Patriot" on DVD
From the team that
brought you "Independence Day," "Stargate," and "Godzilla," comes an epic
story of a peace-loving man who reluctantly takes up arms against the
British during the US War of Independence.
Mel Gibson is Benjamin
Martin, a hero of earlier conflicts who still carries the inner scars
of those days. Now, having renounced violence, he's making a life for
himself and his family on their South Carolina homestead and, despite
his sons' wishes to get involved in the conflict, keeps his focus on his
life at hand.
Until his eldest son,
who has left to join the battle, returns home while on a mission, and
the British arrive and all Hell breaks loose. Benjamin's course is forced
upon him, a combination of revenge and inevitability, and he leads a militia
into a type of guerilla warfare the British aren't ready to handle.
"The Patriot" is easily
the best of the Dean Devlin/Roland Emmerich collaboration. They've done
movies with epic scope before, but never one that was actually an epic.
And where their films generally run out of steam after an hour or so,
"The Patriot" keeps up its momentum for the entire two and three quarter
Gibson is good as
Benjamin Martin, and he's joined by Heath Ledger as his oldest boy, Gabriel,
Joely Richardson, Jason Isascs, Rene Auberjonois, and Tom Wilkinson.
The British, especially
one particularly brutal officer, are portrayed as very bad guys and, though
we don't know how historically accurate the film is, it seems they're
a bit caricature-like. Still, a story like this needs a bad guy, and in
this setting, it would have to be the Brits.
Despite the scale
of the movie (which brings to mind such other battle-filled epics as "Spartacus"),
the story is very human, and that's probably why it works so well. The
production values are also excellent, as are the special effects - except
for a cheesy looking decapitation during one battle.
The "Special Edition"
DVD is presented in widescreen, Dolby Digital, and the digitally mastered
audio and anamorphic video quality are terrific. The audio is particularly
spectacular during the battle scenes, and will give your sound system
a good workout - especially if you have a subwoofer.
Extras include commentary
from Emmerich/Devlin, a featurette on the special effects (showing how
they created a digital army), and another featurette about "The Art of
War." There's also "The True Patriots" featurette, conceptual art, deleted
scenes with optional commentary, photo galleries, DVD ROM capability,
talent files, and the trailer.
"The Patriot" was
a very pleasant surprise, coming as it does from a team that in the past
has had grand plans, but seen them turn into little more than popcorn
movies by the time they were finished.
The Patriot, from
Columbia Tristar Home Video
165 minutes, Widescreen (2.35:1), Dolby Digital
Starring Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isascs, Chris
Cooper, Tcheky Karyd, Rene Auberjonois, and Tom Wilkinson
Produced by Dean Devlin, Mark Gordon and Gary Levinson,
Written by Robert Rodat, Directed by Roland Emmerich
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think