"REMEMBER THE TITANS: DIRECTOR’S CUT"
by Kevin Carr
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|| MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)
Denzel Washington as COACH HERMAN BOONE
Will Patton as COACH BILL YOAST
Wood Harris as JULIUS CAMPBELL
Ryan Hurst as GERRY BERTIER
Donald Faison as PETEY JONES
Craig Kirkwood as JERRY ‘REV’ HARRIS
Ethan Suplee as LOUIE LASTIK
Kip Pardue as RONNIE ‘SUNSHINE’ BASS
Hayden Panettiere as SHERYL YOAST
Studio: Walt Disney
Directed by: Boaz Yakin
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For years, Disney has been known for producing inspirational movies about the human spirit. “Remember the Titans” falls squarely into that line of films. It tells the story of the town of Alexandria, Virginia, where the high school football team became a catalyst for both racial strife and racial unity.
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The time was 1971, and the schools were newly desegregated. Despite fifteen years of winning seasons, football coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton) is demoted and put under the first black head coach in the system, Herman Boone (Denzel Washington). Struggling to put their own differences aside, Boone and Yoast organize the school’s first integrated football team.
Amid the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement, the football team becomes a symbol of a new world. With a winning season and a rag-tag group of hot-headed teens that manage to organize into a real football team, the Titans become a symbol of progress for the entire city.
The film is inspirational, and it does manage to walk that thin line between the portrayal of a significant era and avoiding too much preaching. While Denzel Washington gives a fine performance as Boone, the real unsung hero of the movie is Will Patton as Yoast. After all, Boone simply rose to the occasion. It was Yoast who led by excellent example by not abandoning his team and walking the walk when he talked the talk.
“Remember the Titans” will be remembered in a long line of great football movies. Even if you’re not a fan of the game, it’s a great story with a ensemble cast of fine actors. There are some corny moments and contrived scenes, but overall it fits together well. The film tries its best not to point fingers and avoids the strawmen racists that are so easily shown in other movies.
Disney has released a new version of “Remember the Titans” on DVD – the director’s cut. This version contains six extra minutes which were not in the original film. They were, however, included in the deleted scenes of the original DVD release. This begs the question of why release this new DVD?
Aside from having the scenes integrated into the film, there’s no real selling point to this movie. To make matters worse, this DVD doesn’t even contain all the bells and whistles from the previous release. For example, the original DVD release of “Remember the Titans” included a feature commentary by the real Boone and Yoast, as well as director Boaz Yakin, writer Gregory Allen Howard and uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer. This sounds like it would be very interesting – especially getting a play-by-play description of the film from the real coaches – but it’s not even an option on this DVD.
The other special features, including two featurettes about the real team and its coaches and a documentary of the film hosted by Lynn Swan, were seen on the old DVD as well. There are four deleted scenes in the arsenals, but two of them really weren’t new, considering they were cut back into the film.
Ultimately, it appears this version of “Remember the Titans” was rushed out to get a bump from Disney’s other racial integration sports movie, “Glory Road” which was in theaters this winter and will come to DVD this summer.
Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Widescreen (2.35:1), enhanced for 16x9 televisions. French language track. French and Spanish subtitles. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.