Plot: What’s it about?
VercingΘtorix (Christopher Lambert) is only one man, but the future of his entire nation rests upon his shoulders, which is quite a burden indeed. He is a good man and one who wants peace for his fellow Druids, but knows some outsiders could pose a very real threat to them. As he has a legacy to uphold as the Gallic chieftain, it is up to him to make the decisions that change the landscape of the future. If things were up to him, he would have peace at all times, but that isn’t the case, as Julius Caesar (Klaus Maria Brandauer) has taken an interest in the area. Once Caesar declares war and sends in Roman forces to invade, VercingΘtorix has to either choose to see his people demolished or rally them to fight back. The decision is made to stand up to the Roman forces, even though the chances of victory are between slim & none. So VercingΘtorix, his childhood love, and the common people raise their courage and arm themselves, but will they be able to even make much of a stand against the Romans?
Although the premise was cool and I was quite interested, I had minimal expectations for Druids, since I assumed it had a very limited budget. I mean, low budget movies can often be superb, but with an epic period piece, you need some funds to make it happen, without a doubt. And while no one will confuse Druids with a massive budget blockbuster, it looks much better than I counted on and actually has some great production design work. The locations look excellent and realistic, the sets are well crafted, the props & costumes are quite good, and the photography is good, all needed elements for a movie of this kind. Yes, it has some flaws and the lack of resources is sometimes evident, but all things considered, Druids is a pretty cool flick. Christopher Lambert gives his usual solid, but not too inspiring effort and while I like his work, I know some don’t and for those people, this won’t be one to check out. But if you’re a fan of these large scale period pieces with some cool visuals, then Druids is more than worth a look.
As I mentioned above, the star of Druids is Christopher Lambert, which is good news for some and bad news for others. I’ve enjoyed most of his work and while he is usually seen in lower profile, lower budget projects these days, he is still an able performer, I think. His skills won’t earn him any Oscars or the like, but he can more than handle himself in most roles and in Druids, he is up to the challenge and then some. He is given some nice material also, so he has some moments to shine and he does, though perhaps not bright enough for some folks. I hope he continues to work in the business also, even if in lesser known films like Druids. Other films with Lambert include Mortal Kombat, Highlander, The Point Men, Fortress 2, The Hunted, and Knight Moves. The cast also includes Klaus Maria Brandauer (Out of Africa, Mephisto), Max Von Sydow (Needful Things, The Exorcist), and Ines Sastre (Sabrina, Torrente 2).
Video: How does it look?
Druids is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame edition included on the disc’s flip side. The image here looks very good, with a clean source print and no evidence of compression flaws, which is good since this movie depends heavily upon the visuals involved. The film often takes on a darker visual approach and this treatment never slips, as black levels remain stark and on the mark, so detail is always as intended. The colors have a bright, natural look to them, while flesh tones are normal & consistent. This movie needed a great looking transfer and thankfully, that’s what we’ve been given here.
Audio: How does it sound?
This film was shot in both French & English versions and for this release, Columbia has included the English language edition. This is not a dub at all, so don’t be confused when you see that there is also a French language version released in Europe. The included Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a more than solid one, though it doesn’t hit the high parts as heavy as I would like. I expected more punch from the mix, but it seems rather front channel based, though it does use the surrounds when it needs to. The sound effects have decent punch at times, while the score also makes good use of the rear channels throughout. The dialogue is clean and while some looping is obvious, the vocals always sound good here. This disc also houses a 2.0 surround option, as well as subtitles in English, Chinese, Korean, and Thai.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.