there is some softness in some wide shots. Blacks are excellent and shadow detail very good, shown to good effect during the wide shots of the fort under attack at night, with the white smoke and red and yellow of the explosions finely detailed. Skin tones are natural, brightness and contract consistent.
†††† There is some ghosting with fast movement against the mottled forest background, which is not unexpected. Light film grain was evident, as was some noise reduction in very dark scenes but otherwise artefacts and marks are absent.
†††† There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired, and a range of European and Asian languages. There are also burnt in orange subtitles for the French and Native American dialogue in the film.
†††† This 20 year old print in HD probably looks as good as it ever has.
†††† The feature audio is English DTS-MA HD 5.1, and there is an audio commentary track using Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kbps.
†††† Dialogue is clean throughout and easy to hear and understand. For much of the film the surrounds are used subtly for music, forest sounds and weather and water effects, but they explode into life during the action sequences with gunfire, shouts and the thud of hand to hand fighting. There are also panning effects as bullets fly by. During the cannonading of the fort the firing and resultant explosions have a pleasing resonance, the sub-woofer adding a deep bass. The subwoofer also supports the music, some weather effects such as thunder and the rumble of the waterfall.
†††† The original score by Randy Edelman and Trevor Jones is Celtic in feel and there is also a song by Clannad in the soundtrack. This is a fabulous score that is in turns epic, rousing or sad, and it is impossible to imagine the film without it.
†††† Lip synchronisation was fine.
†††† The audio track was excellent.
|Surround Channel Use|
†††† Director Michael Mann provides a fairly dry and cerebral commentary. There is not a lot of technical information, or much about the production itself except for a bit on sets and locations. Instead he discussed plot points, intentions and a lot of historical background about the wars, tactics and the cultures of the Native American tribes involved on both sides. If this is of interest, the commentary is well worth while.
†††† A three part featurette made in 2010 includes film and behind the scenes footage, including cast training, plus interviews principally with director Michael Mann and cast members Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe although others interviewed include historian and Onandaga faithkeeper Oren Lyon, casting director Bonny Timmermann, technical advisors Col. David Webster and Capt. Dale Dye, SPFX coordinator Tommy Fisher, production designer Wolf Kroeger, cinematographer Dante Spinotti, composer Trevor Jones and cast Maurice Roeves and Wes Studi. This is reasonably interesting and topics include the source novel, building the sets, the look of the film and the music and it gives some insight into Mannís working methods. The three sections are:
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
††††The US Region A Blu-ray of The Last of the Mohicans has exactly the same audio specifications, but includes as extras a teaser trailer and theatrical trailer in addition to the commentary and behind the scenes. The UK region free release seems the same as ours. I guess that the additional trailers would give the nod to the US release, although I doubt whether that is enough difference to warrant importing.
†††† At heart a love story, Michael Mannís The Last of the Mohicans has a great cast including Daniel Day-Lewis and is beautifully shot and beautifully scored, with rousing set piece action scenes and a poignant conclusion. It looks and sounds great on Blu-ray, the extras are worthwhile.
†††† The Last of the Mohicans has been released on DVD in Region 4 and you can read the review of that DVD on this site here. The Blu-ray has superior video and the audio, especially the tremendous score, benefits from the lossless DTS-HD MA audio track. The Blu-ray misses out on the isolated music score that was on the DVD, which was indeed wonderful, and the trailer but in compensation the Blu-ray includes an audio commentary by Michael Mann and over 40 minutes of behind the scenes features. If you are a fan of The Last of the Mohicans this is one case where I would definitely recommend an upgrade.
†††† Note: I did find The Last of the Mohicans Blu-ray a bit hard to track down, but it is available from JB Hi-fi at least.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|