FEATURES : COLUMNS : REVIEWS : NEWS : FILM & TV : FORUMS : UGO

ABOUT




New Doc Ock Hits Spider-Man
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Marvel Hires New Publisher
Following such rumors, Marvel today announced that Bill Jemas has been replaced as Publisher. Now read who took his job.
CrossGen's Solus #7
CrossGen thinks you'll love George Pérez's new issue of Solus. And to prove it, here's a five-page preview.
Marvel Searches For She-Hulk
Writer Geoff Johns and artist Scott Kolins reunite for Marvel's Avengers as they search for She-Hulk.
Virtex Returns For Digital Webbing
A comic about a cybernetic cowboy that hunts outlaws riding dinosaurs? Where do we sign up? Read on and find out.
Marvel's Mutants Gains New Penciler
Marvel's New Mutants has a new artist onboard, and we've got a five-page preview. See if he's got the chops.
Image Rocks Out With Shangri-La
Are you ready to rock and roll? Image is, with their upcoming graphic novel Shangri-La. Read the details here.
Marvel Teams Up For A Good Cause
Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk team up for charity in a special December one-shot. Read all about it.
Davis' Marquis Returns In December
Guy Davis' sin-slayer is back in The Marquis: Intermezzo, coming from Oni Press. Read all about it.
Marvel Unveils '04 FF Plans
Marvel plans three Fantastic Four series for 2004, and we've got the details and preview art. Check this out.
2F2F DVD Contest
The hit street racing film 2 Fast 2 Furious is driving to DVD players near you. Win a free copy from Slush and Universal.
 








DVD Review:
Teddy Roosevelt: An American Lion
By Alex Robinson

04.17.03


To most people, if they think of Theodore Roosevelt at all he’s the guy on Mount Rushmore with those other more famous presidents. Although he was phenomenally popular in his day, and historians generally view him as one of the greatest presidents the United States ever had, to most of the American public he’s just another president with a mustache from the Stone Age. Last year, the folks at The History Channel tried to help change that, airing a four hour documentary about Roosevelt, now released on DVD as Teddy Roosevelt: An American Lion.

This feature does an excellent job of capturing the youngest man (age 42) to enter the White House. In addition to his duties as President, Theodore Roosevelt (or TR—he hated being called “Teddy.”) was the Governor of New York, Police Commissioner of New York City, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, a Colonel in the Spanish-American War, an author of over twenty books, a cattle rancher and a naturalist. He was the first president to leave the country while in office, the first president to fly in an airplane, ride in a submarine, and the first American to win the Nobel Peace prize. He managed to pack more action and life into his sixty years than most people would in five lifetimes.

An American Lion is told in a straightforward manner familiar to anyone who’s seen historical documentaries on cable or PBS. We have the usual narrator (in this case the appealing Edward Herriman) and assorted descendants and authors, including Edmund Morris, who recently released his second volume of his life spanning TR biography, Theodore Rex. Also noteworthy is the appearance of current New York governor George Pataki and Bill Clinton (though one would have to wonder what TR—who didn’t even care for dirty jokes—would say to Clinton if given the chance). There are plenty of stills, drawings and recreations, and I was particularly struck by the amount of filmed footage of Roosevelt. Many historians say he was the first “modern” President, in the sense of using the media to get his idea and image across, and it seems natural that he would use the infant film medium as much as possible.


Article continued below advertisement


Other than Herriman’s narration, the only other voiceover we hear is TR himself—portrayed by Richard Dreyfuss, reading from Roosevelt’s letters and other writings. Looking at Roosevelt, one would expect him to sound more like oatmeal spokes model Wilfred Brimley but by all accounts TR had a high-pitched, reedy voice so Dreyfuss is a good choice. For the most part he does a good job though he does veer into slightly cartoony territory at times.

I was surprised to see that they did not include the story about how the Teddy Bear was named after him, and his second term in office is given very short shrift. On the other hand, the film does a good job conveying what is undoubtedly Roosevelt’s greatest legacy (greater, I think even than the creation of the Panama Canal), his creation of the National Parks system.

The other thing that struck me was how upon leaving office in 1908, Roosevelt’s life took a dark turn. It’s almost like an O. Henry story, where many of the things on which TR based his life deserted him or, even worse, hurt him. He always loved nature and the outdoors, but a disastrous trip to South America gave him the illness that would kill him in just a few years. He was always a keen politician but his break from the Republican Party in 1912 left him a political outcast. He always loved war and his image was forged during the Spanish-American war in 1898, but he would be devastated at the death of his youngest son Quentin in the First World War.


The Show: A. The documentary is about three and a half hours long, divided over two discs.

The Look: A. The show is presented in a full screen format, which is fine since it originally aired on The History Channel. It was interesting to see a lot of film footage of Roosevelt that I’ve never seen in any previous documentary. Naturally, since some of the footage is close to a hundred years old you shouldn’t expect the highest quality, but the rest of it looks clean.

The Sound: B. The documentary is presented in Dolby stereo. It’s mostly talking heads with some background music, so the sound isn’t paramount of importance.

The Extras: C. The extras aren’t too impressive, consisting of a Roosevelt family tree, some “background and interesting facts” and a bio/filmography of Richard Dreyfuss. Also included, strangely, is an episode of A&E’s Biography show that focused on Roosevelt (Theodore Roosevelt: Roughrider to Rushmore). It’s essentially a Cliff’s Notes version of American Lion, even featuring some of the same authors and commentators.

Overall: A. If you don’t know anything about Theodore Roosevelt, this is a great, comprehensive way to start. Those who are already familiar with Roosevelt’s life will still find the show interesting, especially the archived film footage.

 

 
E-Mail Author  |  Archive  |  Tell A Friend

 

 



 
Sword of Dracula
Slush launches our Halloween countdown with the first in a series of spooky reviews. First up? New series, Sword of Dracula.
John Byrne's IMO
This week John points out that fans cannot read the minds of creators, although you wouldn't know that by listening to some of them.
The Dead Zone
Flesh-eating zombies battle the last remaining police officer in Image's new series, The Walking Dead. We review the first issue.
Steve Niles Interview
Slush interviews Steve Niles, the acclaimed writer of 30 Days of Night, who tells us about the relaunch of Fused.
A Spidery Preview
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Kill Bill Review
Slush reviews the first installment of Quentin Tarantino's kung fu slasher masterpiece, Kill Bill.
Viper Interview
Slush takes a look at new publisher Viper Comics, and interviews the guys behind two of its hottest books.
Peanuts Collected
Cartoon fans rejoice. Fantagraphics is reprinting the entire collection of Charles Schulz' Peanuts. Read on for details.


CHANNELS:  Features | Columns | Reviews | News | Film & TV | Forums | Slushfactory.com

Copyright © 2003 Slush Factory Entertainment (E-mail)
All Rights Reserved : No portion of Slush may be reprinted in any form without prior consent