Date: Sun 11 Jun 1995 - 14:26:23 EEST
I went to this film knowing little about William Wallace, and I fear I left it knowing less.
Review: Braveheart, with some spoilers.
On the enthusiastic recommendation of my good friend Dave Cheng, I took Su and friends Penelope and Mark along to BRAVEHEAT a few nights ago. Sorry Dave, but only Interview with a Vampire ranks lower than Braveheart as the worst film I have seen this year.
Leaving the viewer in no doubt who is responsible - the end titles read in turn: MEL GIBSON / A MEL GIBSON FILM / DIRECTED BY MEL GIBSON - Braveheart is a sprawling mess of a masturbatory epic, more a homage to the star by its director than a tribute to William Wallace's struggle for Scottish independence. Mad Mel leaves no cimematic cliche unturned to show us what an auteur he is: we were waiting for the obligatory helicopter shot of Mel on top of a mountain brandishing sword, and, stuff my sporran, we weren't disappointed! You'll also get arty shots of Mel and his bonny bride celebrating their wedding night in the nuddy - *outside* (brrr!), and an execution scene at the end where I think Mel was confused as to whether he was playing the lead in 'Braveheart' or 'King of Kings'. Few things left me surprised: when nancy-boy Prince Edward's chum Lord Bottoms(!) stands looking out the window at the start of a scene, there was no doubt in my mind that evil king Patrick McGoohan would eventually chuck him out, and Mel's gratuitous overuse of slow-mo telescoped the action at several key points.
Mel himself is just playing Mad Max again, with the same wig. This time though, the Director/Creator/Star's eyes are disconcertingly blue, enhanced, I suspect, by painstaking digital enhancement (pity the poor bastard who had to colour each frame!). While Mel struggles manfully to maintain a bogus-Scotsman accent throughout the film's inordinate 3+ hour duration, his ludicrously-improbable love interest in the second half can't seem to decide if she's meant to
be French, Californian, or just plain speech impaired. (With this character, Mel also shows us that all a woman really needs for fulfilment is a good, decent shagging).
Having said all this, I still recommend all readers of the Glorantha Digest go see this film. Why? Well, even if they bear almost no resemblance to the historical events, the hugely enjoyable battle scenes are spectacularly staged, rollickingly gruesome, and tightly edited; awesome to watch. As Dave said, the cavalry charge scene really makes you feel what it would be like to be facing one.
It's a shame that much of the rest of the movie had to be overblown
See this film on a big screen for the battle scenes alone (Mel's never met a limb he couldn't sever), but if you miss the first hour no big deal.
On the MOB scale, I give it about a 4. Grab William Wallace's sword, trim the first hour to a perfunctory 10 minutes of flashback, totally hack out the ridiculous princess sub-plot, and remove some of the more wanky Mel-worship, and you'd end up with a film closer to an 8. Dull his eyes, and I might even give it a 9.
P.S. With lashings of gore and raunch, a much better historical epic around at the moment is a French movie 'Queen Margot'. Highly recommended!
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