Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 05/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Larger than life and with twice as many brothers, "Wyatt Earp" struts onto the DVD scene in a "Special Edition" that looks stunning but is less filling than one might have expected. This sprawling episodic tale begins with Wyatt as a child preparing to run away from home and join the Union army like his brothers Virgil and James. His father (Gene Hackman in a brief but powerful performance)catches him as he leaves and returns him back home. While Wyatt clearly yearns from the adventure he feels his brothers are experiencing, his father knows the truth about war and sets him straight.Later, James and Virgil return home both exhausted and beat up from serving in the army. Their father has put on his traveling shoes and announces that the family will be moving West where there's opportunity for a lawyer and rich land is ready to be farmed. Wyatt after many trials and tribulations ends up out west as a lawman. He manages to interest his brothers in coming out to help clean up Dodge City as well. We also get the thunderous conflict at the OK Corral as part of the conclusion of the film and witness a wonderful performance by Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday. While the narrative is a bit too episodic and flawed, the film manages to retain one's interest throughout it's 190 minute running time due to Costner's unassuming portrayal as Wyatt. The real highlight, though, is Quaid as Doc capturing the fragile gunfighter as he fights the consumption that eats him alive. With the long wait for "Wyatt Earp" to appear on DVD, one would have hoped to have a special edition with a commentary from director Lawrence Kasdan, star Costner and a look back at the film's reception when it was first released a decade ago. Unfortunately, the Warner Special Edition sticks to the basics for the most part: we get the original 190 minute theatrical cut of the film (sans the extended scenes that were added to the video version); two documentaries one "new" one that includes vintage interviews and the other a 1994 TV special; "lifted scenes", i.e., the footage included in the special video edition and the theatrical trailer. Let's stark with the good stuff first. The stunning anamorphic widescreen transfer finely does justice to Kasdan's epic vision for this larger than life western biography. The remastered 5.1 sound captures just about every nuance from the original theatrical exhibition 10 years ago. Honestly, "Wyatt Earp" hasn't sounded this good since it was first released in 1994. The negatives are few but worth noting. The documentaries are pretty good although a bit too brief. Perhaps Kasdan preferred his original theatrical cut to the extended version. That could explain why these sequences show up on the second disc and aren't integrated into the film. The lack of a commentary track is a big minus for the disc, though, as 1)Knowing how the film compared to the life of Earp would have been fascintating and 2) Kasdan's plans while shooting the film and comments would have been welcome. With the recent deluxe release of "Open Range", I would have hoped for better from this release. On the other hand, great care was used in transferring this for DVD and the extras are roughly what "Unforgiven" received when it was re-released. Kudos to Warner for such a marvelous looking DVD although, again, more extras should have been included."
Wyatt Earp was a Man
William R. Graham | Rancho Santa Margarita, CA USA | 12/15/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A lot of people forget that Wyatt Earp was a real man who had more courage and integrity then most people you will ever know. This movie is a pretty accurate portrayl of that man. Kevin Costner and Dennis Quaid (Doc Holliday) do a superb job, although the supporting cast has a lot to be desired. This movie differs from the movie "Tombstone", in that it portrays a lot of Wyatt's life from being a teenager during the Civil War to his and Josie's adventure to the Alaskan gold fields near the turn of the century. "Tombstone" deals primarily with the happenings in Wyatt's life in that one town, which ironically dealt with less than 2 years of his long adventurous life. I liked this film because it dealt with an approximate 35 year time span of Wyatt's life, and the movie is long enough to dipict this. There are a lot of historical accuracies in the movie which include proper representations of places and dialogue such as what is said on the way to and during the gunfight. The inaccuracies are easily overlooked such as Virgil being shot in the wrong arm and the reference to "Johnny behind the duece" as "Tommy." All in all though, a good film about the life of a great man, Wyatt Earp."
Ambitious and underrated!
S. Langland | puyallup, wa USA | 07/03/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Silverado" is one of the best westerns ever made, and "Wyatt Earp" is another worthy western by Lawrence Kasdan. The film is a big sprawling attempt to capture the whole of the iconic lawman's life, from his boyhood just after the Civil war through the Tombstone years, and onward toward the Alaska gold-fields. "Wyatt Earp" is unusually ambitious in this regard for a Hollywood film, and attention to historical detail was wonderful. I loved Costner as Wyatt Earp: as an actor he is very much in the Gary Cooper mold; not overly expressive, and this is just the right note for a legendary lawman, & steely gunslinger. Dennis Quaid is a phenomenon as Doc Holiday: skinny and haggard, he looks tubercular (unlike the well fed Val Kilmer in the laughable "Tombstone.") The photography is sumptuous, & the film score dramatic and memorable. I can even laud the make-up artists who made the 40 something Costner look believably youthful for his scenes as Wyatt Earp in his 20's. Yes the movie is long, and a tighter hand could have prevailed during editing, but compared to the typical Hollywood schlock one sees, "Wyatt Earp" is well worth the hours you invest in viewing it. One of my favorite films of the last ten years. A great film in the western genre!"
Better Than The Harsh Reviews
Mark | Toronto, Ontario | 02/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie came out a few months after the other "Wyatt Earp" biopic and while everybody loved Kurt Russell's Tombstone / Wyatt Earp, this film got slammed.
Personally, I love westerns and I really enjoyed Tombstone. But I think this was a more ambitious effort and notwithstanding the criticism that it ran too long, I think it's a better film then Tombstone.
Tombstone was enjoyable and light and a very entertaining diversion for a couple of hours - especially the scene's which included Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday.
But Wyatt Earp presented a much more accurate and in-depth depiction of one of the west's most enduring characters. And unlike other Wyatt Earp / gunfight at the OK Corral pics, this film devoted quite a bit of time to the earlier years of Wyatt Earp and the events that shaped his life leading up to the infamous Gunfight.
It presented a more in-depth portrayal of the other people in his life - Josie Marcus / his in-laws (who couldn't stand him for the "cold" character that he was) / Doc Holliday / Bat Masterson and many others.
Personally, I would love to see a sequel to this film that picks up the lives of Wyatt and Josie after the dust had settled in Tombstone. They spent close to 50 years together and took in the goldfields of the north / horse racing and boxing in California and prospecting in Arizona.
This novie had a fine supporting cast however, my biggest complaint would be that the actors I most enjoyed didn't have especially prominent supporting roles. Gene Hackman as Wyatt's father was great (as always) however, he didn't have alot of time on the screen. It was his father who installed in Wyatt at a young age the importance of family and justice.
Michael Madsen, one of my favorites, played Wyatt's brother Virgil, however, he too didn't have alot of lines.
And kudos to Dennis Quaid for his protrayal of Doc Holliday. He may not have gotten the press of Val Kilmer, but you have to respect the fact that he lost 38 lbs of weight in order to capture the appearence of a man who was been eaten up with consumption / tuberculosis.
I think the primary reason I enjoyed this film is that it portrayed Wyatt Earp in a much more realistic light - it portrayed him as a great, but "flawed" man which, from everything I've read about the man (and that's alot of books), he was flawed. I think the death of his wife at a young age had a profound impact on Wyatt's relationships in later years. And I think this folm brought that out.
I don't think this is a great film / western - I'll reserve that word for many of Sergio Leone's and John Ford's films, but I think it's alot better than the reviews it got at the time.
But I'll take my hat off to Kevin Costner for making a film about Wyatt Earp that doesn't just focus on THE GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL.
And as a fan of westerns and an avid reader of western history, I'm grateful to him for making this movie. And in view of the fact that so few westerns are made these days, I'm certainly not complaining about the 3 hours plus of this film.
Dramatic and Entertaining
Kate | Naperville, Illinois USA | 05/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Historical inaccuracies aside, this movie was the best I've seen in a long while. Kevin Costner was even colder than usual (as in "For the Love of the Game"), an expressionless look on his face for much of the movie, but anything else would not have done justice to the character. The supporting cast was unremarkable, but Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday was incredible...in my opinion, he stole the show and deserved much more screen time. While many of the Earp brothers (excluding Wyatt, of course) were faceless and often difficult if not impossible to tell apart, Quaid captured Doc Holliday's character in every action--speaking, riding, making one of those cynical and hilarious one-liners (Like when Wyatt confides in Doc that he is his closest friend, and Holliday replies, after a long silence, "Shut up," or when he comments that Wyatt wants to be a lawman and an outlaw, getting "the best of both worlds."). It took me a considerable amount of time, at least an hour, to finally believe the video case and conclude that Doc Holliday was in fact played by Dennis Quaid. How did that large, handsome, all-american actor from "Frequency" manage to pull off a skinny, dying man? And that voice...I loved the voice of Doc Holliday, and would rewind the tape sometimes to listen again. Rich and deep, it was the only thing that ultimatly conviced me that Holliday was played by Quaid.
Undoubtably a movie worth seeing, even more than once, I recommend Wyatt Earp to anyone."