of the Fall" on DVD
Legends of the Fall
starts off very well, then about half way through turns quite depressing
and stays that way.
Still, it's hard not
to like a film that has so much going for it: Hopkins, Pitt, love stories,
battle scenes, and the beautiful Rocky Mountain foothills of southern
Alberta (about thirty minutes from where this review is being written).
Okay, so the locations
make us suckers for the movie; we admit it. We also bet you'll be suckers
for it once you see the gorgeous, Oscar-winning cinematography that offers
positively stunning views of "God's Country."
The movie itself follows
the fortunes of the Ludlow family on their Montana ranch. Colonel William
Ludlow (Hopkins) has retired to the foothills so he can bring up his boys
(Brad Pitt, Aidan Quinn and Henry Thomas) safely away from "the madness"
of mainstream civilization. All's well and good until young Samuel (Thomas)
comes home with his new financee (Julia Ormond) - then promptly decides
(much to the old man's chagrin) to go off and fight World War I.
Samuel and his brothers
Alfred (Quinn) and Tristan (Pitt) head off together, with the brothers
admonished by their father to ensure that Samuel stays safe.
Samuel doesn't stay
safe, of course. He's killed in action, the manner of which inflicts deep
emotional scars in the brothers, especially Tristan, that won't be healed
Back home, both surviving
brothers vie for the affections of Susannah (Ormond), causing the rift
between them to get larger. It's healed toward the end of the film, but
not before a lot of water flows under the bridge.
Pitt's Tristan is
the real focus of the film, whether he's trying to keep Samuel from harm,
traveling the world in an attempt to exorcize his demons, or back at home
trying to support the family ranch by becoming a bootlegger.
The family has more
than its share of trials and tribulations, and the movie ends up being
quite a tear jerker. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, of course, but
we have a soft spot for more uplifting fare.
Still, this Special
Edition DVD is well worth a look. The story draws you in and there's plenty
to keep your attention focused on events until the final credits.
The DVD itself is
presented in widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1, and the digitally mastered
audio and anamorphic video quality are very, very good. We've already
jabbered on about the beautiful look of the film, but we should also mention
the terrific Dolby Digital surround audio, which is particularly effective
during the battle and storm sequences.
Bonus features on
the "Legends" DVD include a running commentary by director Edward Zwick
and star Brad Pitt, as well as a separate commentary by production designer
Lilly Kilvert. There's also a feature on the film's production design,
a "making of" featurette, and three deleted scenes with director's commentary.
You even get an isolated musical score track, as well as the usual talent
files, trailers, etc.
Legends of the Fall,
from Columbia Tristar Home Video
135 minutes, Widescreen (1.85:1), Dolby Digital
Starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond, Henry
Produced by Edward Zwick, Bill Wittliff, Marshall Herskovitz
Written by Susan Shilliday and Bill Wittliff, Directed by Edward Zwick
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