WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A South Carolina farmer, Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) is reluctantly forced back into military service in order to help the colonial Americans in their struggle for independence from Britain. With the help of his eldest son (Heath Ledger), he must lead a make shift group of Militia rebels in fighting off approaching British forces.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Want the formula for a successful movie? Add one big name celebrity, mix in some swashbuckling action and spice things up with hints of bittersweet romance and fiery vengeance. It worked for BRAVEHEART, right? This movie, too, closely follows that equation and turns out to be a pretty damn good flick. While Iíve never been a huge fan of his work, Gibson did a wonderful job playing the fearless revolutionary and mourning father who must lead his people into a bloody war. Savage, brutal and moving, this movie featured some of the most realistic battle scenes Iíve ever seen. Youíre bombarded with images of violently colliding factions, virtual seas of men, fighting for the right to achieve liberty. The film assumes a very grave and somber tone but surprisingly introduces some brief moments of humor, which really helped shake things up. Heath Ledger, (a poor manís Ryan Phillippe) radiates a great deal of charisma and did a good job as the ill-tempered son. Lead villain, Jason Isaacs, really got under my skin with his horrendous and devious actions. Still, with beautiful visuals and a solid story, The Patriot is a great movie from start to finish.
This disc is overloaded with all sorts of great bonus features. A "Visual Effects Interactive Featurette" will be of great interest to fans interested in how special effects shots are actually made. Through a brief analysis of 5 scenes, you get a split screen look at how CGI produced graphics were used to build key objects like boats and harbors. The cannonball decapitation scene is insane. Whatís even better is the "Conceptual Art to Film" comparison which does a cool job of illustrating how storyboard art inspired many key shots. Other extras include "The Art of War" and "A True Patriot Featurette", which help to explain the historical influences of certain characters and the unbelievable efforts made to preserve the authenticity of the movie. They did a lot of research to make sure uniforms, sets and buildings were historically accurate. Although a bit short in length, they are informative and extremely well done. 7 deleted scenes (with optional commentary) are also included. The teaser and theatrical trailer as well as extensive photo galleries round out the bonus features. The Patriot features some of the spiffiest interactive menus Iíve seen, with bombs and guns exploding between your selections.
While many recent DVDs have disappointed with a poorly selected array of features, The Patriot delivers on all levels. Cool FX explanations, informative history pieces, excellent video and an entertaining commentary track are all key contributors to this great disc. If youíre searching for a well rounded release to add your collection, look no further as Iíd highly recommend this good movie and terrific DVD.