While it fared miserably at the box-office, the new dvd presentation
of “GODS AND GENERALS” from WARNER BROS may find a larger audience. The film
had many barriers to break through, most significantly its running time. At 219
minutes, only the most die-hard “Civil War” enthusiasts made the effort to find
the limited theaters that the film ran in. The ability to break the film up in
parts on dvd, makes the film much more accessible to the casually interested
viewer. Directed by Ronald Mawxell, the same man who brought us “GETTYSBURG,”
it’s often visually sweeping like the earlier film, filled with stunning
locations, huge sequences featuring thousands of extras, and possessing an
Unfortunately, even with a great cast, the dialogue is often wanting, and the dialogue often comes across as melodramatic and cliché’d, something entirely different than in the previous film. It’s a bit disappointing to see such great actors as Robert Duval spew out horrible dialogue. If actors of this caliber can’t say it without the audience rolling their eyes, then no one else could’ve made the dialogue work.
WARNER BROS. has preserved the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio of the film, with 16:9 enhancement. This transfer is magnificent! There is incredible detail in every scene. Colors are rich and vibrant, and fleshtones are perfectly natural throughout. The blacks and grays are deep, offering excellent detail in darker scenes.
WARNER BROS. has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that’s extremely
aggressive. The various battle scenes make the most of panning/directional
effects. Bass is used extensively as well, adding a lot of punch to some already
intense moments. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.
Broken up over two sides, the necessity to turn the disc over doesn’t feel like an inconvenience, allowing for it to feel as an appropriate intermission point.
WARNER BROS. has provided some extras for this release. Maxwell provides a running audio commentary that is loaded with historical and production information. It’s certain to please civil war enthusiasts and fans of the film.
There are also three featurettes offered, one focusing on slavery in the Civil War, something surprisingly greatly glossed over in the actual film, another about Stonewall Jackson, and yet another about the reenactment scenes.
Two music videos are also offered.