The Last of the Mohicans

January 28, 2012 10 Min Read

Review by: Chad Estrella

Plot: What’s it about?

The story is based on the classic novel by James Fenimore Cooper with the same title. The movie is about Hawkeye, (Daniel Day Lewis) who is a white man that was adopted by a Mohican named Chingachgook (Russel Means) when Hawkeye was a year old and brought up with Chingachgook’s real son Uncas. (Eric Schweig) Hawkeye, Chingachgook and Uncas are walking through the forest of the Frontier during the French and Indian War when they walk up on a Huron (Indian tribe) war party that is attacking the English, allies to the Amricans at the time. The three men save the two British daughters, Cora (Madeleine Stowe) and Alice, (Jodhi May) of the British Colonel Edmund Monro as they are heading to Fort William Henry. They also save the life of a British soldier Hayward. (Steven Waddington) The three men agree on taking the three Brits to the fort and that is as far as they will take them. It is no walk in the park to get there as they weave their way through some danger with some French and Huron’s hot on their tracks. They walk across a cabin were friends of the three men were savagely killed. When they get to the fort they ask for the militia to be released so that they can go home and protect their families, but Colonel Munro does not let them go. He needs them to stay in the battle for the Fort. The men sneak off anyway and Hawkeye helps them in doing this and for that he is arrested for sedition.

The British surrender the fort to the French and they are released to go back to Albany. On the way back though the Huron’s have yet another surprise for them by ambushing them once again. The leader of the Huron army is Magua (Wes Studi) and he wants the blood of Colonel Munro and that of Munro’s daughters as well. Magua succesfully captures the two daugheters and the British soldier Heyward. After the battle Hawkeye goes to the Huron village to get Cora as they have fallen in love. What happens after that is some pretty cool one one hand to hand combat at the conclusion of the film.

This is an excellent movie and should not be missed. The acting is first rate in this movie and so is everything else that goes along with it. While I didn’t like the Director’s cut as much as the theatrical version it is still a powerful movie none the less. If you have never seen this movie than you won’t miss the scenes that were taken out and definately at least give this one a rental. If you are a big fan of the movie like me then you will want to buy this one just so you have the second version of the film, the Director’s vision of the film if you must. With a high MSRP of $35 you should be able to find it on the internet for about $20 with a coupon. It should be worth it.

Video: How does it look?

The THX enhanced widescreen picture looked pretty darn good even though it was NOT 16×9 enhanced. The scenery looks as good as ever now and dark scenes that are grainy on Laserdisc are now crisp and clear. A very good transfer. This whole DVD was the project of the director so if you want to get mad (like me) get mad at Michael Mann. There is a little leaflet in the DVD case that says, “This movie has been re-edited by Michael Mann. It is his definitive vision of the film. In order to create it, certain shots had to be lengthened, resulting in a momentary jump in the image.” I did notice this happen on a few occasions and some of the added scenes were blurry and they looked out of focus. While it is only a second or so it doesn’t hurt the enjoyment of the movie to me as much as some of the scenes taken out of the movie. That I can’t understand. I will just hold on to my THX AC-3 version of the movie on Laserdisc so that I have a theatrical version of the film as well. The Laserdisc also has a theatrical trailer, but that is not here on the DVD.

Audio: How does it sound?

This is a pretty good THX enhanced Dolby Digital soundtrack. The front soundstage is very wide and the bass is surprisingly deep and hits consistently throughout the movie. Actually better than the AC-3 Laserdisc. The only negative thing to me was that the surrounds were not used much at all and it could have been used to enhance the battle scenes. Especially with some of the added battle scenes in the Director’s Cut. The score from Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman sounded excellent and was one of the audio highlights for me. There are a lot of scenes where the score is playing and the actors are running or are caught up in some kind of chase. This is a good thing to me when the musical score is so enveloping.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The only extras here are the added scenes from the director, Michael Mann. The bad thing is that he took some scenes away as well. This movie is one of my favorites and it left a bad taste in my mouth after viewing. I have seen the original version of this movie about ten times so I had a pretty good idea on what was added and taken away. There are several scenes in my mind that stand out in this movie and three of my favorite lines and some dialogue in the movie from Hawkeye were deleted for the DVD. While maybe to the director it isn’t much, but to me it is three scenes in the movie that added a little humor to it. It also shows a side of Hawkeye that makes him down to earth and gives him a sense of humor. I guess the director didn’t like this side of Hawkeye. That is the only reason I can think of for deleting these scenes. I still don’t like it though. Why not just add scenes instead of taking them away? Why take away some scenes that stand out in a fan of the movie’s mind? They may not be huge to the movie and some may not notice, but if I remembered them then I’m sure other fans of the movie will notice as well. Oh well I will relax and stop crying now and hope he will bring out a huge special edition some day with both cuts on one DVD. Until then I will try and give this one another try and if it still doesn’t settle in then I will go back to my Laserdisc. Don’t get me wrong the movie is still enjoyable just not as much as the theatrical version to me… not yet anyway.

Note: I know I wrote a lot of negative things about the cut of this movie and I hope I haven’t detered you from watching this version of the film. I am just voicing my opinion and I did enjoy the added scenes from Michael Mann himself. I just can’t understand as to why he would take some away as well.

Disc Scores

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