Now with the cherry on top!!!!
Frankland S. Strickland | Memphis, Tennessee | 05/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My review for the original version of "The Patriot" can be found under its respective title. This review is merely for those who may already own the movie and are wondering if it's worth buying a second time around for an additional 10 minutes of footage. For those who have never bought this title, then I can say emphatically to choose this version. For those who already own it . . . well . . . I suppose you'll need to read on and decide.
First of all (thank goodness), the extra 10 minutes of footage are not merely tacked on as "Deleted Scenes" at the end of the movie. In fact, it would be nearly impossible to do so since some of the extra footage is not found in separate scenes, but rather additional footage of already established scenes. In these situations, the extra footage may be as long as an additional minute or as little as a few seconds. How do I know? Well, for one, I'm a high school history teacher and show it every year during our unit on the Revolutionary War. Given that I teach five classes a day of the same subject, I'd say I've gotten quite familiar with the movie.
Now, one particular extension of a scene is quite riveting in that Benjamin Martin's youngest children get their first taste of the horrors of war prior to the death of Thomas. This comes just before the evening when Gabriel stumbles home after being wounded in a nearby battle. Something (the viewer is unaware) catches the attention of the Martin children and they stride over to a nearby creek/river to investigate. What they discover are the bodies of several soldiers floating downstream. Martin then comes over and ushers the children back into the house.
Another noteworthy scene extension is found in the "ambush" scene following the death of Thomas--you know, the famous "aim small, miss small" scene. Well, in the original edited version of the film we soon observe the infamous Tavington interviewing a dying witness of the event in a battlefield tent hospital. It is in this scene that the witness compares who we know as Benjamin Martin to a ghost. The problem is, as far as we knew, there were no survivors. We had to accept at face value that perhaps one must have escaped. In this version of the film we now know the facts! You see, after Martin does his bloody hack job on a would-be escapee, the camera pans in on one particular Redcoat as he lays wounded in a nearby swamp. We then get a peek at what he sees through his one dying eye: an eerie glimpse of Martin flitting through the dim light of the heavily-wooded forest. Then the camera focuses again on the bloodied face of this dying witness. It is not long thereafter that we discover that this poor chap actually survives (he's the one in the hospital tent).
One particular scene left off the original is the burial of Thomas. Although the scene is short, it nevertheless reiterates that Benjamin Martin has a tender, loving side (remember, a few scenes before he was hacking and slashing away at every Redcoat in sight).
Of particular note are the additional scenes involving Cornwallis and Tavington. Here, the viewer witnesses Cornwallis scolding Tavington in the presence of other officers --- the viewer should be delighted to see the arrogant and villainous Tavington being humiliated in front of others. In the scene, Cornwallis sarcastically remarks that Tavington has earned himself the nickname "The Butcher." This scene is important in that it helps establish and underscore the motive Tavington has for eliminating "The Ghost," Benjamin Martin. Further dialogue between the two is found later in the movie as well.
In short, the additional footage is not just added fluff. Indeed, the additional footage adds substance to every scene where it was originally found. Now, if the original version is a perennial favorite of yours, then by all means go out and get it. If, on the other hand, you may only watch it once in a blue moon then you could probably live without it."
This is a masterpiece of fiction...
Adrian A. Shelton | Austin, TX USA | 09/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, I don't know why all the negative criticism about this movie. First, let me tell folks that this is a movie you should look at without expecting it to totally change your life or your outlook on it. It is not a history lesson; it is based loosely on some facts, but basically it is fiction with the backdrop of the American Revolution, and how great that was, and so is this movie. Mel Gibson was excellent. There were other people in the movie who also played their roles superbly. It is a brutally real story of war in people's own backyards and towns, and focuses on one man's struggle to protect his family from the horrors of the war around them. Whoever says this movie blows has expected way too much from a movie like this, and expects a movie to just dramatically alter their feelings. Don't listen to the criticism; see the movie for yourselves, and then decide based on the storyline itself, not its historical inaccuracies. And all props go out to director Roland Emmerich!"
Great Blu-Ray Title
VFT | 09/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As the dreaded format war continues (Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD) I find myself on the Blu-Ray side of the fence because of my purchase of the PS3. I'll be honest, without having purchased the PS3 I would not have adopted either format and would have been content with standard DVD movies.
But now that I have a Blu-Ray player and a 1080p HDTV, I have been hooked and want more. I have been careful in my selection of Blu-Ray Titles, picking up only movies I have yet to watch or great movies that I want to see in HD.
The Patriot did not disappoint. The colors of the movie jump out of the screen and when you can see the fibers flying off of the British soldiers uniforms into the wind as they wait for battle, you know you are watching a great HiDef movie.
Most of the extended scenes do not add to the story and you will understand why they were cut out in the first place.
I've been disappointed in some of the Blu-ray discs I've purchased in the past month, especially when my purchases are the second or third time I will have bought that movie. (VHS, DVD, DVD SE/CE/DC)
But I must say that The Patriot is well worth seeing on Blu-Ray."
Brutal, emotional, lovely couldashouldabeen brilliant film
Mercy Bell | 09/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'll risk getting raised eyebrows from fellow cinephiles and history buffs, but "The Patriot" is one of my favorite films. It's a film that could have been a brilliant, go-down-in-history epic if not for confining itself to studio-ism, clichés, and historical inaccuracies where it could have done more.
The story of a South Carolinian family during the infamously violent and vicious Southern campaign of the American Revolution, the film is the saga of the Martin family caught in the midst of a historical shift. The film takes complicated themes that were played out constantly during the war but are often hard to grasp or forgotten today and vividly brings them to life: neighbors killing each other, families torn apart, atrocities, the use of militia, and the cost of a war that is played out on the homefront. The violence is used to numb and shock you. In the film's goriest scene (and one of it's best) we see Benjamin (Gibson) and his two young sons chase down a British squadron after tragedy befalls his family. With pure hatred and barbarity, and using the advantage of a forest he and his sons know as their home and which the British find only a foreign jungle, he slays and reduces the squadron to one man. He chases down a soldier and hacks him to pieces in a creek as his sons watch in horror. It's the sight of a grieving man trying to bring order back into his life with tactics he and militiamen around the South of both loyalties were adept at, and were readily used to wage war upon each other. This is what the film does masterfully, it renders an image of savage violence and atrocity inflicted upon a colonial population and how it affected the individuals involved.
The fact that they kill off as many characters as they do is risky, but true to the brutality and unpredictability of life and history, and gives the film the air of a true tragedy because of how much we become attached to these people (which is one reason why I have a problem with the ending). Unfortunately, the acts committed, like the film's two most emotionally gut-wrenching scenes of the burning of a church with people inside and the skirmish that follows (all breathtakingly photographed against a slate gray sky and beautiful autumn colors which only heightens the tragedy of it all), plus the massacres, torchings, and killing of prisoners, are shown as a strictly British versus American problem, where in reality the colonists were by and large the ones fighting each other in this manner. It was portrayed as far too black-and-white a dilemma, where the actual history would have been more complex and interesting. I find this frusterating because the film had already taken so many chances, such as having young boys deeply involved in the violence, harsh and tainted characters, that it would have been easy to have gone one step further. And they got the British uniforms wrong to boot. At least we get Jason Isaac's riveting and seductive performance as Tavington.
The drama of the film, where it may contain some stock scenarios, mediocre dialogue and characters, is equally witty, poignant, and effective thanks to the acting and directing. The fight scenes never bore. There are many moments where the camera finds the perfect place to watch Gabriel, without an ounce of treacle, wave goodbye to his fiancee (Heath Ledger turns in a lovely, sensitive, and entirely convincing performance as a young revolutionary/big brother but without acting like a starched shirt collar); to watch Benjamin bark an order or hug his daughter (Mel plays a great daddy), for Tavington to say something piercing, for someone to die. It's moments like these that create utterly normal, real people in the midst of turmoil.
This film brought me to another time and place amidst the trials of a breathing, aching family. It recreates the feel of the time so tangibly, it picks you up and plunks you right into the middle of a humid, violent place where tensions are heightened and you're constantly looking over your back to see if your family is safe, to check your loyalties. Despite some unfortunate writing - the useless aunt, whitewashing over slavery, the whole last 20 minutes of mindless explosions and revisionism which are a weird and painful shift from the brutal,visceral tone of the rest of the film - you get to know a lot of the characters on a very personal level and we begin to understand the fine lines between freedom and loyalty, taking risks or managing the threat, priorities and principles. When Benjamin doesn't want to support a war because of his family or see his sons go to fight you feel how desperate he is,but you also understand Gabriel's youthful idealism and urgency and his love for his wife (although she's fairly annoying) and his cause. We see how feelings for family, country, one's past, and enemy intermingle and how it becomes one big tangled confused smashed gory mess.
The film is probably one of the best looking films out there, with stunning cinematography showcasing gorgeous Spanish moss, multicolored skies, mist, twilight, swamps. Cinematography - and production design - use the natural landscape and the period as a living part of the film's setting and just pulls us into it, help create that world, and serve to enhance much of the dramatic material. Top it off with John Williams' score which evokes the Revolution and the era and the human drama of it all.
Although "The Patriot" isn't as masterful as it easily could have been, it's still a film worth seeing for everything it does well, which is a lot. Despite problems, this is how history should be treated, as a vivid, emotional, palpable story - a story - about people that is as thrilling and gut-wrenching as it was, and not merely a dry academic lesson. I would love to see other films pick up where "The Patriot" left off, take the initiative to continue and build upon what this film did so beautifully and to succeed where it didn't. Film can treat us to a different and similar world where we can attempt to understand the thrills and the woes, the joys and sorrows of the time and fate of those who lived their lives out before us.