Ron Howard has proven to be one of the most talented directors around. When the material's right, his films thoroughly captivate and raise the level of the viewer's appreciation for the craft of filmmaking, eg. "Cinderella Man," "A Beautiful Mind". Unfortunately, his attempt at making a great "Western", with "THE MISSING" fails in so many areas that viewers may be left scratching their head trying to figure out just why Howard couldn't stop himself from making one mistake after another throughout the film.
In spite of a great cast, an intriguing premise and a landscape lending itself to epic imagery, "THE MISSING" never grips the viewer. Cate Blanchett stars as a mother of two holding together family and home in the tough west. When one of her daughters is kidnapped by Apaches, she must seek aid from the father she doesn't want to know, Tommy Lee Jones. The screenplay has numerous problems, as what's spelled out is already obvious to the viewer, and what's implied, needs more explanation in terms of character motivation. The recent western, "OPEN RANGE", is a fine example of everything that this film isn't!
There are so many moments wherein Howard's obvious love for John Ford Westerns transcends to the viewer, creating a great sense of excitement, only to have the scene go on far too long, robbing it of any payoff. So, does the idea of an "Extended cut" offer anything worthwhile for a viewer already bored by the shorter version? Well, the extra footage does add some depth to the "father-daughter" back-story, but otherwise, it doesn't bring anything to improve upon the original version.
SONY has preserved the film's 2.35:1 aspect ratio with 16:9 enhancement. Colors are solid and it's hard to differentiate the quality here from the flawless quality of the previously available "SUPERBIT" version.
SONY has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. While there are plenty of surround effects, it's not an extremely aggressive mix. Much of the mix is delegated to dialogue. The film's score is well complimented throughout. We wish the "DTS" mix of the SUPERBIT version had been included here.
An audio commentary with Ron Howard is included, offering insight into the film's development and filmmaking in general. While there are long gaps of silence, there are some great moments of inspiration for aspiring filmmakers, and it's well worth a listen.
A variety of interviews from the previous dvd release, has been included, as are three home movies from Howard's youngest years as a budding filmmaker. It gives hope to those questioning their own talent, when recognizing how far this guy has come from what's shown here in his youth.