Sure, it wouldnít be wrong of you to say this flickís storyline is a bit of a bummer, I mean shit, nothing will start a war quicker than coming home to find your woman tied up with her throat cut. Thatís a pretty huge F*CK YOU. And for me, itís this execution that not only sets the stage for a revenge driven plot, but also allows us to except (and in my case, enjoy) the vicious bloodbath to come. And does it ever come. The battles staged throughout the course of this film were not only epic in nature, but became a precedent for many a great movie after (TROY, GLADIATOR, THE MESSENGER, pretty much anything that featured insane battles). For me, this style of war is refreshing, graphic, but refreshing. War is brutal, and should be treated as such.
Many things have been said about Mel Gibson, but I feel heís one of the greatest actors to ever grace the business. Heís utterly magnificent in ALL his roles, and that list is a long one indeed. I have even more respect for an actor who can both direct AND star in a picture, which only multiplies when set picture is this good. His supporting cast isnít too shabby either. My favorites would have to be Brendan Gleeson for one, whoís no stranger to ďepic battleĒ flicks. Thereís also Brian Cox (he and Gleeson were fantastic in TROY), and then the turncoat Angus Macfadyen (it took me half the season of CALIFORNICATION to figure out where I recognized him from), whoís nuts you really wanna stab with an icepick by the end of it. There was no shortage of great acting here.
BRAVEHEART is one of those films you can watch once a year (I do), despite its somber overtone. And thereís no better way to enjoy it then in 1080p HD, the visuals are so insane I found myself wincing whenever blood sprayed, thinking I might end up with some on me. James Hornerís soundtrack was mesmerizing enough, but Blu-ray takes it to the next level. Thereís also more than enough extras to wet your appetite, making this a safe bet when it comes to double dipping. Itís films like this one that make Blu-ray technology soar, and though I sound like a Blu-ray commercial, I certainly feel that BRAVEHEART fans owe it to themselves to experience it the way it was meant to be seen. Itís worth it.
Commentary by Mel Gibson: This is the first time Iíve ever watched a Mel Gibson led commentary, and I have to say itís pretty damn cool. His opening joke sets just the right mood for Melís ďhappy go luckyĒ tone. He may not be big talker here, but what he does say has a lot of weight to it and makes you want to listen.
Braveheart Timlines: This timeline feature is an fascinating first. Thereís three ďstoryboard reels,Ē you might call them (fiction, production and history timelines), put together as three separate slide shows. Loved the comparative fiction vs history aspect of things.
Battlefields of the Scottish Rebellion: Here we have a forty-five minute history lesson about the many battles featured throughout the film. Again, very original presentation here, letting you pick and choose battles with the option to ďenter the battlefieldĒ or simply read the given description.
Braveheart: A Look Back: Mel gives us an in-depth view of the many elements surrounding his masterpiece. Melís got an extremely laid back persona in all these interviews, which quite frankly puts a wide smile on my face.
Smithfield: Medieval Killing Fields: An insightful look in the history of Smithfield, where among other things, William Wallace was executed. Itís unsettling to hear how many ways people were put to death here over the years. Boiled? Damn!
Tales of William Wallace: Another historical journey into the legend of Scotlandís heroic knight, William Wallace. Watching this makes me even prouder to admit Iím Scottish. I wonder if Iím related to Wallace? Letís just say I am.
A Writerís Journey: Braveheartís writer, Randall Wallace, tells and interesting story about discovering his epic lineage while his wife was pregnant with his unborn son. A trip to Scotland (along with the desire to share his family roots with his son one day), spawned this amazing film. I truly enjoyed his grounded approach to signing Mel.
Trailers: The filmís two theatrical trailers. Itís a small annoyance, but I really do hate when DVDís and Blu-rayís DONíT contain the film in questionís trailers. Is that weird?
Extra Tidbit: It still makes me exceedingly angry to see his friends standing in the crowd watching him die. Hell guys, at least have a couple hidden archers take out the executioner and guards. Do SOMETHING!