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Gods and Generals [HD DVD]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Stephen Lang, Robert Duvall, Jeff Daniels, Donzaleigh Abernathy, Mark Aldrich
  • Directors: Ronald F. Maxwell
  • Writers: Ronald F. Maxwell, Jeff Shaara
  • Producers: Dennis E. Frye, Jeff Shaara, Mace Neufeld, Moctesuma Esparza, Nick Grillo
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13
  • Studio: Warner
  • Release Date: Sept. 25 2007
  • Run Time: 219 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (469 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000QFW5QG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #128,589 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

A sweeping epic charting the early years of the Civil War and how campaigns unfolded from Manassas to the Battle of Fredericksburg, this prequel to the film Gettysburg explores the motivations of the combatants and examines the lives of those who waited at home.

Amazon.ca

Packaging for the director's cut is handsome and impressive, with a lengthy essay by director Ronald F. Maxwell, bios of various characters and the actors who portray them, and more. But the big news for Gods and Generals fans, and Civil War aficionados in general, is the inclusion of a full hour's worth of previously unseen footage, bringing the total running time to a hefty 280 minutes. Detailed by Maxwell in a new introduction accompanying this release, the additions include the lead-up to the battle of Antietam and the battle itself (20,000 men died there, the biggest single-day toll of the entire war); a variety of scenes involving Shakespearean actor John Wilkes Booth, including one in which he turns down an opportunity to meet Abraham Lincoln, whom he would later assassinate; and a few bits of camp life with brothers Joshua and Thomas Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels and C. Thomas Howell, respectively).

Also new are two commentary tracks, one with Maxwell and executive producer Ted Turner and one with the director and two historical advisers. Three featurettes, ranging from 14 to 22 minutes long, were part of the original video release in 2003. They include a portrait of the ultra-devout Confederate general Stonewall Jackson; details of the lengths to which the filmmakers went to make the film as authentic as possible; and "Journey to the Past," a making-of piece in which Maxwell and actress Donzaleigh Abernathy, daughter of civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy, discuss the issue of slavery and its depiction in the movie. --Sam Graham --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mercy Bell on June 27 2003
Format: DVD
I saw this movie at the Premiere in DC, and I was blown away by it. The critics saw the flaws in the film, I saw them too, but it all worked together for me. I was impressed that someone actually pulled off making an epic, and the aesthetic beauty of the film, and the genuine warmth, heart, and soul it had, something many a movie lacks these days.
Quick rundown of flaws: Some of the history is un-researched (but what can you expect from Hollywood?), especially concerning the costumes. But, despite complaints, the dialogue is correct (yep, those speeches were how they talked. Just go to your local college's library and pull out a war-time newspaper chock full of "going away speeches". Oy),a nd it would have been a shame to revert to monosylables. The script is untidy, but one must keep in mind that this film was originally cut from a 6 hour version, still Maxwell could have done much better with the screenplay. The women in the film were rather awkward and unecessary, though, unlike many, I liked the feminine touch. Some scenes seem to come out of nowhere and lead into nothing, and the movie moves quickly, jumpng over huge portions of time. The movie doesn't follow the book closely at all, choosing to make this the "Stonewall Jackson Movie", which can be an ambiguous (either negative or positive) choice, depending on the viewer. Thus, a great many of the beloved characters and scenes from the book are out.
But on top of all it's flaws, the film has charisma and heart, and does work, at least for me, despite what many of it's critics think. It doesn't feel cliched; rather, it feels fresh. The battle scenes, though lacking in gore, are extremely well choreographed and awe-inspiring.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Feb. 10 2004
Format: DVD
Gods and Generals struck a raw nerve in the body politic. That's because when it comes to the Civil War people have already taken sides, often times without even knowing it. Most have assimilated and accepted the official, public education version of what happened as an article of faith. Abraham Lincoln is not just a man with flaws and qualities, not simply a shrewd politician and formidable leader. In this sub-conscious universe he has been elevated to the position of a deity. To question the received wisdom is to question one's very existence.
One has only to read many of the reviews in these pages to see the glib facility with which many have swallowed, hook, line and sinker the triumphalist propaganda always spread and taught by the victors - in all places at all times. It is just too discomfiting to think, even for a moment, that the American Civil War may not have been necessary. That all those lives need not have been lost. That all the destruction need not have taken place. That the horrible institution of slavery could and would have been abolished , as it was in the rest of the western hemisphere, by peaceful means.
Gods and Generals is not a perfect film. I cannot disagree with many of the artistic criticisms leveled against it. Its distinction however, arises from its soul. It is perhaps the most rigorously honest historical film in recent memory. It is truly, not superficially provocative because it forces you to re-think everything. It is the only film on the present scene to have truly earned and deserves the label, anti-war. For its fierce artistic independence and its intellectual honesty I give it five stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Lalonde on Jan. 16 2007
Format: DVD
Even though I can understand where the bad press about this film comes from, I believe that those that are fairly knowledgeable about the Civil War will enjoy the historical accuracy in this film. Real, oftentimes famous quotes are used by the main characters. The KFC eating southerners present in Gettysburg are absent in Maxwell's movie as well. Even though it's fairly long and takes some appreciation of the fine details, this film is underrated and doesn't deserve the bad reputation that it has received.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Spiotta on Feb. 13 2004
Format: DVD
Although I am life-long Civil War buff, I have always had difficulty understanding how a man could take up arms against neighbors and relatives of another state. Gods and Generals allowed me the experience of appreciating the human side of this war and insight into the historical and spiritual complexities that haunted each side. The result was overwelmingly powerful.
I've seen the film several times and discovered new meaning and understanding with each viewing. It is rich, alive and authentic film making.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Kai Wang on Sept. 7 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This is a long and detailed period film, lots of talking and lots of action, clocking at 4.5 hours.

The actors all give great and committed performances.
The sets and costumes are all very good to look at. Though some may object to all that talk about God and slavery or the one-sided perspective , even preachy in tone, I shall let those pass.

What cannot be ignored is how bad the battle sequences are filmed and edited. Tha camera angles are almost invariably the same, the Union soliders approach from the right or center, the Confederates from the left or the center. You don't see the whole perspective of the battle fields, you see snap shots and parts of the actions which are shot mostly in close up.

The director seems to want you to know there are a lot of actors around (hundreds if not thousands, CGI or real), but you don't have the feeling the battles are done large scale, because they are edited piece meals, and lots of it don't make sense.

Eg, a canonade was fired off by 8 or 10 cannons simultaneously, the next scene you see one single explosion on the ground....

the 20000 dead after the Battle of Antietam, where are they on screen ?? I counted may be a 100, here again one could use CGI effect but was not....one doesn't sense the horror of wars like one feels when confronted with the hospital scene in Gone with the Wind or the numerous albeit smaller scale scenes in The Pacific which were done so realistically, gut wrenching is that TV series from HBO.

the 82nd regiment advances onto the Confederate position, are they advancing uphill ?? not quite sure because they (or we) never see the opponents on the same canvas. Very few action scenes take into account of both sides on the same shot...
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