Titus is most certainly an ambitious film and while I didn’t particularly enjoy it and doubtful I’ll ever revisit it, it’s not a complete waste of time, well worth seeing for Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange.
Genre(s): Drama, Suspense, Fantasy
Screen Archives | R – 162 min. – $29.95 | January 21, 2014
Directed by: Julie Taymor
Writer(s): William Shakespeare (play); Julie Taymor (screenplay)
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming, Colm Feore, James Frain, Laura Fraser, Harry Lennix, Angus Macfadyen, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Theatrical Release Date: February 11, 2000
Features: 3 Audio Commentaries, Featurettes, Trailers, Isolated Score Track
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Disc Size: 46.1 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Plot Outline: Julie Taymor’s cinematic adaptation of William Shakespeare’s first tragedy, Titus stars Anthony Hopkins as a noble but misguided Roman general who finds himself ensnared in an unwinnable war of vengeance with an implacable barbarian queen (JESSICA LANGE). With its time-bending mix of elements from Ancient Rome, Fascist Italy, Fifties America, and Punk Britain, this reimagining of a theatrical classic offers a dark vision of violence, murder, rape, and revenge.
Quick Hit Review: Titus, like most out-of-the-box Shakespeare adaptations (see: Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, O and 2000’s Hamlet with Ethan Hawke), it has its moments of glory while other parts are pretty dull. Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange both turn in brilliant performances that almost makes the 160-minute running time bearable.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.25/5
As with other Twilight Time releases this comes with a 6-page booklet.
Audio Commentaries includes 1) Writer/Director Julie Taymor, 2) Composer Elliot Goldenthal and 3) Actors Anthony Hopkins and Harry Lennix. Each of these tracks offers a different perspective with Taymor giving the production side, Goldenthal breaking down musical cues and Hopkins and Lennix giving the actors’ perspective. It should be noted that the actors’ track is scene-specific and there are long periods of silence.
Penny Arcade Nightmares (5:16) takes a look at the nightmare sequences in the movie and how they were filmed with commentary by Kyle Cooper from visual effects company, Imaginary Forces.
The Making of Titus (49:09) is an extensive behind-the-scenes featurette looking at every nuance of how the movie was made and features interviews with Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, director Taymor and others in the cast and crew. If you’re a fan of the movie, or even if you’re not, this is well worth watching.
Q&A: Columbia Focus Group (34:33) – Director Julie Taymor answers questions from a group of film students following a screening of the movie.
Also included are two Theatrical Trailers (2:31 ea.), a selection of TV Spots (2:08) and an Isolated Score Track.
VIDEO – 3.0/5
Twilight Time releases Titus with what they admit was a 15 year old master given to them by the studio. No work has been done and while it probably is a modest step up from the DVD version, it’s not exactly impressive. The detail levels are slightly better here and colors do seem to be distributed well enough. However, there are instances of dust marks and the picture itself has a blotchy appearance at times.
AUDIO – 3.0/5
On a similar front, the disc comes with both a 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track and although they’re serviceable, the 5.1 channel one in particular is quite soft to the point of being too quiet with some of the dialogue-heavy scenes. There are scenes of action and even there this is hardly a resounding and depth-filled lossless track.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, Titus is most certainly an ambitious film and while I didn’t particularly enjoy it and doubtful I’ll ever revisit it, it’s not a complete waste of time, well worth seeing for Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. The Blu-ray released by Twilight Time has its own issues. Although the bonus material is extensive, the audio and video are utilizing older transfers.