WARNER BROS. has released "WYATT EARP" on blu-ray. Lawrence Kasdan's homage to westerns is a mixed bag. One has to credit the director/writer for his great aspirations on display here. It's a bold film in many ways. It's epic in many ways. But, it only has to be boring in one way, pacing. Unfortunately, it succeeds there too. Kasdan knows how to create great, sweeping moments out of what has to be seemingly nothing on paper, but, some of the big showdown sequences lack the impact they demand. The final scene, chaptering a flashback, is extremely anti-climatic. Kasdan's attempt at creating a great western about a "bigger than life" man, works for many scenes, but not enough to justify the film's 190 minute running time.
Also frustrating, WARNER BROS. did not release the extended version, previously available on laserdisc format. And, yes this reviewer was complaining about the film's length, but studios should select the "special" versions of films for high-def, or offer both!
WARNER BROS. has provided a 1080p/VC 1 transfer with the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It's absolutely stunning! The opening sequence, wherein a young Wyatt is running through cornfields, in his attempt to run from home and join the Union army, before being caught by his father on horseback, (GENE HACKMAN IN A GREAT, ALBEIT BRIEF PERFORMANCE)makes it obvious that great care has been given to this transfer. It was a good moment in theaters, but even reduced to a 46 inch lcd screen, the scene still packs a whallop, making a viewer anticipate many great things to follow, before being disappointed. As the camera follows alongside young Wyatt, the fast motion of him amidst the cornstalks careening around his face, is almost breathtaking to watch. The fact that there's no blurring, artifacts, or anything less than stellar detail, is outstanding! Colors are lush throughout. In darker scenes, deep blacks and grays ensure consistently stunning depth. "WYATT EARP" is one of the best looking blu-rays of the past year!
WARNER BROS. has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. It's also outstanding. While we're disappointed that neither a PCM 5.1 mix or Dolby TrueHD mix has been offered for this blu-ray, at least there's great fidelity throughout the film. Kasdan pays great attention to detail in all of his films, and "WYATT EARP" is no exception. During the same early cornfield sequence, the discrete effects and bass of thunder in the distance, instantly lets the audience recognize they're in for a real event. The music is powerful and well balanced with dialogue.
WARNER BROS. has carried over extras from the most recent "special edition" dvd. These include a lengthy amount of deleted scenes, all severely hindered by 480 image quality. Also, a great documentary is also offered.