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Remember the Titans - Director's Cut

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG // March 14, 2006
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Louis Howard | posted April 5, 2006 | E-mail the Author
The Movie-

Based on a true story, Remember The Titans is a compelling movie about a high school football team in Alexandria, Virginia that is suddenly forced into racial integration in 1971- a very turbulent period for doing so. Coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington), an African-American, is named the head coach by the board, making things even more uncomfortable for the white community, and in the process demoting current head coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton) to assistant coach. The current players are quickly angry at both the prospects of losing their current playing positions as well as losing a winning coach they admire. This doesn't sit well for either coach; Boone has little desire to displace Yoast, but does so because he is shown it will ultimately make a positive difference to the black community; Yoast considers moving on rather than be dealt such an unfair hand. His white players won't play for a black coach and rather than seeing them lose scholarship opportunities, Yoast swallows his pride and accepts the job.

From here we are given an varied, detailed look at the outcome of this forced union; white and black players at odds with each other as well as whites given little choice but to take orders from Boone, which goes completely against their racist upbringing. Not only are they called upon to come together as a team, the struggle to integrate in their everyday lives is there as well, at school and at home. Both coaches strive for excellence in football, and while the team manages to become a cohesive unit, obstacles are seemingly at every turn. The board would like nothing better than to see Boone fail, and word on the street is if he loses so much as a single game he's out. Bigoted coaches and referees are there to deal with along the way. White parents and friends are even less excited about the segregation than the players themselves. It lies with Boone and Yoast to put aside their own personal differences and find a way to make their team as competitive as the fine players they have at hand. It's a great story about putting issues of race aside and working for a common goal regardless of differences.

What both Denzel Washington and Will Patton bring to this film is invaluable, and at the time I saw the movie was of the opinion there could have been an Oscar nom for either of the two. Washington's Boone is a man who wants to turn his players into a championship caliber football team, at times teaching them about teamwork regardless of color, at others working them relentlessly as if they were in the military. Patton's Yoast is a man whom has already made his mark in football and bound for eventual Hall Of Fame glory; wise and even-handed but tough, he also wants to see the squad excel, but the two do butt heads from time to time on their individual ways of achieving perfection. They play off of one another splendidly, and in spite of a few heavy-handed moments along the way this is a solid movie I could watch several times over.

The DVD-

As this is a director's cut there are some scenes spliced back into the film I had never seen before, three that I don't remember seeing in the previous DVD version. All three gave a bit more depth to the story but having watched them I can easily see why two of them were cut for theatrical release.

Director's Cut Additional Scenes-

The first new scene I noticed was around 21 minutes in to the film. Clocking in at about 2 minutes, it is a quiet one in which Yoast's ex-wife picks up their daughter, Cheryl, after which Yoast has a talk with football African-American player Julius about his participation in the local rioting; while Yoast does not condone it he realizes the young man killed that has caused citywide racial unrest was also a friend to Julius, softens and lets Julius know that he will be starting as a defensive end.

The second additional scene also deals with Yoast's ex-wife, and is the only time she is seen in the movie; it is a sad little coming to terms, parting of ways type conversation between her and Yoast that gives the viewer a bit of insight into why his daughter stayed with him instead of her mother. This scene is about a minute in length.

The third additional scene is a continuation of sorts from earlier in the movie, in which the black players are denied service at a local eatery; here Sunshine brings his father, a U.S. Colonel, back to the establishment and insists upon service for all- or else the bar will face trouble from both military and civil services. The owner begrudgingly backs down and players black and white are given service. A nice little one minute piece that deserved to find its way back into the movie.



Video-

Video here is presented in 2.35:1 widesecreen, and according to the specs is enhanced for widescreen televisions. I found the transfer to be very good looking, the colors appearing accurate and with very little in the way of noticible grain.

Audio-

Here's a major problem with this release- and we've seen it before, folks. Whereas the first release offered up DTS and DD 5.1, the new version drops the DTS option, giving the viewer little in the way of compensation. The only audio track here is Dolby Digital 5.1 with an additional Spanish track. It's a very clean track that serves the film well with virtually all of the activity directed at the front speakers.

Extras-

This is another area of the new release that suffers in comparison to the original DVD. The extras presented here are identical to the older disc, yet the viewer loses two good commentary tracks in the trade; one with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, writer Gregory Allen Howard and director Boaz Yakin, as well as a separate commentary with actual coaches Herman Boone and Bill Yoast.

Four Deleted Scenes- Four scenes cut from the original film; in the prior release there were 6 deleted scenes.

Denzel becomes Boone- Clocking in at about 6 minutes this featurette brings to light how Washington played Boone and their respective feelings on the matter are discussed.

Beating The Odds Featurette- Also at about 6 minutes this piece gives some insight into the difficulty presented when trying to bring this motion picture to life, with several studios passing on the project before Disney took the movie on. An entertaining little piece.

Remember The Titans: An Inspirational Journey Behind The Scenes- Hosted by Lynn Swann, this 21 minute documentary gives us a more in depth look at the performances and story with the actors as well as filmmakers involved.

Final Thoughts-

Being someone who owns both the original as well as director's cut of the film, I can make the statement that the losses don't compensate for the additional footage added to the new cut; the previously cut scenes total somewhere around 5 minutes and don't add much to the story. If you already own the first release, don't bother to "upgrade" to a new one that cuts good audio tracks. If you don't own a copy then I would say recommended.
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