The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
Isolated Musical Score
|Year Of Production||1992|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (53:45)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Michael Mann|
Warner Home Video
Daniel Day Lewis
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
|Smoking||Yes, but pipes not cigarettes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Last of the Mohicans offers the perfect blend of adventure, action, romance and drama.
Based on the 1826 novel of the same name by James Fenimore Cooper, this movie is a sweeping historical drama set during the eighteenth century French and Indian War. Two themes permeate Cooper's frontier adventures: his love of nature, and his respect for the North American indigenous people. The movie stays true to these ideals through its use of cinematography, characterisation, and plot.
The story is one of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events. Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis), a white orphan, has been raised by Mohicans. Together with his Mohican father and brother, he makes a living as a fur trapper on the frontier. He and his family try to avoid becoming involved in the war that is engulfing them, but after rescuing a British Colonel's daughter (Madeleine Stowe), her sister, and a British officer from a Huron war party, they are left with little choice.
What follows is an absorbing adventure/romance movie, which like Cooper's novels, is characterised by thrilling Indian attacks, well developed adventurous characters, the beautiful wilderness of the North American continent, and an insight into Native American culture and eighteenth century Frontier life.
This movie is a visual treat. As a director, Michael Mann, like Ridley and Tony Scott, tends to inject a lot of 'atmosphere' into his films, such as fog, mist, steam, flames, smoke and flags flapping in the breeze. He also enjoys contrasting bright and dark scenes, for example also consider his other movies Heat and Manhunter. The cinematography by Dante Spinotti is nothing short of sumptuous. Spinotti is a master of capturing the North American wilderness, and more of his brilliant work can be seen in the movie Nell. This film demands an excellent transfer and this DVD almost delivers.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer is generally quite sharp in the foreground, but tends to be soft and blurry in the background. Examples of this can be seen at 27:27 and 61:52. The transfer is also rather grainy throughout, for example at 16:33 and 19:56. Many of the scenes are intentionally dark, and the black level and shadow detail are very good. There is some low level noise present, for example at 30:43.
The transfer exhibits a rich palette of natural colours and realistic skin tones.
Two mildly annoying moments occur when what looks like stock footage of a waterfall is very amateurishly cut into the film at 76:15, and when drops of water are on the camera lens at 75:50.
There were no MPEG artefacts or aliasing to speak of, but there was what appeared to be slight telecine wobble spread throughout the movie. Apart from the image moving slightly side to side, it also manages to move slightly up and down on occasion. Examples of this occur at 0:17 and 11:50.
The transfer is also lightly peppered with film artefacts throughout, for example at 60:56 and 73:29. These are thankfully very small and are not disruptive at all.
All the subtitles promised on the packaging are present, and the English subtitles are very accurate.
This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed between Chapters 16 and 17, at 53:45. It is very smooth and as it is between scenes, it is not disruptive.
Originally released in Dolby Stereo Surround, with 6-track sound for the 70mm version, this movie won Best Sound at the Academy Awards in its year.
There are three Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks on this DVD: English, Italian and Music Only.
The dialogue quality was variable, but it remained clear most of the time, especially when the British officers were speaking. As an aside, I deplore movies where the characters use stupid accents (usually French, German or Russian), and I loved the fact that this movie often has the French and Native Americans speaking naturally in their own language (with English subtitles).
There were no problems with audio sync.
The musical score is credited to Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman, and it is encompassing, cleverly blending Irish folk music with a lush sweeping score befitting a historical epic.
The surround sound mix is quite front-heavy, but the rear speakers are used effectively to help carry the score and provide ambience. This maintains a nice soundfield while keeping the viewer firmly focussed on the screen. There are not a great deal of rear directional effects, but the rears do add nicely to the cacophony of the battle scenes, for example at 33:44 and 69:30.
The subwoofer gets a real work-out during this movie, not only during the battle scenes, but it is also utilised very effectively to support the score, for example at 30:33, and other sound effects such as a waterfall at 77:35.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are very few extras, but it must be noted that one very, very enjoyable aspect of this DVD is that there is NO Dolby Digital trailer, and none of those overly long and boring copyright warnings (these only appear after the movie's end credits).
A very simple menu, 16x9 enhanced. It is not animated, but the menu's design is perfectly in keeping with the movie. If you do not select an option, then after about two minutes the movie will automatically begin to play.
This brilliantly captures the excitement and romance of the movie. This one minute and fifty three second trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 Enhanced, with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded audio.
Music Only Sound Track
As the title suggests, this Dolby Digital 5.1 sound track option allows you to enjoy the movie with only Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman's score to accompany the visuals.
In November 1999 this movie was released in Region 1 as an "Expanded Director's Edition" with a non-16x9 enhanced transfer and four extra minutes of footage (which according to some reviews were clumsily edited back into the movie). In December 2000 this was replaced with a new DVD boasting a 16x9 enhanced transfer and the addition of DTS sound. Both versions are without extras.
In Region 4 we appear to have been given the original theatrical version.
The Region 4 DVD misses out on:
The Region 1 DVD misses out on:
Based on the information that I have been able to read about the Region 1 DVD, the four extra minutes of footage add very little to the movie, other than four extra minutes. It seems that a number of scenes have been slightly extended, and a few extra snippets have been returned to the movie. The Region 1 disc also reportedly suffers from the same transfer problems as our version. For audiophiles, the DTS option is worth considering, but most Region 1 reviews claim very little difference between the Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS tracks. Thus, I would favour the local release for its affordability, and most importantly, its superior PAL image.
While The Last of the Mohicans is almost ten years old, I did expect a video transfer of better quality. After all, this movie is a big-budget, commercial and critical success, and it is only a few months older than Jurassic Park. Where have they been storing the film canisters? Michael Mann's garage perhaps? That said, the flaws in the video transfer are not disruptive, and certainly did not affect my enjoyment of this DVD. This is a thoroughly absorbing epic movie with something to offer everyone, whether it be action, romance, drama or adventure. If, like me, you also enjoyed The Patriot and Black Robe, you should run out and buy a copy right now.
The video quality is slightly disappointing but still very watchable.
The audio quality is very good, albeit quite front-heavy.
The extras are really not worth mentioning.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|