HOME   News   Reviews   Adv Search   Features   My DVD   About   Apps   Stats     Search:
  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Czech: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Hungarian: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, Arabic, English - Hearing Impaired, Bulgarian
  Extras
  • 6 Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary
  • 2 Featurette
  • Animated menus
  • Behind the scenes footage

Remember the Titans

Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 109 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Ah... the good old American football film. Is there no bigger bastion of cliché and predicability in all the many genres of modern cinema? Of course not. But don’t get me wrong - cliché and predicability are not always a bad thing. OK, OK, they are always a bad thing, and that is why I have trouble admitting that, although I’m not much of a sports fan, I am a bit of a sucker for the good-old football film. There I’ve said it. I mean OK, the plot never changes: a team is thrown together under extraordinary circumstances, with the players of said team having to overcome some internal machinations or other if they are to heal as a unit and go on to win the big one. Cliché? Yes. Predictable? Definitely. But somehow the formula works, and following such a team through their many trials - cheering their wins and lamenting their losses - inexplicably generates such excitement that you find yourself, despite knowing full well what the outcome will be, perched on the edge of your seat for the final game. OK, well, maybe it’s just me...

In the last few years we’ve seen a spate of football films. The best of the recent batch was Oliver Stone’s warts–and-all portrayal of the NFL as a collection of bitching millionaires – the brilliant Any Given Sunday. In contrast, The Replacements let us laugh at a group of quirky odd-balls thrown together as an NFL replacement team. Remember the Titans gives us the politically correct, ultra-sanitised Disney-family version. But somehow, I don’t know if it’s probably that formula thing again, but the film transcends its Disney moniker, and the mandatory schmaltz drizzled all over it, to remain an equally entertaining member of the genre.

Alexandria, Virginia 1971, and the state school board forces the local black and white high schools to integrate, combining them into a single school – the newly formed ‘T.C. Williams’. Moreover, in a decision that shakes the town to its very core, Coach Yoast (Will Patton) - the highly respected and highly successful white incumbent - is overlooked to coach the school’s ‘Titans’ football team in favour of the new black coach in town. The coach in question, one Herman Boone (Denzel Washington), is initially hesitant to take another man’s position based solely on race. However, Boone is eventually convinced by the local black community to accept the position. Concerned that his old players will throw away their futures by not playing under Boone, Yoast grudgingly agrees to stay on as assistant coach and defensive coordinator.

With the school year almost upon them, it’s time for the new mixed team to take shape, and coach Boone immediately sets to work to try and build teamwork and racial harmony. To do this he relies on the age-old approach of ‘shared adversity’, subjecting the team to a gruelling, pre-season training camp. Of course the white kids initially hate the black kids, and vice-versa, but over the course of two exhausting weeks, many of the players become fast friends. Even Boone and Yoast begin to develop a bond. But their newfound spirit of racial understanding and tolerance is temporarily derailed when the team returns to the real world and the school year-proper begins. Can the new Titans overcome adversity and go on to win the state championships? Well gee-gosh-darn-it, I sure do hope so...

With a storyline so incredulous, you’d probably gag if all this wasn’t based on real-life events. Luckily it’s the performances, delivered by the film’s talented cast, that lift the film above its Disney pedigree. As usual, Denzel Washington lives and breathes the lead role, infusing Boone with a self-assured dignity, and delivering the film’s big speeches from the heart. Washington’s performance is more than matched by Will Patton as the subordinate coach who puts aside his own career for the good of the team. These two are ably supported by a great cast of young hopefuls, most notably Wood Harris and Ryan Hurst as the unofficial representatives of their respective races, and Kip Pardue as the longhaired Californian quarterback. Disney moments are added by the film’s unofficial narrator - Yoast’s nine year-old daughter Cheryl, played by Hayden Panettiere, a curly-haired, bright-eyed tomboy who’d rather be watching football than playing with dolls.

  Video
Contract

What strikes you immediately upon first viewing Remember the Titans is just how good this film looks. Right from the opening, with its rich autumn leaves, the frame is filled with wonderfully vibrant colours – in particular during the football games with their clear blue skies and rich green fields. And presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio on a dual-layer disc, this fine anamorphic image from Buena Vista provides us with an almost flawless reproduction.

The abundant colours are vivid and deep, and rendered perfectly as evidenced by the excellent skin tones. Black level too is great, and well utilised given director Yazkin’s abundant use of silhouettes throughout the film. The image is wonderfully sharp, introducing only one or two small instances of aliasing/moire, and the resulting level of detail – both in well-lit and low-light scenes - is fantastic. The print used for the transfer is nice and clean, with only one or two very small specks visible during the entire film, and the transfer introduces no noticeable compression artefacts of its own.

The layer change, whilst noticeable, is well placed between scenes.

  Audio
Contract

With its basis squarely in light, wordy drama, the soundtrack to Remember the Titans is primarily dialogue driven. Despite being supplied with Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in both English and French, it should come as no surprise that there isn’t much for 2.1 of the 5.1 channels to do for much of the 108 minute running time. Whilst the centre channel is busy delivering clear dialogue (with no sync issues), the front channels are called into service primarily to deliver the score and the odd foley and vehicle effect. This score, provided by Bruckheimer regular Trevor Rabin, effectively evokes the period with a string of well-known pop songs of the time. The surround channels are used for the odd snippet of ambient sound and to carry a proportion of the score, but like the subwoofer, they remain fairly under-utilised throughout.

The only time when the mix really opens up is during the football games. At these times, the sounds of the ensuing play become a little more immersive and the subwoofer is used sparingly to fill out the body hits. All in all, Remember the Titans supplies a perfectly servicable audio mix, but little to get excited about.

  Extras
Contract

A nicely animated introduction to the disc reveals static anamorphic menus that provide access to a reasonable collection of extras.

  • Audio Commentary: with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Boaz Yazkin and writer Gregory Allen Howard. A great commentary from three guys that take pride in the film they have created together. Howard focuses on the factual aspects of the story, Bruckheimer discusses what attracted him to the project, the preparation that went into it and issues during production, and Yazkin talks about the shots, the characters, the actors and the visual devices he tried to infuse in the finished film. Worthy of your time, this commentary will greatly add to your appreciation of the film.

  • Behind the Scenes: 19 mins, full-frame. Hosted by football great Lyn Swan, this interesting featurette provides a good overview of the production, including interviews with Denzel Washington and Will Patton plus the history of the story, all interspersed with footage from the film. There are some great sequences including the real players meeting their on screen counterparts and a frank interview with the real-life coaches Boone and Yoast.

  • Denzel Becomes Boone: six mins, full-frame. An interview with Denzel Washington discussing his approach to the character and his respect for the real coach Boone. Interviews with coach Boone about Denzel, and footage of Denzel and Boone on the set, round out a look at the relationship that was built between the two during production.

  • Beating the Odds: six mins, full-frame. Interviews with select members of the cast and crew (primarily producer Jerry Bruckheimer) relate the rocky history of the production, starting with Gregory Allen Howard’s script and its initially cold reception, through the interest shown in the project by Bruckheimer’s production company and on to the final box office release.

  • Deleted Scenes: six in all, most adding nothing to your appreciation of the film. One scene however, an extended version of the film’s ‘getting to know your teammates’ sequence, is certainly worth the effort to watch.

  • Theatrical Trailer: at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the transfer is clean and sharp although non-anamorphic.

  Overall  
Contract

Some have (quite rightly) criticised Remember the Titans for its underplaying of the racial tensions that pervaded the American south in the late sixties and early seventies. And whilst it’s just plain ridiculous to imagine that endemic racism can be swept away by a coach’s stirring speech, we must remember that Remember the Titans is primarily a family film - and that equates to non-controversial, and a heavy sugar-coating. I for one am willing to forgive the filmmakers any historical inaccuracies, given that the film conveys an easily digestible message of racial harmony to a potentially wide audience. Seen in this light, Remember the Titans is simple yet highly enjoyable family film. Presented on a great looking disc, this is one feel-good movie that everyone will enjoy – even if mum is only sticking around to look at Denzel.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1374
  • Send to a friend.

    Cast your vote here: You must enable cookies to vote.
  •   
      And I quote...
    "A feel-good, family film that everyone will enjoy – even if mum is only sticking around to look at Denzel. "
    - Gavin Turner
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Toshiba SD-2108
    • TV:
          Panasonic TC-68P90A TAU (80cm)
    • Receiver:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Amplifier:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Speakers:
          B&W 602
    • Centre Speaker:
          B&W CC6 S2
    • Surrounds:
          JM Lab Cobalt SR20
    • Subwoofer:
          B&W ASW-500
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
      Recent Reviews:
    by Gavin Turner

    Daddy Day Care
    "Steadfastly walking the firm, middle ground of ‘family-values’ entertainment, it’s a light, sometimes funny and often enjoyable film full of cute kids and obvious gags. "

    Please Teacher! Volume 1 - Hot For Teacher
    "It’s one of the quintessential schoolboy fantasies…"

    Returner
    "What's in a title? Returner may well be a self-fulfilling prophecy… "

    Hulk: CE
    "Collector's or Special Edition? That is the question..."

    Hulk
    "Combining camp Summer-blockbuster with compelling, human drama, Ang Lee's Hulk is essential viewing."

      Related Links
      None listed

     

    Search for Title/Actor/Director:
    Google Web dvd.net.au
       Copyright © DVDnet. All rights reserved. Site Design by RED 5   
    rss