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  1. #1
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Jul 2002
    Northern, CA

    Braveheart (UHD Blu-ray) review

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    Early in the 14th Century, a legendary Scottish hero, William Wallace (Mel Gibson), leads his countrymen against the oppressive King of England (Patrick McGoohan) and his tyrannical rule. But Wallace wants more than just freedom—he wants revenge for family members who perished at the hands of English soldiers. Can this common man inspire an entire nation? You bet!

    My Thoughts
    Second-time director Mel Gibson proved he was more than capable to handle such a complex production with hundreds of extras, brutally violent battle sequences, and an extraordinary love story, a love of one's family and country. Be aware, though, that at nearly three hours, the pacing might have been improved with some additional editing, and the mind-numbing brutality of medieval hand-to-hand combat is not for the squeamish.

    John Toll's Oscar-winning cinematography comes alive on this brilliant 4K encode. This virtually flawless presentation has inky blacks, stable contrasts, and a lush color palette—particularly the green landscapes of the Scottish countryside, which come alive with the wider color gamut that UHD provides.. Textures in the clothing and armor are well-preserved and close-ups of the actors’ faces reveal every pore and blemish. Longer shots can look a little soft and fuzzy, but that’s most likely due to the principal photography.

    The Dolby Atmos soundtrack is just as impressive with its realistic atmosphere. Whether it’s the birds chirping in the forest, the wind moving through the trees, or the thunderous sound of horses charging into the field of battle, it never fails to impress. Dialog is always intelligible, imaging is seamless throughout the soundstage, and dynamics are to die for. James Horner's Oscar-nominated score is equally impressive with its unique harmonics of bagpipes and ominous bass.

    Video 10/10 (MVC)

    Audio 10/10 (Dolby Atmos)

    Special Features:

    • Battlefileds of the Scottish Rebellion
    • Braveheart: A Look Back
    • Smithfield: Medieval Killing Fields
    • Tales of William Wallace
    • A Writer’s Journey
    • Theatrical Trailers
    • Blu-ray + Digital Copy

    Historical inaccuracies notwithstanding, Braveheart captured five Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director and was nominated for five others. My only criticism is its glacial pacing with too much attention paid to Wallace as a youth and too many sweeping shots of the Scottish countryside. Regardless, the exceptional performances and well-choreographed battles far outweigh the negatives. Its debut on 4K is nothing short of perfection and gets my highest recommendation.
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  2. #2
    Senior Member TrippleJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Thanks for the review. Great movie.
    Samsung UN75F8000 LED TV, NAD T-777 (7.2 Receiver), Oppo 103 Blu Ray Player, Sony PS4 Gaming Console, Panamax MR-5100 Surge Protection, 7 Paradigm Reference series 8" in ceiling speakers (AMS-150R) - 30 degree tilting speakers, 2 Paradigm SE Subs. Pictures here.

  3. #3
    I remember the lead up to this movie. Every trade magazine was mocking this "exorbitant 3-hour vanity project with Mel Gibson in blue paint and a kilt".

    Then it came out and silenced those people.

    I loved it when I watched it, but it's kind of an ordeal, and lots of unpleasantness. As an ultra-jaded fan of horror and sci-fi I didn't think I would see any sort of violence onscreen that was too much for me, but Braveheart came pretty damn close. Gibson just gets carried away and revels in it too much. (Passion of the Christ went too far, and not because of subject matter.)

    So I've never seen it since, but I think I'll check it out again now, and maybe avert my eyes when the horrible stuff happens. (Even that ending, though, with no visible/visceral graphic violence (pretty much all implied) was hard to stomach. It was setup well beforehand so we knew what was happening, and with only facial expressions Gibson pulled off the agony that experience must have been.)
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