From the novel by James Fenimore Cooper
Daniel Day-Lewis, all buffed out, no shirt, long hair…who cares about the plot?
Seriously, I read this novel for a class in college, and liked it at the time, LOVED this movie when it came out, and happily got the book to reread…and totally couldn’t. This movie is, as William Goldman calls his version of the apocryphal S. Morgansetern’s The Princess Bride, The Good Parts version…because, folks, as far as I’m concerned, there just ain’t no good parts to that book. I must be a very different person twenty years later than I was in college…this time, I managed to slog my way about a third of the way through the original novel before the alternation of patronizing pats-on-the-back and racial slurs against the Native Americans just got to be too much for me. Oh, and pretty much nothing had happened in that part of the book, not very interesting either…
Now, Mr. Otter hated this movie when it came out, and was ever after heard to inveigh loudly against it, Historian-on-a-Stick to the max: Those men would have had green uniforms! They never wore hats like that! There were no troops in the (whatever the name was for the big group of soldiers under discussion) there at that time! etc. etc. etc. But I, under quite a bit of stress, needed some eye-candy, and rented this to see again…and the clouds parted, the skies opened, and Mr. Otter beamed with the light of benignity. This time, he liked it. Liked the look of it, liked the plot, liked the characters. Much fun.
So anyway, for once, it’s a good thing that the movie takes wild liberties with a book…because this time, it’s an immense improvement. A simple storyline, beautiful scenery, exciting plot twists, and Day-Lewis (for I think the only time in his career) is a TOTAL BABE-MAGNET. Whew.
Do try to read the book as well, it’s a classic and all…but don’t worry if you can’t, just don’t get the movie mixed up with it and think they’re the same.