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Tombstone (SE)
DVD disk
Oct 8, 2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Tombstone (SE) order
Director:
George P. Cosmatos

Actors:
Kurt Russell
Val Kilmer
Sam Elliott

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Following his retirement, legendary Far West lawman Wyatt Earp and his brothers move to the booming town of Tombstone to try and strike it rich. When they become involved with a band of rowdy cowboys who’ve had the run of the town, the brothers pin on the badges and the feud culminates into the celebrated shootout at the O.K. Corral.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Although this director’s cut adds a few minutes of the slower kind to the theatrical release, this film is nonetheless one of the strongest modern-day westerns to come out of Hollywood. An incomparable ensemble cast, an authentic feel and the backdrop of the stunning true story on which the film is based, are only some of the elements that make watching this movie a great experience. Although the timeline and the true story aren’t respected to the letter, this remains nonetheless an honest enough account of the true adventure of Wyatt Earp. Kurt Russell shines as the tough as nails lawman with the nerves of steel and his performance is matched tit for tat by Val Kilmer’ turn as the tuberculosis-afflicted Doc Holliday. The two men anchor a cast that includes Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Dana Delaney, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehne, Jason Priestley, and almost unrecognizable Billy Bob Thornton and the president of the NRA himself, Charlton Heston, among others.

A cast can’t get much better than that, and for fans of George Cosmatos’ previous work, an appearance by Frank Stallone is also part of the deal, and even better than that, a non-singing appearance by Frank Stallone. Visually, this movie is beautiful and the long shots of the Western landscape are the kind that always make me want to hop on a horse and barrel down the range shooting a pistol in the air! Although it gets bogged down at times in a romantic web between the Earps and their ladies, it still adds some depth to the characters and they all get their fair share of development, making this movie free of any boring, two-dimensional western caricatures.
THE EXTRAS
Aside from the stuff that you’ll find on the discs, this DVD comes in the most attractive package I have seen of late. With a four-panel fold out sleeve containing the two discs, you get a booklet with some neat pictures and a small map of the battle at the O.K. Corral, which is a reproduction of a map drawn by Earp himself. Pretty neat. The sleeve slides nicely into a cardboard box and fits neatly on your shelf. Nice and not overly bulky. The content starts with a feature-length commentary by George P. Cosmatos, who just happens to be a very interesting man to listen to. He discusses everything from the technical aspects of making the film, to the actors, to the filming, to the legend and beyond. One of the rare commentaries that you can listen to without ever getting sleepy.

A 25-minute documentary entitled “The Making of Tombstone” is included and is split into three chapters discussing the star-studded cast, the filming and the actual Gunfight at the Corral. Usually, big stars get lazy and let the supporting cronies handle the documentaries, but every single person shows up in this one and chats up a storm about the movie. Interesting stuff. Next up is a neat little tidbit. A Tombstone Timeline text describing into some pretty solid detail the real timeline of the real events of the early 1880’s that led to the bullet riddled showdown. If you are, like me, obsessed with the Old West, it probably won’t be anything new, but it’s still interesting to read. If you know nothing about the actual story, then I definitely suggest you take a look at it and realize how different the world was back then (and probably much better, if I may allow myself the editorial…)

A set of storyboards chronicling the filming of the battle is presented next in a cool 3-minute montage. I’d never seen storyboards presented this way before, but I hope to see it again. Basically, the screen slides from one to the other and puts them all in sequence like a little video clip. Sure beats clicking left and right for some cartoons. Added to that is the fact that these storyboards look really cool! It goes well with the next feature, which is the front page of the “Tombstone Epitaph” Newspaper the morning after the battle. For Western buffs, it doesn’t get any better than this stuff. If you have the equipment to enjoy DVD-ROM features, you can check out the next trinket, which is called “Faro at The Oriental: Game of Chance”, which is an interactive feature allowing you to navigate through a game of Faro as various characters of the movie. Faro was the game of choice in the Old West Saloons.

The Theatrical Trailer and seven different TV Spots are also tossed in.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
In case you haven’t read any of the above text, I’ll go over it once more. This is a great movie, this is a great DVD. Great re-watch value as well as a lot of enjoyment from the extra features make this a definite buy and a valuable addition to any collection. Whether you’re a fan of the Westerns or not, this movie demonstrates something deeper than just shooting at Indians and bad guys. Having developed an obsessive cult following since its release in 1993, this movie is still relatively under-appreciated by the wide public. As a remedy to that, I suggest you do your best to watch it as soon s possible.
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