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Wyatt Earp Special Edition

We get to see Wyatt Earp (Kevin Costner) from the moment his brothers head off to join the army. He wants to go along with them but his father (Hackman) makes sure he doesn’t go along as Wyatt needs to help on the farm. When Virgil (Michael Madsen) and James (David Andrews) return, the Earp family decides to move to California. After years of study and work, Wyatt returns to his home village where he marries the love of his youth, Urilla (Annabeth Gish) but little later she dies while being pregnant and broken by this loss, Wyatt grabs for the bottle. He starts living as a drunken wanderer and finally ends up in jail after stealing a horse. Fortunately for him, his father comes to set him free and in return asks that he takes hold of his life again so Wyatt starts working as a buffalo hunter and meets Ed and Bat Masterson (Bill Pullman en Tom Sizemore).

After a while he moves to Dodge City to find something else to do and when he disarms a drunk, he immediately gets appointed as deputy sheriff. Together with Ed and Bat he manages to bring back the peace in Dodge City but when things have calmed down people start to find his way of “solving problems” a bit harsh and he gets fired. Wyatt goes off to do some bounty hunting work and meets Doc (Dennis Quaid) with whom he becomes friends pretty quick. When little later Ed Masterson gets shot to death, Wyatt returns to Dodge City together with his brothers Virgil and James to restore order.

When things in Dodge City start to calm down again, Wyatt decides that it’s time for the Earp family to do something different and has everyone move to Tombstone where they might be able to earn some more money by investing. When this doesn’t really succeed, the brothers decide to take up the guns again and do what they can best: enforce the law. However, not everyone is fond of law enforcers and a big shootout is waiting…

Sound and Vision:
The first thing we noticed about halfway the movie is that it suddenly stopped. The reason for this is that this special edition is a flip-disc which means that halfway the movie you’ll have to flip the dvd to be able to continue watching. A rather negative point for the watching experience but on the other hand it does help improve the image quality. And that’s exactly where Wyatt Earp’s special edition really shines! Grain, dirt or compression errors are completely absent and edge enhancement has been used only sporadically and non-disturbing. The level of detail, contrast, sharpness and brightness are great and the overall 2.40:1 anamorphic transfer looks terrific, especially when watching big scenes with lots of surroundings.

The original stereo soundtrack has been replaced by a completely remixed DD5.1 track and although the emphasis is on the front, several effects aswell as the music do make use of the surround speakers which makes the track very atmospheric. The subwoofer also gets its piece of the action while the dialogues are at all times clear and understandable. Good stuff!

Extras:
Behind-the-Scenes: It Happened That Way : A look at the original Wyatt Earp character by Lawrence Kasdan and some of the cast
Wyatt Earp: Walk With A Legend : A promotional Making Of that fortunately does cover all the important aspects for making the movie and even compares Wyatt Earp with other movies based on historical characters.
Deleted scenes : 11 of them
Trailer

Conclusion:
There have been a lot of movies about Wyatt Earp (Tombstone & Gunfight at the O.K. Corrall to name just 2) but this one is the first to really describe the life of the famous crime fighter along with the underlaying reasons why he made certain decisions. This brings the movie up to a whole different level than the average western and one could almost say it can compete with Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven”. Of course, both movies are completely different in storyline but Wyatt Earp does have that same “epos”-feeling. And that’s not only because of the length of the movie.

Technically, Warner has done a fantastic job with the restoration of the film and although some additional extras wouldn’t have hurt, those present are entertaining and nice to watch. A must-have for any western-lover!

Our Score:
9.0

posted in: DVD, Reviews, Warner Home
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