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The Missing
DVD disk
Oct 6, 2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
The Missing order
Director:
Ron Howard

Actors:
Cate Blanchett
Tommy Lee Jones
Evan Rachel Wood

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Cate Blanchett is Maggie, a woman living alone on the New Mexico range in the late 19th century with her two young daughters. When one of her girls (Wood) is kidnapped by a mysterious beast, she must accept help from her long-estranged father (Jones), the man who once tore her family apart and the only man who can now bring it back together.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and the fact that if ever you're stranded, kidnapped, running away or in any other way missing...somewhere, somehow, someone will eventually ask Tommy Lee Jones to find you. It seems only fitting that a dude who's become known mainly for one type of role would star opposite Cate Blanchett, an actress who plays totally different roles from one film to another and whose range is among the best today. The result is a good movie that could have been much better, save for a couple of major flaws. It starts out on the New Mexico range and for a while, is filled with some decent action and good acting. It's a great chase movie with Blanchett keeping her character very believable despite many an occasion to fall into the dreaded GI Jane that could have caused her to look ridiculous and out of place. Tommy Lee Jones is himself, but once again, he makes it work, this time as a white man who's "gone Indian", leaving his family to live with the Apaches.

This otherwise excellent movie gets somewhat sidetracked halfway through by a mystic twist in the storyline involving Indian witches and talismans. It didn't bring much to the table expect for an extra half hour to a movie that clocks in at close to two bucks and a half. You still get some great entertainment out of this one though, especially from Blanchett who trades in her elvish dress for a two-barrel shotgun and a horse. Blanchett and Jones saddle up for a ride along some spectacular locations in the American Southwest and get some good help from youngsters Wood and Jenna Boyd as the two daughters and Eric Schweig as a nasty Indian Brujo with a penchant for young girls and stranger poisons. If you don't blink, you can even catch Val Kilmer as a desperate Army Lieutenant. The film is complete with great music courtesy of James Horner (at times reminiscent of his BRAVEHEART score), nice action sequence and dark mood.
THE EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes: A total of 11 deleted scenes are included here, a majority of which are actually quite pertinent. You don’t get the usual throwaway stuff that some other DVDs try to pass off at times. Unfortunately for the movie itself, many of these scenes would have contributed much more to the development of some of the characters than some that ended up being left in when the flick suddenly went paranormal on our asses. Nonetheless, I watched these with more interest than usual.

Alternate Endings: Three alternate endings are also part of the extras package. They pick up from the final cut right near its end and put a couple of different twists on it. I think the one that was left in is probably the best, but these aren’t too far off either.

Eleven Featurettes: You’ll be able to enjoy two full sets of short featurettes totaling eleven in all. The first five are dedicated mostly to making of type stuff, with topics such as casting and the Apache language used in the story. The next six focus on director Ron Howard and his vision of the Western film, at which this is his first legit attempt. I say legit because present on this DVD is a series of Three Short Films shot by Howard when he was of a kid. They’re actually pretty impressive for someone of such a young age and although some will say he had a bit of a Hollywood advantage back then, it remains that at least he was able to take advantage of it. All the features above are of the short “interview” type and can be listened to quite well.

The rest of the material consists of Theatrical Trailers for THE MISSING and many other movies as well as of a Photo Gallery of the cast, production and location. It's to note that this is a 2-disc edition of the film.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I'd have no doubts about adding this film to my collection, but I'm a huge fan of the western genre. For the more casual follower, a rental might be enough if only because the length of the movie makes it a bit less desirable from a re-watch point of view. If you're big on Blanchett or Jones, then you'll also get more than your money's worth though.
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