The Last of the Mohicans appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. While much of the movie looked very good, concerns did arise.
My main complaint related to the dimness that affected the image. Nighttime shots ranged from murky to downright impenetrable. For instance, during a scene between Hawkeye and Cora about one-fourth of the way through the film, I could barely make out anything other than vague blobs. I fully suspect that director Michael Mann wanted the movie to be dark, but I think that he went too far. “Moody and atmospheric” would be fine, but a film during which it became quite difficult to discern the action for significant amounts of time turned into a chore to watch.
Although darkness was my main problem, a few other minor issues also arose. Occasional wide shots seemed a little soft; those elements never became terribly ill-defined, but they could appear tentative. Most of the movie showed good clarity and delineation, though, and I noticed no jaggies, shimmering or edged haloes. Source flaws also failed to distract during this clean transfer.
Mohicans stuck to rather natural palette, and these tones looked well-rendered. Colors were very true and realistic as they presented nicely lush and lovely hues throughout the film. I found the warmth of the colors to seem impressive, and they acted as the image’s highlight. Ultimately, much of the flick looked good, but the murkiness of so many shots – intentional or not – made this a problematic presentation.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundfield of Mohicans seemed mainly oriented toward the front of the spectrum but it provided a fairly engaging experience. The spread across the forward speakers was nicely-defined and accurate, and the mix placed sounds neatly within their appropriate locations.
Audio also blended together smoothly and effectively for most scenes. The surrounds kicked in some general reinforcement of the music and effects, but they weren’t as active as we’d expect from a more recent film. Nonetheless, I thought the soundfield provided a solidly involving experience.
Audio quality was usually fine. Dialogue generally appeared distinct and crisp, but definite signs of edginess crept in at times. The speech remained consistently intelligible, though, and wasn’t bad.
Effects appeared good. The various battle elements demonstrated nice clarity and heft, as they showed positive reproduction of the material. Music stayed clear and dynamic at all times, as the score offered nice range and positive depth. The soundtrack worked well enough to merit a solid “B+”.
In terms of extras, we launch with an audio commentary from director Michael Mann. He presents a running, screen-specific look at what inspired him to take on the project, story and the adaptation of the source, cast, characters and performances, historical elements and period details, sets and locations, music and cinematography, and a few other production notes.
Mann offers a pretty good mix of history and filmmaking info here, though he clearly favors the former; I’d estimate at least two-thirds of the track focuses on historical background. While I’d like a bit more about the creation of the movie, we still get enough to satisfy. Mann creates an informative chat here.
In addition to two trailers, the disc also comes with a featurette entitled The Making of The Last of the Mohicans. It runs 42 minutes, 42 seconds and includes notes from Mann, historian/Onandaga faithkeeper Oren Lyons, casting director Bonnie Timmerman, trainer/technical advisor Colonel David Webster, technical advisor Capt. Dale Dye, SPFX coordinator Tommy Hunter, production designer Wolf Kroeger, director of photography Dante Spinotti, composer Trevor Jones, and actors Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Maurice Roeves and Wes Studi. “Making” looks at the film’s roots and development, story/character topics, historical elements, cast, training and performances, Mann’s work during the shoot, military and period details, sets and locations, costumes, photography, and music, and some overall thoughts about the movie.
Despite a little repetition with the commentary, “Making” offers a quite satisfying show. I feared it’d be a simple “EPK” style piece of nothing, but it gets into reasonable detail. It’s great to see so many of the participants return – I sure didn’t expect Day-Lewis to show up – and that helps turn this into a fine program.
While I definitely think more of The Last of the Mohicans now than I did in 1992, I still don’t like the film. It’s a superficial and overwrought package of romantic nonsense that featured a series of dull and drab characters. Some good action sequences help redeem it somewhat, but I continue to dislike the movie. The Blu-ray offers erratic picture, generally good sound and two solid supplements. This is an acceptable Blu-ray for a movie that continues to leave me cold.