Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Last of the Mohicans Blu-ray Review

In finding my voice with my reviews, I quickly discovered that I wanted to be as faithful to my audience as possible. This means that if there's something wrong with a movie, or in this case if there's something wrong with the quality of the film on its respective media format, I intend to let the reader know about it. I'm not going to be overly focused on giving studios what they want, and if I'm reviewing a Blu-ray or DVD, I'm not going to be entirely focused on the film itself either. In my opinion, what matters most in a review of a film on a high definition format like Blu-ray is how it looks. If the film is accurately represented in high definition and looks spectacular, as in the case of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, I'm going to let you know. Conversely, if it looks like total shit I'm going to let you know that, as well.

Sadly, in the case of The Last of the Mohicans, I had to give a somewhat negative review. On one hand Fox did give me a free review copy of the film, but on the other hand it's a pile of donkey shit. I would be pissed at myself if I didn't accurately and intelligently explain exactly what was wrong with the transfer. I see so many Blu-ray reviewers online giving a false impression of a transfer, and that makes me sick. As such, I'm resolved to represent the reality of the situation rather than to make something sound a lot better than it is. If a Blu-ray looks like shit because it's been DNR'd or EE'd to death, I'm going to let you know about it. Good transfer or bad, you'll get nothing but the absolute truth from me.

I know for a fact that Michael Mann knows how to properly use black levels in his films, so the fact that the Blu-ray of The Last of the Mohicans is so dark probably isn't his fault. So what went wrong with this one? No doubt they probably just mailed this one in, spent a few days working on the transfer and called it a day. That is unfortunate because the film really is very good, and it deserves much more respect than it was given with this transfer. Some scenes, particularly from the middle to the end of the film, are absolutely beautiful and use little to no DNR. The final battle in particular is a sight to behold, as it takes place on a cliff face and every minute detail of the rock and the trees far in the background is beautifully visible in high definition. Still, getting one scene right isn't exactly impressive when they should have gotten them all right.

If Paramount, one of the most notorious studios for bad Blu-ray transfers, can properly handle a film like Braveheart and make it look ten times better than it has ever looked before, why can't Fox do the same for The Last of the Mohicans? There is simply no excuse for this kind of trash. If you love the movie, you might want to pick up the Blu-ray just for the scenes that are well done. However, if you're not particularly crazy about paying $15 for a lackluster high def transfer, you might just want to skip it and pick up the DVD. Either way, the film truly is a classic in my opinion, and it is much more faithful to the social realities of the time period that it deals with than similarly themed films. If you've never seen it, give it a chance one way or another. If you want more information, please check out Movie Cynics for my full review of the Blu-ray.
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