(Boaz Yakin - 2000)
Review by Leonard Norwitz
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures / Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (USA)
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Feature film: 1080p
Supplements: 480i & 1080p
English 5.1 Uncompressed (48kHz/24-bit)
French: DD 5.1
Spanish DD 2.0
English SDH, Spanish and French
• Commentary Track with the Director, Writer & Producer
• Commentary Track with Coaches Herman Boone & Bill Yoast
• Featurette [documentary]: Remember the Titans: An Inspirational Journey Behind the Scenes
• Deleted Scenes
• Movie Showcase
Standard Blu-ray case.
Release Date: September 4, 2007
Remember the Titans
An apt title, I thought, since what I remember most about this movie are the players, not the coaches. Considering that the coaches are played by Denzel Washington, in a performance he could have done in his sleep, and his opposite number in many ways, played by the typically reserved Will Patton, this statement might come as a surprise. For it's Wood Harris and Ryan Hurst as the lead black and white football players, Julius Campbell and Gerry Bertier, who are the heart and soul of this story. Harris was already 30 when he made this movie, and has since gone on to my personal critical acclaim in the part of Avon Barksdale in HBO's The Wire. Hurst was 24, but has not since been given material that lived up to the promise of Titans. By the way, neither of these actors is given credit on the DVD jacket or the original poster.
Many reviews of the movie are quick to point to its heart being in the right place, even if the issues addressed were dealt with a little too simplistically. I concur. For this reason, the players have to work all the harder to confront not only their prejudices, but those of their friends, families, and the town itself. The film has its share of clichés, but none reach the level of downright sappiness, even as players break out into song from time to time to underscore their conversion or unity of spirit.
Remember the Titans
I should note at the outset that the cut in this Blu-ray edition is the same as the original theatrical cut at about 113 minutes, not the later "Director's Cut" at 119 minutes. For many fans, this can only be a good thing.
The Score Card
The Movie : 7
The year is 1971. After leading his all white Virginia high school football team to 15 winning seasons, beloved and respected Coach Bill Yoast is replaced by Coach Herman Boone, a black outsider from North Carolina in the interests of affirmative action. So say the liner notes, more or less. The town is not happy. The school is not happy. The players are not happy. Neither coach is happy. But Boone realizes that the only way this situation has a snowball's chance is if he can successfully integrate the players. That he has any success at all is testament, not only to his skill and his ambition, but to the possibilities that are inherent in competitive team sports. And therein lies our tale. And to that extent, while making the presence of Disney felt at all times, the movie is a success.
Image : 9.0 (8.5/9.5)
The score of 9.0 indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs. The score in parentheses represents: first, a value for the image in absolute terms; and, second, how that image compares to what I believe is the current best we can expect in the theatre.
The Blu-ray image for Remember the Titans is filmlike, though the blacks seem to me to be pumped up more than I would have thought the theatrical image to be. This aside, the image is dense, noise-free and without distracting blemishes. Though perhaps not as excruciatingly detailed as more recent movies, the picture is not merely acceptable, but completely convincing as a movie image. Like live televised sports in HD, Remember the Titans is best seen on a big screen TV, preferably front projection.
Audio & Music : 8
Any sports movie has to have a convincing audio track for those crunching moments of game play and to convey the sense of a responsive crowd. My feeling is that the audio on this BD edition (even in a 2-channel mixdown) manages both, while permitting the pertinent dialog to be heard clearly enough amid the din. I've heard better, but I never felt it was wanting, given this was high school, for all its passion and enthusiasm, not pro ball.
Empathy : 8
Everything worked, with only a less than strong (I wouldn't go so far as to say, weak) screenplay.
Operations : 8
We are greeted, as usual, with Disney's endless front-loaded previews (1 point off). But once there, the menu is straightforward, simple, easy to use. Lots of chapters, but thumbnails come up only three at a time with recognizable scene titles.
Extras : 8
All the extras from the original DVD and last year's Director's Cut DVD are ported over to this BD edition, including the two running commentaries and the various featurettes.