Patriot, The: Extended Edition (Blu-ray) (2000)
Featurette-The Art Of War
Theatrical Trailer-Legends of the Fall
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Roland Emmerich|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Jay Arlen Jones
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Linear PCM 48/24 5.1 (4608Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Patriot was one of my all-time favourite home-theatre gems on DVD. I owned every version of The Patriot on DVD released in R1 and R4, including the R4 Superbit, which was as good as DVD got. When the film was finally released on Blu-ray in 2007, it was released solely as an Extended Edition, with about ten minutes of footage added back to the theatrical version. This Blu-ray is now the ultimate way to enjoy this film at home, a film that was to introduce a young Heath Ledger to a global audience.
When I first saw The Patriot theatrically, I was a little disappointed. Indeed, at the time I described it to a friend as being a poor remake of Braveheart. When the R1 DVD was to be released, I pre-ordered it not for the movie, but as it was to be the first R1 DVD to be released with the new Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE), a digital enhancement added mainly to Columbia Tri-Star (Sony) DVDs to prevent them from being played in multi-zone DVD players. But, once the DVD arrived, and I had happily played it on my multi-zone DVD player, something strange happened: Every time I watched it, I grew to like the movie more. Indeed, I have had the same experience with almost all of director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin's movies, such as Independence Day and Godzilla. I initially shuffled out of the movie theatre thinking "that was cr*p", but within a year or so, they become treasured, home-theatre gems. Great movies for a rainy Sunday afternoon, or a night at home on the couch.
The plot of the movie calls upon that old plot standby: Father seeks revenge for killed loved ones. This plot gets trotted out quite a bit, and not just in Death Wish revenge-style movies - for example, consider the plot of Gladiator. However, I note that Mel Gibson seems to find himself in these roles often. If you look over Mel's filmography, you will find that in many of his best known films he is a father/husband seeking revenge for the death of a loved one, such as in Mad Max, Braveheart and Hamlet. In Lethal Weapon they seem to have forgotten this plot cliché, so it was written into the script for Lethal Weapon 2, (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) to allow Mel to kill the man who murdered his wife.
In The Patriot, Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) is a former soldier, and farmer, who desperately tries to avoid having his family involved in the American War of Independence. However, as war envelops the country, Benjamin's family is dragged into the conflict when his son, Gabriel (Heath Ledger), enlists as a soldier to fight against the British. Benjamin initially suppresses his patriotic ideals as he struggles to hold his family together with the help of his sister-in-law, Charlotte (Joely Richardson). Soon war will visit on Benjamin's home, and the consequences for all will be bloody.
I find the history of this war a fascinating one, not least because this was the first major World conflict of this scale fought over a political idea -- elected politicians seeking freedom from foreign oppression. The war was not essentially about borders, or taxation, but political self-determination. The success of the colonials helped usher in the Age of Revolution, and the Western World was forever changed. One must also consider the consequences for Australia. When convicts could no longer be sent to the US after the mid-1780s, a new colony had to be found. While there are some historical inaccuracies within the movie, as is to be expected, overall, the presentation of the conflict is fairly well done. Surprisingly, for an American film, it does acknowledge the important contribution another nation made to their independence -- the French. I have noticed that many American WW2 movies, for example, don't even acknowledge any of the other allied powers that also fought against Germany and Japan. The thorny issue of slavery is also not overlooked -- the hypocrisy of a slave-owning nation fighting for freedom. But many have reasonably criticised the film over recent years for largely ignoring this issue.
The movie features magnificent production values. The film was shot on location in South Carolina, and Caleb Deschanel's Oscar-nominated cinematography is truly marvellous. Also of note is John Williams' Oscar-nominated score, as well as all the costumes, acting, stunts and visual/sound effects.
The Patriot is presented with a high definition transfer, having been authored in 1920 x 1080p. The film has been encoded using AVC MPEG-4 compression, and is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1, in a native 16x9 frame. This is the film's original theatrical ratio.
The sharpness of the image is excellent throughout, for example consider the detailed crowd scene at 13:22, or the depth of foliage in the forest at 41:36. The black level is very good, with deep and true blacks, and the shadow detail is excellent.
Complementing the gorgeous cinematography is the well saturated colours and accurate skin tones. The use of light in the movie is brilliant, and a number of scenes are purposely shot at dawn or dusk.
While some of the film stock appears a little grainy at times, there are no problems with MPEG artefacts. There are no Film-To-Video Artefacts such as aliasing. As with the DVD, some tiny film artefacts such as small black or white marks do appear at times, but overall, this is an excellent transfer of a pristine print.
26 subtitle streams are present, and the English subtitles are mostly accurate to the spoken word.
This is a BD-50 (50 GB) Blu-ray disc, with the the feature divided into 16 chapters.
Presented theatrically with a choice of dts, SDDS, and Dolby Digital Surround audio, this Blu-ray offer two English audio choices for the feature: The first is uncompressed Linear PCM 5.1, which is encoded at 4.6 Mbps in 48 KHz, 24-bit audio. The second audio option is Dolby Digital 5.1. Both surround audio options are magnificent in both their clarity and range, but I particularly enjoyed the Linear PCM audio, which sounded fuller and deeper. There are also French, Polish, and Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 options.
As mentioned above, the BD's Linear Pulse Code Modulation (Linear PCM) audio is encoded at 4.6 Mbps. Linear PCM is not necessarily lossless, but the higher the sampling-rate and the bit-depth, the closer the LPCM audio is to the original recording. Although LPCM is supported by the DVD standard, it is very rarely used because it requires such a high bit rate, which takes up valuable disc space. But with dual-layer BD's enjoying 50 GB of disc space, movies on BD can take advantage of uncompressed PCM as an audio option.
Although there are some obvious moments of ADR, the dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent.
The stirring and haunting musical score is credited to the great John Williams, who has again turned out another movie masterpiece, which was also Oscar-nominated. This stirring music was also chosen for President Barack Obama's inauguration.
The film has a wonderful sound design and the surround presence and activity is extremely aggressive and immersive. The rear speakers are used throughout to help carry the score and to provide surround effects. There are also some great moments of audio panning between the rears, to create directional effects.
The subwoofer is also utilized very effectively to support both the score and the effects, for example, during the ship explosion at 82:51.
|Surround Channel Use|
The extras are very limited, and only include a couple of extras lifted from the original DVD release.
As with other BDs, the menu can be accessed while the film is playing.
Theatrical Tariler (2:18)
Legends of the Fall
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This Blu-ray is zoned for all regions.
The Patriot remains an enjoyable popcorn-epic, and now this Blu-ray is the best way to enjoy this film at home. The additional ten minutes does not have a significant impact on the story, but it does help to flesh some of the characters out a little more, and also gives some of the more epic or melodramatic scenes a little more breathing space.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is also excellent.
The extras are very limited.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3 (HDMI 1.3) with Upscaling, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic High Definition 50' Plasma (127 cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Samsung Pure Digital 6.1 AV Receiver (HDMI 1.3)|