Watched The Last of the Mohicans last night, first time I have seen it in, oh, so many years! Like so many films these days, curiously the Blu-ray is a different cut from what was originally seen in cinemas. Maybe this is the final, definitive version. If that even means anything these days. I’m sure some of this films die-hard fans prefer, and still demand, the release of its original version in HD, even though far as I can tell the changes are minor (albeit I am no expert here, its been so many years since I saw it). Reminds me how lucky I am that Blade Runner has all its cuts on its most recent Blu-ray release. People get attached to their films, its an emotional connection and particularly to that version that they know- alterations can turn it into something else, and even some change relatively minor to some can seem major to fans. For myself, I very rarely watch Star Wars anymore because the version available is clearly not the film I fell in love with back in 1978- it feels wrong, somehow. The CGI stuff just irritates me, pulls me out of the movie, to the extent that I just don’t feel I can watch it anymore. I had hoped that now that Disney owns Lucasfilm and the movies that there might be a change of heart there, if only generated by a desire to make some money, but apparently Fox’s involvement in the first film has nixed that possibility. Maybe one day. The mighty dollar always seems to find a way, and I’m fairly certain that it will eventually happen.
So anyway, Mohicans– it remains a fine film, an old-fashioned (rooted in reality, no CGI or over-the-top action sequences) adventure movie. I noticed, watching it this time after so many years, how much the score pummels you into feeling what it thinks you should be feeling. Its a good score, which curiously involved a second composer after the first (Trevor Jones) had to move on to another scoring commitment, but its certainly not what I would call subtle. It works though and is a big part of the films success- there’s some achingly beautiful music. Performances are very good, and I was surprised to spot the great Pete Postlewaite in a very minor role.
I seem to recall fans of Mohicans had issues with the colour timing of this Blu-ray when it came out. It looked fine to me- yes its dark, but I assume that’s a nod towards the natural/ ‘real’ lighting (candle/firelight) of the time in which it is set, such as that of Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. I rather liked how it looks but again, I guess you can get attached to what you know. Fans of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly are getting upset with that films remaster (recently released on Blu-ray here)- now I love that film and I’m wary now of watching it. Its just indicative of how films can change these days. Alternate cuts, revised colour-timing… films are not necessarily what we remember. Surely there is an argument that they should be left alone, as if locked in stone? God knows there are enough reboots and remakes as it is without tinkering with the originals.