I don't think I've ever had less to say about one of the 60/60 movies so far on this list. I mean, it was bound to happen, right? There was inevitably going to be at least one movie on the list that I just had little to say about--good, bad, or otherwise. But let's start with the story. It's about William Wallace (Mel Gibson), a young boy who grows into a highly intelligent and skilled young man. He falls in love with Murron (Catherine McCormack), but he has to marry her in secret. Why? Because the British have invaded and set up a law that allows any nobleman to sleep with a woman on her wedding night. Unfortunately, the Brits attack anyway and end up killing Murron. This sparks a fire under William, and he begins to fight back. It starts to then spiral into something much more, and he becomes a symbol of freedom for Scotland--a man of legend. And he--along with others, namely Hamish (Brendon Gleeson) and Robert the Bruce (Angus Macfadyen)--attempt to take down the invaders and win Scotland its freedom back.
Going into this, I knew the basics. I knew about the famous speech and face paint and line and all that. I knew how it ended. I knew he was Scottish. But that was about it. I think what surprised me the most about the movie was that the aforementioned famous scene was only a little over an hour into the film (maybe an hour and a half at most). I was expecting that to be part of the big climax battle or something.
And that was really the most surprising thing in the movie. That, to me, was my biggest issue with it. It just felt like I'd seen this a thousand times... which isn't because I knew all about it going in, because I already told you all I knew. It just felt like a tired story--guy rises from nothing, becomes a legend, leads people to victory, becomes a Jesus figure. Oh, I see... it's the monomyth! It's the structure of the Hero's Journey. Of course it's familiar. I don't, however, have issues with other stories that use it (Harry Potter, for instance). I guess it's just that this one didn't do anything different with it.
Of course, that doesn't mean I disliked it. I thought it was a very well-made film and it kept me entertained during it's 3-hour run time. I grabbed my laptop once or twice in the last hour, but that's about it. The characters were good; the acting was good; the directing was good. Everything about it was just fine and dandy and entertaining. It just wasn't one of those where, after the fact, I felt super excited and "Oh my God that was awesome!" about it.
If I had one problem besides that, it would be the part after William comes back from being away almost his entire life, and he's in love with this girl who gave him a flower way back when--and she's also in love with him. It just felt kinda forced and out of place. It's like they just needed to move the story forward, but they didn't have time to develop the relationship because the movie was already 3 hours long. But that's it.
Otherwise, the movie was fine, like I said. I'm starting to feel redundant. I said at the beginning I didn't have much to say... so I'll just summarize in a One Sentence Review: I've seen the story done thousands of times, but this one didn't do anything special with it, leaving it mostly uneventful; I did, however, enjoy the characters quite a bit and the film was overall well made.