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Winner of five Academy Awards® including Best Picture, the exhilarating epic Braveheart is one of the most anticipated films on Blu-ray and continues to be beloved by fans and critics alike. The film will be presented in 1080p High Definition with English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English, English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. Among the more than two hours of new special features to be included on Braveheart are:
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The historical inaccuracies have been well documented in the past. Very little is known of the background to William Wallace, and what we do know comes mainly from an oral history originating after his death. Even what we do know is not translated accurately into the film. Perhaps the most glaring example of this is the Battle of Stirling Bridge, which is portrayed here without the bridge. This is seen as critical by historians since the bridge played a role in the Scottish victory.
However, as screenwriter Randall Wallace (who had never heard of his famous ancestor until a fateful trip to Scotland) said in a HISTORY channel documentary on the movie, the script holds true to the spirit of the Wallace history and technical issues finally proved prohibitive to filming the battle as it happened.
The movie follows the story of William Wallace who led his native Scots in a revolt against the English King Edward the Longshanks (played with wonderful villainous relish by Patrick McGoohan). In an effort to "breed" out the Scots, Edward re-instigates an old practice whereby the English Lord blesses a marriage by taking the newly wed bride into his bed on the wedding night.
Not willing to accept this Wallace and his bride (played by the impossibly beautiful Catherine McCormack) wed in secret. Then shortly after Wallace feels compelled to protect her from the lecherous advances of one of the Kings men, an action which leads to his bride being murdered by the English.
The reaction by Wallace is swift and brutal, and the Scots march down into England to wreak revenge on their occupiers. Some of the violence is very graphic with heads getting lobbed off and severed arms spurting blood, but the graphic depiction of violence is necessary given that battles in that time were usually fought in close proximity and were violent.
It's a story that I, as a native Scot, feel close to my heart and one that no doubt left an impact on the voters of Scotland who finally voted in the 1990s to partially secede from the United Kingdom to the extent that they now have their own parliament and are in control of most of their domestic policy.
Perhaps surprising given his stature as one of Hollywood's leading men, Gibson handles his directorial duties expertly and in fact was recognized by the Academy in 1996 with a Best Director Oscar. He manages to weave together all the elements in what was a gigantic undertaking and gets fantastic performances from all involved.
Special features on this DVD include a rather short behind-the-scenes featurette that includes shots of the Irish army dressing up as Scottish soldiers (yes, it was inexplicably filmed in Ireland and Scotland) , casting the movie (Gibson quite understandably was enchanted by McCormack's beauty) and problems they had in the making of the movie. There is also a rather breezy commentary by Gibson that I liked with only one exception. My favorite dialogue in the movie is the stirring pep talk given to his troops by Wallace before engaging the English, however in the commentary Gibson talks right through it. Still it's great to have the commentary on the disc, which was released at a time when star commentaries were rare.
Overall then, the movie is an inspiring tale of courage and love. It's well worth giving it a spin in your DVD player and clocking in at three-hours well worth the price.
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2. Who doesn't love special collections?
3. Who doesn't love Mel Gibson?
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