Tombstone: Vista Series Edition

Except when necessary (i.e. previewing a movie for a sequel coming out), I am going to try to review DVDs that I think you should own or at least watch once.  This allows me a chance to revisit old favorites while introducing you to some you might have missed or forgotten about.

My first memory of the mention of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday and the OK Corral was when I was 5, watching an episode of Star Trek.  In the episode, Kirk, Spock, and Bones are kidnapped and set up to recreate the historical moment.  Of course, as I grew up, I learned the history behind it and understood the references.

In December of 1993, Hollywood Pictures, the now defunct arm of rated-R pictures for Disney, released Tombstone.  I do not recall it being a huge hit, but I did enjoy it at the theaters.  My main memory of that time was that it beat Kevin Costner’s version to the theaters by almost 2 years, and Tombstone had a much better box office.  Over the years, I found myself rewatching it as I would come across it on TV.  Then the magic of DVDs entered.

During the 2001-2004 time frame, Disney had a bad practice of trying to “double-dip” for DVD dollars.  It would release a plain DVD of a movie that had not been out yet, but keep quiet about a special edition that would be released 6 months later.  This special edition series was called the Vista Series and featured such DVDs as The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Pearl Harbor.  As much as I hate the practice of Disney double-dipping, they at least made the special editions worth while.

Movie :  Tombstone is a basic story.  What sells it is the casting.  Val Kilmer has never had a better role in a movie; Kurt Russell was in his prime in this one.  But it was also the small-parts casting: Dana Delaney, Michael Biehn, Michael Rooker, Sam Elliot (what is a western without him), etc… Even actors I do not normally like excelled in this movie.  It is a tad long at 134 minutes, but the lulls are few and far between.  Obviously historical timelines are muddled — this is not a documentary.

DVD:  This is the Director’s Cut, so there are a couple of scenes added back in.

Features include:

  • DTS, 5.1 Dolby
  • Widescreen
  • 2 Discs
  • Making of
  • timeline
  • all of the trailers
  • a printed map of the fight

My advice: There are few Westerns that have been made over the past 20 years that can rival this movie.   Pick it up for a night in, pop some corn, and sit back and enjoy a good old movie.

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