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In his engaging audio commentary, Mel Gibson is deeply appreciative of his cast and collaborators (especially Oscar-winning cinematographer John Toll) and, of course, quite amusing when he wants to be. Gibson notes, "I fell in love a little bit" when he cast then-newcomer Catherine McCormack as William Wallace's ill-fated bride, and throughout his informative commentary, the actor-director conveys genuine passion for the story and a firm understanding of the period history that informed the entire production. The accompanying documentary, Mel Gibson's "Braveheart": A Filmmaker's Passion, is a 28-minute promotional film with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with primary cast and crew. Particularly interesting are sequences revealing the equipment required for the epic battle scenes, including air cannons for firing dozens of arrows, and costly mechanical horses created to simulate animal-related violence. Viewers will especially admire the considerable challenge of filming in Europe's rainiest region, Scotland, where inclement weather enhanced the film's gritty authenticity. --Jeff Shannon
- A Filmmaker's Passion - The Making of Braveheart (Behind the Scenes Documentary)
- Mastered in High Definition
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Mel had really piled on the carnage with a Mad Max series and a Lethal Weapon series. He also had a few "nice" dramatic roles in other films, and his stock had gone up as movies like The Man Without A Face, Gallipoli, The Bounty, and even his not so successful take on Hamlet, drew audience attention and box office dollars. Maverick, coming out shortly before Braveheart is a case in point, a critical flop but it raked in close to $200 million. So Mel was given all the room he needed to become not only William Wallace, but to marshal his forces like the battlefield William did. He amassed thousands of extras, horsemen and horses, stunt people and battlefield personnel galore; he managed to film complicated battle sequences, many of them, all drenched in a bloodbath, and directed this conflagration with amazing dexterity and focus; these scenes are never confusing, they are detailed and massive all at the same time, but painted with the cinematic finesse of Ridley Scott's epic sequences, hoisting Mel up to super-director status (he will repeat this ability several times over in the ensuing decades); Braveheart may just be Mel Gibson's masterpiece though! As William Wallace he even manages to flare his nostrils from horseback, wearing blue face paint, evincing the epic Gilgamesh/Beowulf mythic hero, an uncanny ability which cannot be denied, not too many actors, let alone actor-directors can accomplish some of the things Mel does in this film. He can subtly throw a humorous blow in our direction while we are still reeling from the pain and anguish of a prior scene, and it works like a mesmerizing spell.
Actor and Director, both hats are perfectly aligned in the making of this film, his cinematic crew are easily as good as Ridley's from Gladiator - Kingdom of Heaven - Robin Hood fame. Mel makes you believe that what you are watching is true to life real history (even though it is only a poetic mythos built around true events and drawn more from literature than history), he envelopes you in the beautiful highland grasses, the damp stone living, the muddy quagmires, the misty hillocks, and the bloody aftermaths of open battlefields rife with death and decay. Mel fascinates, enthralls, and wrenches the emotions out of his audience. Braveheart is some of the best film making ever practiced, so if you have not yet, somehow, viewed this modern day classic, don't delay any longer.
What's not to like?
The gore you say?
Well ... perhaps, but it does add to the realism of the period ... war is, and always has been, hell after all.
Acting is above and beyond amazing. Great job all around. Mel Gibson rocks as William Wallace.
It can be gruesome during the war scenes, but it was indeed that gruesome back then. I did enjoy the movie throughout. I seem to find myself quoting this movie whenever possible. There is a lot of action and political maneuvering and both work very well. Great story as it is indeed based on a true story.
What a film. What a country. Long live Scotland the Brave