One of Ridley Scott's most wrong-headed films, this one (like all of his movies) looks fabulous and sounds utterly ridiculous, almost from the beginning. His first mistake was casting the wonderful Gerard Depardieu as Colu... more »mbus and forcing him to speak English, which Depardieu does with decided difficulty. After spending way too much time on the ocean with Columbus's three ships (you kind of wish they would sail over the edge of the world), they arrive in the West Indies, only to turn around and sail back. The rest of the film deals with the not particularly comprehensible politics of Columbus's venture, which leads to the violent slaughter of trusting natives by a band of cardboard villains. Depardieu, who radiates sympathy, looks like he's at sea with this material. --Marshall Fine« less
"Director Ridley Scott brings Columbus to life in this impressive film which, when released in 1992, coincided with the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's discovery of new lands surrounding two unknown continents. For this reason alone, the film deserves to be treasured by viewers all over the world. The subject of Conquest Of Paradise, of course is Christopher Columbus, played wonderfully by French actor Gerard Depardieu (Green Card, Cyrano De Bergerac). Depardieu brings a lot to the role, and creates a realistic portrayal of Columbus. I can't see how any other actor, could bring more to the role, than Depardieu did. In terms of casting, Depardieu's a perfect fit for this role, he resembles Columbus, has a nice smile and sort of a middle age appearance to him, with his long shaggy hair. The rest of the cast shines, and engages the audience. Armand Assante, Sigourney Weaver and Michael Wincott are among some of the film's cast members, and the performances they give are solid. The film succeeds on four of its noteworthy merits. The first one would be Scott's directing, and his reputation for incorporating vivid & gorgeous images into all his films, the second one would be its historical accuracy, the third one would be its score, composed by Vangelis, who can create gorgeous paintings like Scott can, but only to the music he makes. Finally the fourth one would be the casting of Depardieu, who can add spice to basically any film that he stars in.
When this film was released most critics were too analytical about it, and the film didn't draw in big crowds. Now, how films like this get lost amongst the trees, is really mysterious. I think this film's a classic, and maybe others will once this film gets its deserved exposure. The film is full of defining Columbus scenes, it's like traveling back in time, if you haven't seen this film, please do so.
This is the 1492 Definitive Edition release out of Brazil. It is region 0 (ALL). It is the first widescreen release available in the U.S. The quality is very good and it worth to pay a little more because it is widescreen."
Really great film deserves better DVD treatment than this!
Barry | USA | 07/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I actually own this unofficial DVD release of Ridley Scott's historical masterpiece, 1492: Conquest Of Paradise. The movie itself is a great film, with all you could ask for from any above average historical movie. Depardieu is very convincing as Columbus if you can get by him being French and all. He does a beautiful job with the part, bringing Columbus to life and it totally makes for an excellent character study, his character fascinates the viewer. The score by Vangelis is top notch, and it fits in well with the film. The music actually enhances many of the films key scenes effectiveness. It makes those scenes seem more meaningful because of Vangelis score. Now onto Ridley Scott, this is some of his best work. Now let me discuss this DVD, which was originally on the market overseas (in Korea or Hong Kong). This DVD is bad, the picture quality, why bearable to a degree, is awful and is below the quality of even laserdisc. The transfer is not nearly as bad as the audio presentation. The audio is horrible, and sounds muffled at times. If you can't wait for a possible SE release soon by Paramount, don't go with this, just wait for them to release it. Yes, this DVD is that bad. Buy the Widescreen VHS version instead."
A Great Film Overlooked
Shaun Williams | Albuquerque, NM United States | 08/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The greatest mistake that could be made in 1492 was avoided. Columbus is not portrayed as a simple, lovable hero on a heroic quest in the land of the heathens. This alone makes for an interesting movie, but it is a masterfully crafted journey populated with well-developed characters.The screenwriter has the intelligence to stage a large part of the movie in Spain so the viewer can see the European civilization that Columbus brings with him. He comes to the New World from a land of Byzantine beauracracies, heretic burnings, constant war, and overpopulation. Columbus (despite a French accent) plays his role brilliantly. He is an educated, naturally curious man, who is charismatic and politically adept. But he is also impulsive and has a quick temper. Though he thinks differently than most Europeans, he is still a person of his times. This film has sunk into obscurity because of its lack of a simplified happy ending but it is still one of Ridley Scott's best. The cinematography, Vangelis' music, and the plot are all wonderful. I hope that one day this film will be resurrected."
Stunning film, historically accurate
Barry | 07/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a must-see cinematic landmark of the 90's. There will NEVER be another Columbus movie to top this one. Gerard Depardieu is perfect as Columbus, his French accent helps illustrate the man's foreigner-out-of-placeness in mediaeval Spain. Depardieu's portrayal is very deep and thought-provoking, his eyes say it all. Every word is full of meaning, there is a sad sincerity to Columbus' character here; his intentions in the New World were beautiful, however, due to peer-pressure in the Spanish courts, he is too weak to stop the Conquistadors from marauding this fragile Paradise. Depardieu's character really shows how much Columbus was more of an explorer than a governor, but never got around to fulfilling his dreams due to his short-sightedness and stubborn disposition in relation to the Spanish nobles and those in power. The film is extraordinarily accurate in historical details, from the setting in the time of the harsh Inquisition, the costumes, and the characters in the film. Sanchez (Armand Assante), to history known as Gabriel Sanchez, grand treasurer of the crown of Aragon, was instrumental in convincing Queen Isabella (Sigourney Weaver) to finance the quest. Columbus actually sent him the very first account of his First Voyage to the West Indies on the way back home. Pinzon (Tcheky Karyo) was also the captain of the Pinta, as depicted in the film, and his ties to Santangel in the film are accurate (due to a debt he owed to the Crown through which Santangel was the financial mediator). The role of Adrian de Moxica (portrayed by Michael Wincott in grand form), Columbus' political nemesis during most of the movie on the island of Hispaniola, was also accurate. This movie's cinematography and the wonderful soundtrack by Vangelis are gorgeous and haunting, frightening at times. This is a great film, and ranks with "Blade Runner", "Alien", "Thelma&Louise", and "Gladiator" as Ridley Scott's best. Go to your local video shop and rent it right now."
Ridley Scott's best film
James Kielland | Montezuma, Costa Rica | 05/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ridley Scott, best known for such films as Gladiator and Black Hawk Down, is well-known for creating movies that are visually stunning. A trained graphic artist, Scott has an understanding of composition, color, and lighting that few other directors come close to mastering. What Spielberg does for pacing and narration of stories that can be followed by all, Scott does for visual magic. And 1492 is arguably Scott's best work.Unfortunately, this movie did not receive the popular nor critical attention that it so rightly deserved. There are many possible reasons for this: at the time it was introduced (1992) there was another Columbus film that was really bad. I'm sure many of the negative reviews of that film didn't help ticket sales for this one. Secondly, the political correctness of the time had cast Columbus into an unfortunately negative image. The Columbus in this movie is neither the hero nor the villian extremists wish to make him out to be, so the film does tend to alienate both extremes in its attempt to portray Columbus as that one kind of historical figure many people seem to have a problem with: a human being.The film itself does have its flaws. The script is a little awkward, as is the pacing. But on the visual and technical side, this is a film that powerfully transports the viewer to that time. Every scene seems obsessed over. The costumes, the position of the sun, the light, even the food. You can feel the cold, the heat, the dust.Even the music is wonderful. Most of it is electronic based, composed by Vangelis who is best known for his theme to the movie Chariots of Fire. Some have complained this is a bad mismatch, as electronic music wasn't around in Columbus' era. However, neither were contemporary orchestras that drive the scores to many historical movies. While at first unusual the soundtrack for this movie is a perfect fit, serving to powerfully infuse Scott's brilliant visual composition with just the right emotional vibration.Gerard Depardieu would not have been my first choice for this role, but his performance is certainly very impressive. While it's not the Columbus I was expecting, it is a wonderfully human performance. Many have griped about Depardieu's accent, claiming he's difficult to understand and feeling it's not sufficiently Italian. However, keep in mind that Columbus was from Genoa (and remember where that is). As all of the Spanish characters are speaking English in this film, Depardieu's French accent stands out from everyone else in the same way that Columbus' accent most likely stood out from his Spanish companions 500 years ago. What some people seem rather bothered by I actually found rather fitting.So what do we have here? A movie that's visually stunning and a technical masterpiece, but a little awkward in the script. If you've been impressed by the visual aspects of other Ridley Scott films, notably Legend, Blade Runner, and Black Hawk Down, be sure to see this. Put aside your prejudices, forget historical authenticity, and simply enjoy one of the most visually impressive films available.(I was originally going to give this movie 4 stars in recognition that it does have some flaws. However, the visual qualities of the film so make up for the shortcomings that I had to move it up to 5.)"