Strangely, the Blu-ray package of Michael Mann’s The Last of the Mohicans does not have the isolated musical track that accompanied the 2001 DVD package. (Fans really dug Trevor Jones’s and Randy Edelman’s split score.)
But the strange history of this movie and its digital incarnations only start there.
When a director monkeys with a subsequent version of his film, he usually does so to fix something—an edit, a flubbed overdub—or to take advantage of newer technologies, as George Lucas did with the Star Wars films.
But some obsessives in the business just can’t resist the urge to tinker; for the most part, that’s a good thing. The four minutes added to the “Vista Series” 1993 DVD edition of Tombstone gave viewers more of what they wanted, more Doc Holliday, in particular. Francis Coppola’s Apocalypse Now Redux is nearly an hour longer than his original print, and it’s now the definitive version. Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner has so many different versions, no one has any idea which one to watch, so all five of them comprise a box set.
But fans can be tricky, and a filmmaker can sometimes do more harm than good. Mann’s 2001 DVD version wasn’t a case of simply lengthening the film or restoring bits. Mann climbed under the hood, and when he came out, the movie was different enough that he sent many fans hunting for old VHS copies.
For the people who loved the 2001 version, they can expect this Blu-ray to be the best looking of all the versions. But only time will tell if this particular Mohicans is the last of The Last of the Mohicans.