Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Braveheart

imdb page

I consider Braveheart to be the precursor to modern era epic battle movies such as Gladiator, Troy, Alexander, and Lord of the Rings. It was filmed and shown before CGI, or computer-generated imagery became common in movie production.

Due to this, I had tempered my expectations for this film, as I knew the battle scenes were developed without the aid of computers or graphics. Whatever limitations it would have in terms of special effects, I expect it to be made up by a much better story and character development. But it ultimately let me down.

Mel Gibson stars and directs in this movie, which in 1996, won Best Picture and a Best Director award for Gibson. I guess it must have been a very weak year for movies at the time, as I don't get how this won. It's mildly entertaining, and at times even fun to watch, but horribly overrated.

Gibson portrays William Wallace, a thirteenth century Scottish bandit/rebel who fights to free his people from the evil English. This is the film's fatal flaw as I don't find Mel Gibson at all convincing in this role. Wallace is supposed to be this fearsome brute of a man, savage and courageous at the same time. And I just never see these qualities in his acting.

Another complaint of mine is how this movie appears to advertise itself as being based on historical events, yet is terribly inaccurate. I understand that the storytelling needs to be exaggerated and some new parts made up to add entertainment value. But in this case, Braveheart went too far off course.

Even while watching this, I couldn't believe how saintly Wallace was portrayed, I'm pretty sure the real-life figure wasn't at all like this. I'm not even sure if his wife existed, or if the Scots were the good guys, or if King Edward Longshanks was that ruthless. Once you start to doubt whether these events actually happened or not, that's when things start slipping.

Despite these complaints, I confess I found it entertaining at times. Particularly all the scenes with King Edward (Longshanks). I enjoyed the tough guy, kick-ass King character. You can feel his power and ruthlessness. To illustrate just how bad ass this elderly king is, in one of the scenes, he throws his son's male lover out a tower window, and effortlessly beats up his son when he tries to fight back.

The battle scenes were ok but lacked emotion. At times it felt like these were actors going through the motions of fighting. There were also some moments which felt too contrived, such as when the Irish and Scots changed sides. The ending where Wallace seemed to get the upperhand of the King even in defeat was just too precious and made me groan out loud.

This would have been a pretty good lighthearted action flick. It just took itself too seriously.

Rating: 2/5 * *
Overrated Best Picture

4 comments:

rmacapobre said...

this film is one of my favorites.

my favorite scene was when william was talking with the french queen/emissary and he spoke in french .. in fact one of the reasons why im studying it. i was fascinated with william that he was able to speak in french.

i would have rated this movie a higher score

rmacapobre said...

i thought that it was insanely funny, another favorite scene when the prince' boyfriend got thrown off the tower. made me laugh anyway ... ".. trained in the arts of war" pala ah ito sa yo .. then hinulog ni king longshanks

rob said...

Longshanks was my favorite character. A good and noble king. I loved the getting thrown off the tower scene - so much for that guy's training in the arts of war, hehehe. The king would probably be able to beat up Wallace himself in a street fight.

CC said...

I disagree on the rating. Perhaps a 4/5. This is a good movie by any standards. I think this will be a classic in the years to come.