PG Dir: Boaz Yakin | Disney | 120 min.
Review By: Matt Brighton | January 28th, 2012
Plot: What’s it about?
We’ve come a long way in the thirty years that it’s been since Remember the Titans took place. Set in Arlington, Virginia in 1970, the story focuses on the integration of blacks and whites into schools, football teams and faculty positions at E.G. Marshall High School. But at the heart of Remember the Titans, we know it as a “football” movie. What’s so amazing about the movie is that, like many other films, is based on a true story. Thirty years ago, we still weren’t at ease with the integration of blacks and whites, especially in a state like Virginia. The world was in the midst of the Vietnam War and the United States especially wasn’t enjoying it’s glory days like once before. Remember the Titans see Denzel Washington, who hardly ever has a poor performance, portray Coach Herman Boone. Boone is driven and a well-respected coach from his previous job as a Coach in North Carolina. As we expect, Boone is immediately met with situations. The other coaches don’t think he’s right for the job, etc…This is, until, Coach Boone is put in charge of the team instead of being an Assistant. The shoe is on the other foot so to speak, and Coach Boone is now in charge. The old Coach, Coach Yoast (Will Patton) is now the Assistant despite his record from the previous season and having been nominated to the Virginia Football Coach’s Hall of Fame. Yoast, a reasonable man but understandably ticked off at the whole situation, makes the best of the situation and it’s off to Summer football camp they go…this is only the beginning.
What the adults can work out with a conversation, the students don’t take such a modest approach. The integration of the school body has taken more than it’s toll on the students as well, and the students have a bigoted attitude that they learned at home (or from friends). One of the central characters is All-American Linebacker, Gerry Bertier (Ryan Hurst). Bertier and some others make threats to Coach Boone in regards to play and try to lay down the law. Boone, being the strong-willed man he is, rejects their offer and in fact rooms every white player with a black player just for the fact that he thinks that will work. It does. Summer Football Camp is somewhat of a nightmare, with two a day and three a day practices amid the scorching heat, but even under the scrutiny of the other Coaches, the team starts to come together. Bear in mind that the season hasn’t even started yet. As the school year starts, Gerry and his new friend Julius (Wood Harris) seem to form a bond, this is surprising to the other students as Gerry was one of the more vocal students before camp had started. There’s no doubt that the team is good, in fact they are really good. They have strong leadership from people who know what they’re doing, and the season starts off to a perfect record. Interlaced throughout the film are stereotypical images of the bigotry around the town of Arlington, but we all start to see that change when the team starts winning. There’s something about a winning football team that seems to make people blind to the color of someone’s skin!
As the team continues to win, Coach Boone becomes more and more accepted in his role except by a group of men who seem committed to bring him down. The season continues, but it seems that as the players become more and more of friends and teammates, something always creeps up to ruin the bond that has formed between them. Keep in mind this is all a true story. This being a sports movie (by Disney nonetheless) we can expect what might happen. Mixed in with the real drama of the true incidents, are some attempts at comedy which do succeed. It’s sad to say, but most every scene that Lewis Lastik (Ethan Suplee) is in is treated as comic relief. Suplee, a good actor in my opinion, is just so physically heavy that the mere appearance of him seems comic compared to the chiseled bodies and looks of the rest of the team. That’s just my opinion, though. We can predict what will happen as most any sports movie comes down to “the big game”, but what’s fun is getting there. Though it is predictable, Remember the Titans seems to deliver on a few levels and darned if you aren’t even a bit choked up towards the end. If you’re a fan of sports movies like Rudy or The Karate Kid, then Remember the Titans might just be for you.
Video: How does it look?
The transfer is identical to the previous version and not only is the 2.35:1 image enhanced for widescreen TV’s, but it’s THX certified to boot. The picture looks clear and clean throughout. One might figure that with the amount of material on the disc (DTS/Dolby Digital tracks, 2 commentaries…) that it might tend to compromise the quality of the image. Not from where I sat. Colors literally jump out at you and you can even see the bugs in the Virginia Summer during one scene. Some of the games are at night and the black levels hold true giving the film a stunning look even at night. Edge enhancement is minimal and artifacts and digital compression is almost non-existent. Quite frankly, this is one good-looking transfer (bumped up a notch with the THX certification) from the folks at Disney.
Audio: How does it sound?
For some odd reason, the DTS track was dropped from this release. So while the original sported a DTS and a Dolby Digital, there is only one option here. Pads colliding, footballs being thrown and about every noise in between give both of these tracks a full range of sound and it all sounds wonderful. The soundtrack is excellent with many hit songs from the early 70’s as well. Simply put, the audio is just as good as the video.
Supplements: What are the extras?
I’m trying to see the rationale for this new “Directors Cut”. From what I can tell, these discs are nearly identical except this version runs six minutes longer than the first. The DTS has been dropped from the disc as well as the audio commentaries! Ever heard of a “Special Edition” with less features than the predecessor? Me neither. There are some featurettes, the first is entitled “Denzel Becomes Boone” which obviously focuses on Washington’s turn as Head Coach Herman Boone. Though interesting, I would have liked to see a bit more here. The second is entitled “Beating the Odds” which focuses on the team and their will to overcome the prejudices of the time. Again, interesting, but more is better. Lastly, there is an ABC special with Lynn Swan as the host which is called “An Inspirational Journey behind the Scenes”. Swan, a real-life football player is right as home as he takes us backstage with the actors and how the movie was made. I liked this one a lot. Also included is another 5.1 track in French and the theatrical trailer presented in non-anamorphic widescreen. If you own the original “Remember the Titans” disc, keep it as this is just another blatant attempt to cash in on DVD’s you already own.
- (2.35:1) Aspect Ratio
- Video Codec: MPEG-2
- Audio: Dolby Digital
- Theatrical Trailer
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scene(s)
- Digital Copy
- 1 Disc Set