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" A woman’s heart is an ocean of secrets "
— Gloria Stuart, Titanic

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Disney appears to be double-dipping in its release of a new director’s cut DVD edition of Remember the Titans. At 120 minutes, the version of the movie is approximately six minutes longer than the version released in theaters. The few extra minutes don’t add much to the story, and they won’t change anyone’s perceptions of the movie. Additionally, this DVD has fewer bonus features than a previous DVD edition released in 2001.

Remembering the Titans

This DVD has fewer bonus features than a previous DVD edition released in 2001
This DVD has fewer bonus features than a previous DVD edition released in 2001

Based on real events, Titans takes place in 1971, when T.C. Williams high school in Alexandria, VA is integrated. Seeking to appease the black community, the school board hires Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) to be the school’s football coach, passing over Bill Yoast (Will Patton), a popular white coach with more seniority. When the white players refuse to play without Yoast as their coach, he agrees to stay on as Boone’s assistant.

That the team could come together in such a tense situation and go on to take state makes for an inspiring story. It’s too bad that director Boaz Yakin and screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard didn’t trust the source material more. Titans is full of speeches by characters and moments where the soundtrack soars — elements that aren’t necessary to make the story enjoyable.

Despite its predictability and heavy-handedness, Remember the Titans succeeds. It benefits from strong performances by Washington, Patton and their young co-stars. The script does a good job of showing the tensions within the community and the slow building of the bonds between the black and white characters. By the movie’s end, I didn’t really care about the story’s lack of subtlety, I was just happy for the coaches and players.

DVD Extras

In a director’s cut of a movie, one might hope for additional scenes that further develop characters or relationships, or shed more light on the story. That isn’t the case for this movie. Seeing it for the first time in more than five years, I couldn’t tell what was different about this version. Of the four deleted scenes in a bonus feature, two had been restored to the movie, leaving only two actually “deleted” scenes. One of the two that was restored, in which the players integrate a diner, is worthy of inclusion. But these two scenes only added up to about three minutes; the other three or four minutes that are back in the film are a mystery to me.

The DVD has three behind-the-scenes featurettes, which were also on the 2001 DVD. These were made for promotional purposes and are heavy on self-congratulation and clips from the movie. The best moments come when the real Herman Boone and Bill Yoast visit the set. Lynn Swann briefly interviews them, but their answers to his leading questions don’t shed much light on the men or their careers.

The most glaring omission from this DVD are two commentary tracks, which were on the 2001 DVD, left out, perhaps, because of the longer run time. This DVD is worth watching for the movie itself, but owners of the 2001 DVD might as well save their money.