Re: LOTM review

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Posted by Neuromancer on December 08, 1997 at 16:47:09:

In Reply to: Re: LOTM review posted by Gretchen on December 08, 1997 at 13:09:16:

Here is the body of the review (sorry for not linking it, I can't remember the URL)

Newsgroups: Path: cbnewsj!ecl From: sun!megatest!jao (John Oswalt) Subject: REVIEW: THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS Reply-To: sun!megatest!jao (John Oswalt) Organization: ? Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1992 13:42:20 GMT Approved: Message-ID: Followup-To: rec.arts.movies Summary: r.a.m.r. #01549 Keywords: author=Oswalt Sender: (Evelyn C. Leeper) Lines: 75 THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS A film review by John Oswalt Copyright 1992 John Oswalt 2 hours, R (violence) Writers: Michael Mann, Christopher Crowe Director: Michael Mann Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Wes Studi, Steven Waddington, Jodhi May, Eric Schweig About twenty years ago I saw the Masterpiece Theatre series "The Last Of The Mohicans," and loved it. I went straight to the library and read the book. The current movie, which is a much looser adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper's 1826 novel, suffers in comparison both to the book, and to the PBS series. (Or at least to my twenty-year-old memories of them.) However, THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, 1992 style, is not all that bad. It is generally entertaining, and contains some beautiful scenery. After the movie, my companion, having watched two hours of action set in verdant forests with waterfalls at every turn, figured that the movie was filmed in Hawaii or New Zealand. Actually, it was filmed in North Carolina. It is good to know that there are such beautiful places left. I am afraid that the West Coaster's view of the East coast is of factories, endless cities, and acid rain denuded forests. I have a lot of quibbles with the movie. The plot is very predictable. When you see a party of red-coats marching through a clearing in the forest, you just know that some Indians are going to massacre them, as the European's ritualized formation fighting is hopelessly outclassed by the guerrilla tactics of the Indians. Just as certainly, you know that the main characters will miraculously be spared. I found myself frowning at a lot of the dialogue, which is full of snappy one-liner comebacks common in today's films. This is fine for Dirty Harry, but is the antithesis of Cooper's flowery, wordy style. (The San Jose Mercury News reviewer, Glenn Lovell, whom I generally respect, approved of this change. I suspect that does not have the fond memories that I have of James Fenimore Cooper's books. He describes the book THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS as one which "many of us waded through in high school and college.") It is amazing how clean the main characters' clothes and hair remain considering all that they go through. Natty Bumppo always has a gun ready when he needs it, but we never see him reload. The women in the movie don't do much besides cower and swoon. The fight scenes, of which there are plenty, are toned down to preserve the R rating. There are scenes in which dozens of people get tomahawked, but no guts and very little blood is shown. Most of the movie takes place sneaking around in the dense forest, or at night, or both, and things are a little hard to see. This brings up a pet peeve of mine. I have seen many Technicolor movies made in the 30's, 40's, and 50's, and the color in them is far superior to that in the movies made today. I recently saw a restored print of LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, which was made in Technicolor in 1945. When I compare that movie, which contains a lot of upstate New York scenery, with this one, I just shake my head. Why, Hollywood, did you abandon a process which produces such beautiful true-to-life colors, for the washed-out look of today? With all the millions spent on movie production you would think that they could use good film. However, these are all only quibbles, and considering the current movie-making conventions and context, THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS is pretty good. It even overcomes a few trends. It is an action picture with no car chases. Despite PC, the main bad guy is an American Indian. There are no product placements. I rate it 7 on the 0-10 scale, or a high 0 on the Mark Leeper -4 to +4 scale. John Oswalt (..!sun!megatest!jao)

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