"Who’s your Daddy?"
Remember the Titans is an excellent film, very uplifting and inspiring. While the film has a strong family friendly feel and predictable plot, it is arguably one of the best “sports” films to come out lately, and is now available in an extended (by about six minutes) director’s cut version.The film is based on the true story of the Alexandria, Virginia football team the Titans and set in the year is 1971. Racial segregation is no longer the norm and three high schools are reorganized into one resulting in a clash between black and white students, parents, and the surrounding community - the film opens with a riot in the center of the town involving students and adults.
Bill Yoast (Will Patton) is the football coach of one of those schools and is thought to be the coach of the new team formed by the reorganization since he’s had 15 winning seasons. The town fathers, in a move to give the local black community a concession, appoint Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) the head coach and demote Yoast. Boone, at first, doesn’t want to take the job when he finds out that he’s passing over Yoast because he’s been passed over before because of the color of his skin and that’s what’s happening to Yoast.
However, the support of the black community changes his mind. Yoast too has his mind changed when all of his white players don’t want to play for Boone and he can see how this will lead to even more racial hatred. The two men decide to make the best of a tense situation and coach the Titans, Boone on offense and Yoast on defense. The team goes to training camp with a cloud of tension hanging over them but under Boone’s iron hand learn to become a team.
Although it is a familiar story, the movie is strengthened by excellent performances from Denzel Washington, Will Patton, and all the rest of the cast (the child actress playing Yoast’s daughter did an outstanding job). I’d never seen it before and was very impressed with it. This new DVD edition is labeled a director’s cut “now with all-new bonus features and scenes not shown in theaters!” (that’s from the back of the box and is a half true statement, more on that later.)
I’m guessing that this director’s cut reinstates about 6 minutes of footage and was shown on ABC in 2005 (from www.imdb.com). I’m probably not the best to judge that though since, as I said, I’ve never seen the movie before viewing this edition. The most noticed added material in the director’s edition involves Yoast discussing his daughter with his ex-wife.
The movie is presented in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Special features include 4 deleted scenes (two of which are cut back in the director’s cut version of the movie). The first deleted scene runs 1:26 and is called “Friends don’t come easy” and I remember it from the feature. It’s the scene where Yoast talks to Julius about Julius needing friends.
The second deleted scene runs 49 seconds and is called “It wouldn’t kill you” and is hilarious. It has one of Boone’s assistant coaches telling him it wouldn’t kill him to smile and Boone’s attempt is hilarious. The third deleted scene runs 1:19 and is called “Sunday service” and is about Yoast and his daughter attending Boone’s church. The final deleted scene runs 1:48 and is called “Sunshine strikes back.” Again, I remember this one from the movie and concerns Sunshine and crew returning to the bar they were kicked out of earlier.
Other special features include a 20 minute documentary called “Remember the Titans : An Inspirational Journey Behind the Scenes” and is hosted by Lynn Swann. A 6-minute featurette called “Denzel becomes Boone” and a 6-minute featurette called “Beating the Odds.”
However, my problem is not with the movie itself, but with the DVD. This is a double dip, meaning that this movie has been on DVD before. I’m wondering if instead of being called a director’s cut that we shouldn’t call it a marketing team’s cut? The original release had two commentaries that are not on this release. One was from the director and other crewmembers and the other was from Boone and Yoast. Boone and Yoast play off each other well in the 20-minute documentary included on this version, and it’s a shame that the commentary is not on here.
Also, why label this a director’s cut and not have a director’s commentary, even the old commentary from the original release would’ve been acceptable in my opinion. The original release also had 6 deleted scenes and this one has 4, I’m not sure if those other 2 scenes are in the new cut or not. Other things not on the new DVD are the DTS audio track, the Titans original theatrical trailer, and this new one’s not THX approved (not sure if that means anything anymore though).
I’m going to have to give this one a somewhat mixed review. If you have the original release, I really don’t see why you should upgrade. The old release has some commentaries that I’d like to hear since I enjoyed the movie so much. If you don’t have the movie in your collection, I feel that this is a great movie to have.
I cannot comment, since I don’t have the original release, if the new release has a better quality picture (since DVD mastering may have improved since the original release). If that is the case then holders of the old release may also want to consider this new version. I’m thinking that the new additions to the director’s cut may have been deleted scenes on the old release, so you may have the scenes and they’re just not reinserted back into the movie.
All in all, Remember the Titans is a great movie and deserves consideration for a place in your DVD collection. You just have to decide if you want to get the new director’s cut or seek out the old release. The movie is worthy of four stars, but I am still undecided on the worth of a director’s cut edition that fails to offer much reason for buying it.