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TitanicFan2018

Currently watching Braveheart

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Braveheart's score was treated with immense respect in the film, and you'll barely notice any significant editing. 

Such a great film, and (to me) one that despite the intensity doesn't seem so self-important and full of itself as say, Gladiator. It has a healthy sense of humor about it. 
 

It's still the best looking Blu-ray I've ever seen, and I can only imagine just how much more improved the UHD version would be with those lush greens popping in HDR, but that's not in the cards for a while. Improving on what is to me a perfect image, I don't know how it's possible but supposedly it is!

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6 hours ago, NL197 said:

It has a healthy sense of humor

 

That's one of the best things about this film: it somehow combines great harrowing tragedy with some of the funniest humor ever in a film - and somehow it all meshes together.

 

The humor is also essential because it (among other things) helps to offset a lot of the cheesy overtures that plagued this genre in the 60s. For instance, the dialogue in the romantic scenes, or that of the villain. I love that Longshanks says the cheesy "bring me Wallace" and follows it up with "alive if possible, dead - just as good..."

 

That's, I think, one of the essential tenets of the epic as a genre: not the scope of the cast or the locations, but that of the genre itself. In watching Braveheart, one is treated to a drama, a comedy, a romance, a revenge-action film, an epic war film, and finaly a tragedy.

 

8 hours ago, TitanicFan2018 said:

Now an hour into the film, just past the first battle scene

 

The Battle of Stirling is, by the way, the best large-scale swordplay battle ever put to film.

 

And to think that this was the director's second feature film, after a small domestic drama. Its bonkers.

 

I should be very much interested to see just how royally Outlaw King will fail under the shadow of this film.

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Absolutely.

 

I mean, there's a case to be made for Apocalypto being his most "visionary" work. Namely, because its much more "out there", visually and narratively, and because Gibson also co-wrote it.

 

But Braveheart works better from a dramatic standpoint: it makes you feel more stuff.

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The Braveheart score is vastly different from Titanic such that you can't compare them both.  Both are different in terms of their musical styles, orchestrations, and how they're performed.  The only thing they have in common is that they use uilleann bagpipes.  Braveheart uses the pipes extensively throughout the score, but Titanic uses them sparingly.

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Hymn to the Sea and the main love theme from Braveheart sound quite similar, to my ears. 

 

I’ve often called Titanic (more with jest than with actual intent, though) Braveheart 1.5.

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The only thing Titanic and Braveheart have in common are the use of uilleann bagpipes; Braveheart uses them extensively, while they're used sparingly in Titanic.  Deeper than that, their musical styles, orchestrations, and how they're performed are vastly different.  Braveheart's score is in the style of medieval Scottish music, has an immense orchestration (boys' choir, synths, orchestra, jungle drums, quena and Japanese flutes, bagpipes, etc.), performed exuberantly, and its battle cues are very heavy.  The score doesn't contain any pop songs or cues in that style.  On the other hand, Titanic's score is not only lesser-scaled than Braveheart's, it has a totally different musical style (more modern harmonies used).  For example, cues that have the love theme (e.g. "Rose") have a pop-style sound (syncopated rhythms and chord progressions typically heard in pop music), and the song "My Heart Will Go On" is based on the love theme.  Then you have lydian mode in "Take Her To Sea, Mr. Murdoch" and the film version of "Leaving Port".  And parallel fifths and octaves are heard in most cues.

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More than just the pipes, its just this Gaelic influence that rests on both scores (and really, to be fair, on most of Horner's body of work).

 

James Cameron is reported to have loved the score to Braveheart, and if we're to assume that he temp-tracked his film with that music - that'd explain Horner's infusion of Celtic elements into a story that otherwise just doesn't warrant them.

 

It also had a strong presence in the temp-track to The Lord of the Rings. So much so, in fact, that Jackson phoned Horner in 1997 - long before contacting Shore in around 2000.

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There is some Gaelic influence on Titanic's score because some of the steerage passengers were Irish.  But the influence is very strong on Braveheart due to the film taking place in Scotland during the late 13th and early 14th centuries AD.

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15 minutes ago, TitanicFan2018 said:

because some of the steerage passengers were Irish

 

I don't think that's why Horner went the Celtic route. After all, the film isn't about those passengers: even Jack's friend Fabrizio (the closest we get to knowing anyone in steerage) isn't Irish. The main story (that being, the love story) has nothing to do with Irland.

 

Its just that Celtic music, in Horner's own words, has a "wistful quality" that Horner (and indeed myself and many others) found to be effective in conveying the romance and tragedy of the story. It still stretches credulity with the use of bagpipes - although I do love their sound so I'm kind of in two minds about this.

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Yeah, but like I said - the pipes kind of stretch the credulity of this about as far as it goes. For crying out loud, the film originally ended with bagpipes!

 

But then, its just such a beautiful instrument. I dunno.

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1 hour ago, Stefancos said:

It was all the rage at the time. Even The Rock had a Gaelic sounding theme. 

 

And it was elevator music back then as it is now. That particular sound of 'El Condor Pasa' on tin whistle was so worn-out when the 90's rolled by i still don't get why film scoring found it all the rage.

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11 hours ago, Quintus said:

It's okay in an old quasi historical epic sort way

 

Its actualy not at all like the old epics. Some have criticised Braveheart for the simplicity of its script (as far as characterization goes) but I think major kudos are in order for Randall Wallace for the way in which he kind of tempered with the tropes of the 60s epics: again, with the very contemporary dialogue (juxtaposed with the awful faux-biblical stuff that passed for dialogue in the old epics), including injections of irreverent comedy, as well as crudity and profanity.

 

I think its the best film in the genre.

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Braveheart is fantastic, the score is fantastic, the battle scenes are fantastic (and some of the best ever put to film), and it all only gets better with age.  What Mel Gibson did as a relatively inexperienced director was a marvel. IMO this is a movie that should be taught in film school. Gibson clearly had an incredible commitment and passion for the project, which shows to anyone whose watched some of the behind the scenes docs.

 

Gladiator is excellent as well, but much more polished. And perhaps closer to the spirit of the old style Hollywood epics than Braveheart. 

 

I love them both, and I wish Hollywood made more historical epics like these.

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I don't know any historical epics that adhere strictly to historical events. So I don't mind.

 

They Scotts in that films shouldnt even have been wearing kilts, I think.

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1 hour ago, Quintus said:

Well, I always think about the amusingly fictional romance with the French princess. In that way it's very much a movie of tropes common to the genre.

 

True. It adopts some tropes, and eschews others.

 

I don't take an issue with the affair with the princess. She feels so caged in England, and so it holds that Wallace's philosophy of freedom would appeal to her, and so will the man himself. I love the scene where she hears about his exploits: its very economical way to tell the story - because it was originally going to be a large action setpiece - while also revealing something of the princess' character.

 

I'm also so very impressed with the way the character is played by Sophie Marceau. There are so many close-ups of her talking with Wallace or Longshanks, where she's just staring at them, and yet what she's feeling is incredibly clear to the audience.

 

I couldn't care less for its faithfulness to history (and I'm saying that as someone studying for a post-graduate in history). Adapting historical events is like adapting a book - you make whatever changes you need. Accuray is for documentaries - not narrative works.

 

50 minutes ago, Nick1066 said:

IMO this is a movie that should be taught in film school.


Absolutely. I said the Battle of Stirling is the best large-scale sword fight in cinema history and I absolutely stand by it, because of one word: buildup.

 

Gibson just takes so much friggin' time between the English captain calling for archers and arrows actually hitting the Scots; and than again, with the cavalry charge - it seemingly takes forever until they clash with the Wallace's Men, and than again with the infantry. If you take away all the buildup - there are a scarce few minutes of actual fighting. Its a masterclass of buildup, and it also happens with the infantry charge in Falkirk (which was NOT scripted), with the attack of the English garrison in Wallace's town (especially) and with Wallace's execution.

 

In that regard, Braveheart has more in common (in the best possible way) with a Leone spaghetti-western than it does a Cecil B. Demille epic.

 

47 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

They Scotts in that films shouldnt even have been wearing kilts, I think.

 

By far the biggest inaccuracy in the film isn't woad, kilts or grown-up princesses, but the fact that Randall Wallace attributes patriotic motivations to the Scots - notions that would not exist until the modern era, centuries later. But than, he wasn't writing a script for 13th century audiences - he was writing it for a modern audience, so it only makes sense.

 

 

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Braveheart really isn't that long: it flows quite nicely.

 

The odd thing is that it shouldn't. If you really think about this movie, its three-hours long, out of which it takes over an hour until you have any semblence of plot, and after the Battle of Falkirk, it kind of puts the plot on hold again until Wallace's capture - it shouldn't work at all. But it does!

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25 minutes ago, TitanicFan2018 said:

I'm probably going to watch it several times over and over

 

I loved that film ever since I rediscovered it two years ago, but I haven't got around to watch it too many times: its much too grim to be revisited all that frequently.

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10 hours ago, Chen G. said:

 

I don't think that's why Horner went the Celtic route. After all, the film isn't about those passengers: even Jack's friend Fabrizio (the closest we get to knowing anyone in steerage) isn't Irish. The main story (that being, the love story) has nothing to do with Ireland.

 

I know about the love story (Jack and Rose) as I saw the film a bunch of times.  But what I was going to mention is that Horner used uilleann pipes in the score because the ship had Irish connections (it was built in Belfast), not because some of the steerage passengers were from Ireland.  My mistake.  Also, Cameron loved the Braveheart score.  It's just that for the most part, the score for Titanic doesn't have any connections with Braveheart, although the unused Logo-Main Title alternate cue on LLL disc 3 has a Braveheart-like sound.  Other than that, the scores are dissimilar.

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Not long after getting the LLL Braveheart album, I ended up watching the film twice in one week, and it wasn't even spaced out much it was like viewing one was on a Sunday while the second was a Tuesday. I was just so happy to revisit the film, which as I said before has such a stunning Blu-ray release, and getting an even better sense of the music through the LLL release really added to the enjoyment and appreciation of the film. 

Hard-hitting, tragic, but such a inspirational and hopeful story told by what was clearly a group of people who had a hell of a time. 

Horner once said Braveheart was the score he was most proud of. 
It's not hard to see why. 

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