Last of the Mohicans (DTS)/A-,B
Fox/1992/117/ANA 2.35

     This lush adaptation of Last of the Mohicans follows the screenplay for the 1936 film very closely. Working in a rich color palette in the hills of North Carolina, the production value of this Mohicans features extensive attention to period detail, as well as sumptuous and exciting Widescreen photography.
        The newest treatment of Hawkeye and his Mohican comrades focuses more closely on the dynamics of an erupting love between the longhaired woodsman and the eldest daughter of Colonel Munro, commander of the besieged Fort William Henry, than the earlier leaner version did. Nevertheless, director Michael Mann packs the screen with an abundance of martial action, some of it casually graphic in its depiction. 

Daniel Day-Lewis on target as Hawkeye. ©Fox

     The chase scenes are clearly the most successful. Mann's grasp of movement through the woods and mountains is nothing short of spectacular. The cutting of these scenes builds the action to an accelerating coda, echoed by the strong Scottish strains of the pounding musical score by Trevor Jones.
       Daniel Day Lewis gives Hawkeye a modern and natural interpretation, which well suits Mann’s take on the Fennimore Cooper classic hero. Madelaine Stowe is a lovely Cora Munro and she and Lewis play well together. The first couple of times I watched Last of the Mohicans, I questioned the sudden eruption of passion between Hawkeye and Cora Munro. This time out I could taste the sensuality between these two appealing actors. The Last of the Mohicans gets better with each viewing. The romance is hotter, the action more furious, and the stunning achievement of director Mann more evident. Two hours in the company of Hawkeye, Cora, Magua and company moved with the grace of a deer fleeing through the forest.
       The traditional villain in the piece, Magua, is given an outstanding turn by Wes Studi. Studi seethes venom consistently and practically steals every scene in which he appears. Indian activist Russell Means handles the role of Chingachgook with strength and dignity, and although his lines are limited, his confidence of bearing speaks powerfully and eloquently.
       Oddly, I found the major battle sequences lacking in the power they should have generated. The editing did not seem to provide a central point of view through which the action could expand. The night photography was marginal, at best, in the theaters, and a number of these dimly lit scenes did not transfer well onto video.
       This is the second incarnation of Last of the Mohicans on DVD. This time out the transfer is anamorphic and DTS Surround is offered along with Dolby Digital. Is there more detail in the anamorphic transfer? Yes. Still, it's not as sharp as one would hope for. A slight softness injects itself into scenes where utmost clarity is called for. Low light segments offer a resolution challenge to begin with, and there are plenty of dark scenes to deal with in Last of the Mohicans.  Color is bright and rich in the day scenes. The DTS Surround is consistently directional and exciting. The mix of music and ambience marries perfectly with the images. Last of the Mohicans really packs bass firepower into this DVD presentation. Some of the rifle shots are almost penetrating enough to wound an innocent home theater viewer.



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