Saturday, March 26, 2016

Gettysburg (1993)

Director: Ron Maxwell

Writers: Michael Shaara, Ron Maxwell

Composer: Randy Edelman

Starring: Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen, Jeff Daniels, Sam Elliott, C. Thomas Howell, Kevin Conway, John Diehl, Richard Anderson, Donal Logue, Stephen Lang, Richard Jordan, Andrew Prine, Cooper Huckabee, Patrick Gorman, Bo Brinkman, James Lancaster, William Morgan Sheppard, Kieran Mulroney, James Patrick Stuart, Tim Ruddy, Royce D. Applegate, Ivan Kane, Warren Burton, MacIntyre Dixon, Joseph Fuqua, Timothy Scott, George Lazenby

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Same Land. Same God. Different Dreams.

Plot: The three day battle that was a turning point in the Civil War is shown from the perspectives of both sides, highlighting the fight for Little Round Top, and Pickett's Charge. Other focuses include Longstreet(not"Longsreet") and Lee's relationship as they have differing strategic opinions, Armistead fighting on the opposite side of his old friend Hancock, and the Chamberlain brothers.

My rating: 5.5/10 (6 tops)

Will I watch it again?  No.

I've been looking forward to seeing this for many years and boy was I disappointed when I finally did last night.  Woof.  This has a great cast and it's a shame that so many talented actors had so little screen time.  Stephen Lang and Cooper Huckabee give the best and most enjoyable performances but there are so many others that bring the picture down.  I don't know what Martin Sheen was going for but it felt like he missed the mark.  I was beside myself.  You can only blame the actors so much, though.  The script is pretty bad but really only with the dialogue.  It's so cheesy and melodramatic (which is also how a lot of the actors deliver their lines).  I couldn't believe how over-the-top it was.  There are a LOT of speeches in this picture (yeah, it's over four hours long so there's plenty of time for them) and after the first two or three it starts to get funnier with each additional and there's probably two dozen or more.  IMDb says the budget was $25M.  It looks like a lower budget TV movie (complete with the WTF synthetic orchestral score, TV movie camera angles and so on) but it's also got an epic scope to it.  There's a lot of ground to cover and the filmmakers do a good job I suppose but it's the cornball dialogue, speeches, line delivery that keep this from becoming the epic it's striving for.  Jeff Daniels does a really good job.  I almost forgot about him.  His performance is probably the most honest of the lot.  I'm a fan of composer Randy Edelman but his score at times doesn't work and I can't believe it's not even a real orchestra performing it.  I have (soon to be 'had') the regular version on DVD.  I would've preferred to watch the extended/director's cut but I'm glad I didn't throw down even more money for it.  It's got LOTS of extras.  I'm really disappointed with the film and it's mostly with the dialogue and performances.  The overly melodramatic tone of both of those elements hinders what could have been an otherwise fine film.  It occurred to me halfway in that this had the feel of a 1940s picture given the nature of the dialogue and performances.  They would fit right in with that era.  I have the Blu-ray of GODS AND GENERALS (2003) (made by the same folks as this one) and I'm keen to watch it but maybe I'll wait a little longer before slapping that disc in the machine.  That one runs 280 minutes, about a half hour longer than GETTYSBURG.  I just hope it's not four and a half hours of ridiculous speeches and soapboxing. 

No comments:

Post a Comment