The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1992
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Feature running time: 114 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeline Stowe, Johdi May, Wes Studi, Russell Means, Steven Waddington
Directed by: Michael Mann
Music by: Trevor Jones & Randy Edelman
Written by: Michael Mann & Christopher Crowe based on the novel by James Fenimore Cooper
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 5, 2010
"The first American hero"
Based on the literary classic by James Fennimore Cooper, THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS takes place in the majestic mountains and awe-inspiring forests of war-torn Colonial America. In the midst of a bloody battle between British, the French and Native American allies, Cora Munro (Madeleine Stowe, Twelve Monkeys, We Were Soldiers), the aristocratic daughter of a British Colonel and her party are captured by a group of Huron warriors. Fortunately, a group of three Mohican trappers, including Hawkeye (Day-Lewis), a rugged frontiersman and the adopted son of the Mohicans comes to their rescue. A passionate romance soon blossoms between Cora and Hawkeye, but many forces test their love as they continue to journey through the Frontier.
The last of the Mohicans is set in the Adirondack region of upstate New York in the late 1750’s amidst the conflict of the French and Indian War. Based upon the novel by James Fenimore Cooper, but owing more to the 1936 film adaptation the story focuses on Nathaniel/Hawkeye, the adopted “white” son of Mohican Indian Chingachgook, a skilled trapper and hunter. Hawkeye is devoted to Chingachgook and stepbrother Uncas and is known for his proficiency as a tracker and marksman. Unlike other Native Americans who have sided with either the British or the French, the three men avoid involvement in the conflict but can see the toll it is taking on the land and people in the region. Things quickly change for them when they happen across the trail of a group Huron Indians who are tracking and planning to attack a British detachment of soldiers who are escorting the daughters of Colonel Munro to his location at Fort William Henry. Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook catch up with the Hurons, led by Magua, after they have already commenced the attack on the soldiers. The only remaining survivors are Major Hayward, and the two women, Alice and Cora Munro. They engage the Hurons killing most while Magua, who seems to be targeting the women, escapes.
They decide to escort the Major Hayward and the women to the Fort which is still a distance away. During the journey Cora, a strong willed young aristocrat, makes an unexpected connection with Hawkeye, and he with her. They arrive at the Fort to find it under siege by the French. With his heart now guiding him Hawkeye opts to remain close to Alice and ultimately becomes embroiled in both the military conflict and what he later finds to be a vendetta aimed not only at Colonel Munro but his daughters as well. With Chingachgook and Uncas by his side Hawkeye pursues his growing love for Alice while trying to extricate them both from the impending danger that could separate them forever.
This is one of those movies that I always meant to see but never got around to. Eighteen years after its release it comes my way on Blu-ray. Well the wait was well worth it. This is an excellent film with an epic scope and multi-faceted storyline that’s quite involving. Of course I’m late to the game since most who are reading this probably already appreciate it for what it is. The magnificent cinematography captures the rustic spirit of the time period and the majesty of forest lined shooting locations. I like the film’s depiction of unflinching heroism, gritty frontiersman and the sociopolitical unrest that prevailed. The script interweaves these elements along with plenty of butt kicking action and a perfectly spun love story that integrates smoothly and never feels corny. Daniel Day-Lewis is at his charismatic best and balances Hawkeye’s tough as nails exterior with a discernable but not overstated edge of warmth and compassion that coincides so well with Madeline Stowe’s credible turn as Cora, the high spirited aristocratic woman whose devotion and internal fortitude shouldn’t be underestimated. I thoroughly appreciated their “what are you looking at sir”, and “stay alive, I will find you” scenes together. Wes Studi and Steven Waddington gave excellent performances as well although the entire supporting cast is deserving of praise. The last of the Mohicans is an epic style adventure with an engaging flavor that entices with plenty of action and an integral yet unassuming romance that appropriately underscores the story. After hearing great things about it over the years I am glad that my first experience with it was in high definition on Blu-ray. I think that made it all the better.
The film contains strong violence and mild sensuality.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The last of the Mohicans comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 38 Mbps and lossless D TS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.
This video presentation appears faithful to the film’s original source elements but doesn’t make for high definition eye candy. This is a dark film with an overall visual aesthetic that lacks vibrancy. Resolution is primarily stable however the rendering of fine detail can be a mixed bag. Close ups tend to look best and offer a perceptible level of detail and clarity however some mid range shots look quite good also. The earth toned colors appear natural with primaries such as red and blue appearing more vivid. Contrast and brightness are toned down so that even brighter scenes appear less dynamic and lacking punch. Much of the film is shot in low light and I found shadow detail to be intermittent. There were definitely instances where this presentation would have shone with improved depth and dimension but it never took me out of the film or proved distracting. I am happy to report that grain is intact and rendered naturally. I saw no signs of unwanted digital manipulation or artificial enhancement.
The DTS-HD lossless soundtrack makes the most of what it has to work with in the source elements present in the recording. Dialogue is predominantly clear and mixed to a prominent position within the front soundstage. There were occasions during some of the film’s active moments where I had a little trouble with intelligibility. Sound effects and panning sequences emanating from the main channels are seamlessly integrated with discernible separation and average sound field penetration. The beautiful music score doesn’t have the feeling of authority and quantifiable dynamics that you might find with today’s digital recordings but it exerts tangible influence that is highlighted by crystal clear instrumentation. There is no subterranean bass contained in this mix however, low frequency detail is present and detectable during a handful of scenes (such as musket blasts and the cannon fire barrage on Fort William Henry). The surround channels are used mainly for ambient spatial cues that extend the front soundstage to create a better sense of envelopment but not to the level of being engagingly immersive. The soundtrack is noticeably dated but sounds just fine.
- Commentary by Michael Mann
- (HD) Making of The last of the Mohicans – A three part documentary featuring cast/crew interviews and behind the scenes footage:
- Act I – 13 minutes
- Act II – 11 minutes
- Act III – 18 minutes
Writer/director Michael Mann’s vision of The last of the Mohicans is a gripping, epic adventure film with an engaging flavor that entices with plenty of action that is underscored by an integral yet unassuming romance that doesn’t water it down. It’s a beautifully shot and scored film that features a marvelous ensemble cast headed by Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeline Stowe. It comes to Blu-ray for the first time in a Director’s Definitive Cut from 20th Century Fox that features faithful video reproduction, gratifying lossless surround sound, director commentary and a wonderful three part feature that documents the making of the film. This is my first time seeing The last of the Mohicans and I can’t think of a better introduction than this. Recommended.
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