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LEGENDS OF THE FALL

LEGENDS OF THE FALL ($30) has aspirations to be a western epic of sorts, but I found the film to be somewhat short on character and plot. The film is based upon a novella by Jim Harrison, which originally appeared in ESQUIRE MAGAZINE. The story seems to take a long time getting to where it is going, and it really doesn’t go all that far. When taken as a romance novel type melodrama, LEGENDS OF THE FALL plays a lot better than it does in its "sweeping epic" mode. LEGENDS OF THE FALL stars Brad Pitt as one of three brothers raised by their independent minded father, in the wilds of Montana, just prior to World War I.

Sir Anthony Hopkins portrays the retired military man who resents the US government for the atrocities perpetrated on the Indians. Aidan Quinn is the responsible eldest brother, who pales in the shadow of Pitt, the rebellious middle brother. Henry Thomas is the youngest brother, whose political conscience leads all three brothers into World War I. Julia Ormand is the beautiful young woman who becomes involved with each of the three brothers. Pitt’s character is intended as the emotional center of the film. Yet that character is so lacking in emotional depth, that most of the time he comes off as nothing more than a self centered bastard with a death wish. LEGENDS OF THE FALL certainly is entertaining if you are a fan of romance novels and soap operas. The story has enough of the basic ingredients: romance, sex, murder, suicide and revenge. It’s when the film tries to paint these elements on an epic canvas that it comes up short.

Columbia TriStar Home Video has done a spectacular job with their DVD release of LEGENDS OF THE FALL. The Letterboxed transfer presents the film in its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and the transfer is quite beautiful. John Toll won an Academy Award for his cinematography on LEGENDS OF THE FALL, and the transfer does his work justice. The image is richly detailed and the colors are beautifully rendered on this DVD. Digital artifacts were noticeable when the image faded to black, but usually they were hard to discern on this DVD.

The digitally encoded Dolby Surround soundtrack has a very good mix. There is subtle shading during intimate moments, while rocking bass and directional effects exploded during the World War I sequence. The DVD audio also includes a Dolby Digital soundtrack, in addition to Spanish and French language tracks. Subtitles are available in Spanish and Korean.

 
LEGENDS OF THE FALL 



ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 

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DVD reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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