Published on October 7th, 2009 | by Chris1
Braveheart (1995, Blu Ray)
If you haven't seen 1995's Braveheart by now, you've probably been living under a rock, or in some remote Gobi-desert cave or something. I mean, really.
The tale of William Wallace, 13th century champion of Scottish independence, Braveheart is indeed an epic film in every sense of the word.
Painted here as a simple man from a simple upbringing, Wallace (Mel Gibson) loses his wife Murron (Catherine McCormack) to the blade of English tyranny, and so begins his quest to bring freedom to Scotland. Well, firstly to just kick some English arse, as it were, but destiny has other plans for William.
Early on, he starts to unite the clans, and bring them together under the flag of Scotland and Robert the Bruce. Together they fight in several battles, complete with plenty of gratuitous piercings, slashings, crushings, and dismemberments.
King Edward Longshanks (Patrick McGoohan) sends his daughter-in-law, Princess Isabelle (Sophie Marceau) to try to make peace, but is turned down each time.
In the end, he is betrayed and subsequently captured, tortured and killed, while Longshanks lay on his deathbed.
OK, so its quite well known that the film isn't exactly getting high marks for historical accuracy. Even the script writer seems to acknowledge this, basing it on the 15th century tales of Wallace by Blind Harry.
But it really doesn't matter. What you get here is a brilliant epic about good triumphing over evil, about standing up for principle, even to the very end. Pie-in-the-sky? Yeah, probably, but it makes for a damn good movie.
Although some aspects I think could have been left out, such as the Prince's, ah, preferences shall we say. Comedic, yes, but necessary, no. Ditto the weird Irishman. (Although I'll let him stay, just because he did bring some welcome comedy relief!)
The performances are good across the board. McGoohan is simply regal as Longshanks. Gibson is, well, Gibson, what else can you say. That "Sergeant Riggs" look is perfect for the role. Sophie Marceau is stunning as always, and you couldn't have picked a better sidekick than Gleeson as Hamish.
The battle scenes though (this is a war movie blog, remember) are the true gems of the movie. The carnage, the strategy, the carnage (wait, did I already say that?) are spectacular. If you get nothing else from it, watch for these alone.
As for the Blu Ray (thanks Netflix!), I'm afraid I was somewhat disappointed. They've done a more-or-less straight transfer from film here, complete with numerous (and noticable) specks and dust and the like. I would have thought a proper restoration might have been in order, but apparently not. Neither is the sound anything really to shout about, at least I didn't notice anything that would set it apart from a DVD copy. And unfortunately, there are spots where the transfer starts to take on some of that eternally annoying "low light noise." How this happened is beyond me, but it was noticeable. Not very often, but I did see it.
If you've already got Braveheart on DVD, I don't think I'd upgrade just yet. But even with the aforementioned flaws the picture was still excellent.
Just on the 'epic' and well-done nature of the entire package, I'm throwing it an eight. I'm sure I'll hear about it, but it definitely qualifies as a classic.
Summary: If you haven't seen 1995's Braveheart by now, you've probably been living under a rock, or in some remote Gobi-desert cave or something. I mean, really. The tale of William Wallace, 13th century champion of Scottish independence, Braveheart is indeed an epic film in every sense of the word.