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review by Zach B.


Rated R

Studio: Paramount

Starring Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Catherine McCormack

Running Time: 177 Minutes

Written by Randall Wallace

Directed by Mel Gibson


Retail Price: 29.99

Features: Theatrical Trailers, Commentary with Mel Gibson, "A Filmmaker's Passion: The Making Of Braveheart" featurette

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital English 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Chapter Search (22 Chapters)

"Every man dies, not every man really lives."

It's finally here. Ever since the DVD format made it's debut, many movie fans wondered "When is Braveheart coming out on DVD?". Braveheart is one of the most anticipated titles on the format, right next to the Star Wars Trilogy, The Godfather Trilogy and some beloved Spielberg films. Was it worth the wait? I think so.

Braveheart was a pretty succesful movie at the box office, and a critical favorite. It won five Academy Awards®, including Best Picture. The movie also established Mel Gibson, a great actor, as a great director (with "The Man Without A Face" before this, which he did a superb job with).

For those unfamiliar with the story, Gibson is William Wallace, a Scotsman who was simply born to lead. Wallace is an intelligent guy, as well as an excellent fighter. Through the movie, we see Wallace grow up from child to man, and his attempt to stop Edward the Longshanks and English rule.

This movie is long, but it needs to be to fully see it all. "Braveheart" features some incredible battle scenes, as well as some excellent drama. Mel Gibson's direction is remarkable, he really did deserve that Oscar®. The way things are staged and what he gets out of his actors is amazing. The script is really well written by Randall Wallace, and the cinematography is beautiful. The costumes and makeup are excellent, as well as the sound effects and James Horner's wonderful musical score. The performances in this movie are incredible too, everyone in the film brings depth to who they play.

This movie will become a classic over time, and deserves a spot in your collection. The DVD is really nice, and here's why.

"Braveheart" has a really murky tone, so I think Paramount puroposley elborated on this for the transfer. Colors are bold and fleshtones seem to be accurate. This transfer captures that muddy and somewhat darker tone of the movie and scenery. Detail is excellent, everything looks really good and I think it's sort of breathtaking to look at. My only complaints are artifacts and dirt which seem to pop up a good amount of time, and that there is some slight shimmer. Other than that, this transfer is really good. I wish they could have cleaned it up just a little bit more.

Equally as good is the English 5.1 Dolby Digital track. This movie has some great action scenes, and with this track, rear channels and surrounds are used to full force. Sword swinging, screaming, slashes, it's all here and sounds well. Dialogue is remarkably clear and easy to understand, and the track sounds really good with James Horner's score. Paramount does it again.

Though it's not a full blown out special edition (it should be!), it's not bare bones either. The supplements will please anyone who picks up this disc.

Most notably is the Commentary with Mel Gibson, and it's not that bad for a first time commentary. Yes, there are some long pauses of silence which do get frusturating, and some of Gibson's comments are not so insightful ("That girl was four years old at the time, and she is pretty. Good performance too."), but Gibson seems happy to be there and to talk about the film, and most of what he says is fun to listen to and interesting to learn. Though it's not perfect, it is one of the better commentaries I have heard recently.

Next up is a 28 minute featurette entitled "A Filmmaker's Passion: The Making Of Braveheart". This has some good interviews with Gibson and others, and some nice behind the scenes footage.

Finally, there are Two Theatrical Trailers. The first one really could have been cleaned up, and the second one is better looking, but still could have been cleaned up. Either way, they are good trailers presented in two channel sound and widescreen.

If you've been anticipating this title, you probably already have it. Still, this movie is excellent each time you watch it, and the supplements are in a good amount. The transfer and sound mix just add to it. This one is one to cherish and treasure, and if you've never seen "Braveheart", what are you waiting for? Go out and get this!

(4.5/5, NOT included in final score)




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