3:10 To Yuma – Blu-ray Review


Lionsgate / 2007 / 122 Minutes / Rated R
Street Date: January 8, 2008
List Price: $39.99 [Buy it at Available at Amazon.com]

Director:

James Mangold

Starring:

Russell Crowe ………. Ben Wade
Christian Bale ………. Dan Evans
Logan Lerman ………. William Evans
Dallas Roberts ………. Grayson Butterfield
Ben Foster ………. Charles Prince
Peter Fonda ………. Byron McElroy
Vinessa Shaw ………. Emmy Nelson
Alan Tudyk ………. Doc Potter
Luce Rains ………. Marshal Weathers
Gretchen Mol ………. Alice Evans
Lennie Loftin ………. Glen Hollander

The Movie

Fifty years ago, if you polled all Americans who watched movies and asked them what their favorite genre of movies was, the majority of them would probably have said the “Western”. Westerns were extremely popular back then, and that trend really continued through the “Clint Eastwood” era before finally ending around 1992. In the last 15 years, there have been many attempts of creating the “next great Western” but more times than not the Westerns that have gotten made have been extremely bad. You could say that that genre of films is almost dead now. That is until 2007, when various Westerns got the green-light to try and revive the genre. One such Western was 3:10 To Yuma.

The 2007 version of 3:10 To Yuma is a remake of a 1957 film with the same name, which was adapted from a short story from Elmore Leonard. In this version of the film, rancher Dan Evans (Christian Bale) heads into Bisbee to clear up issues concerning the sake of his land when he witnesses the closing events of a stagecoach robbery lead by famed outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe). Wade is eventually captured by the law in Bisbee and Evans finds himself one of the escorts who will take Wade to the “3:10 to Yuma” train in Contention for the reward of $200. Evans quest for taking Wade to the station is not only for saving his land but an inner battle that he can be more than just a naive rancher in the eyes of his gunslinging son, William Evans. The transport to Contention is hazardous and filled with ambushes from Indians, pursuits by Wade’s vengeful gang and Wade’s own conniving demeanor that makes the ride all the more intense.

The acting in this film is fantastic. Christian Bale and Russell Crowe make a good combination and they play off of each other beautifully. But don’t discount strong supporting performances from Peter Fonda and Ben Foster. Some might argue that Foster is playing a villainous character that we have seen him play countless times before (see Hostage), but that’s not necessarily the case. Foster is plays Charlie Prince in just the right way as the villain that it completely works, and you can see why he was picked to play this high-profile part out of numerous young actors in Hollywood vying for that role. But ultimately it all goes back to Crowe and Bale. Neither try to outshine the other, even when Crowe could have done so with his character being given much more material to work with.

However, what makes this film ultimately work is the two leading characters. On the surface, Dan Evans appears to be the “hero” while Ben Wade appears to be the “villain”. That’s not the case as you watch this movie. There are definite shades of grey in both characters. At the heart of any good Western are characters that could be “good” or “bad” at any given moment, and 3:10 To Yuma plays that up perfectly here. The commentary on morals and personal ethics between the two men, and how they intersect with each other, is really a beautiful thing to witness.

The director, James Mangold, decided to not just “remake” this film, but to breathe new life into the film and amp up the energy level. That means there is more action and more violence in this version, but for the most part none of it feels gratuitous. Every scene progresses the plot forward to a satisfying ending that is neither 100% predictable nor 100% surprising. About the only misstep that can be said about this film is the father/son relationship portrayed in the film between Dan Evans and William Evans (Logan Lerman). It’s perfectly acceptable, but if you are just searching for something to complain about, that might be it.

The 2007 version of 3:10 To Yuma could be the catalyst that revives the Western genre of film for a new generation. However, it will take a lot more than one great Western to really reestablish the Western as the most popular genre of movies. Still this is a good place to start. 3:10 To Yuma raises the stakes and provides a strong morality story with intriguing characters that are played by fantastic actors. All audiences, even non-Western fans, will no doubt be entertained by this film.

The Video:

The video is presented in 1080p/VC-1 encode at the 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen color ratio, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs of course. No problems at all. The cinematography is on point and helps provide the overall authentic “Western look” they were hoping for.

The Audio:

The audio included is available in either English 7.1 PCM Audio or English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English and Spanish as well. Most of the music from the original 3:10 Yuma is back in this version and it has been remastered. Of course, since this is on Blu-Ray you may be ducking for cover yourself when you hear the bullets flying all around.

The Extras:

Audio Commentary
There is a full-length audio commentary with the director, James Mangold. This is a very informative commentary track. Mangold has lots of insights about the film that are pretty interesting. It is not as entertaining as some commentary tracks, since it is just him and he has no one to play off of, but he does provide lots of background information on the movie and specific scenes in the movie. So that makes for a must-listen commentary after viewing the film for the first time.

“Sea to Shining Sea” Documentary
This documentary run 20 minutes and it’s all about the transcontinental railroad in America. Various experts and historians talk about how the railroad changed the landscape of America.

“3:10 to Score” Featurette
This featurette runs 7 minutes and it is all about the music used in the movie. Composer, Marco Beltrami, talk about the music choices he made in the movie for various scenes.

“A Conversation with Elmore Leonard” Featurette
This is a short conversation with the writer of the short story, Elmore Leonard. It only runs for 5 minutes, but it’s pretty interesting to hear why he wrote this story back in the 1950s. You could always sell a Western back then. He also talks about his writing influences and the complete timeline of how he wrote the original story behind this movie.

“The Guns of Yuma” Featurette
This featurette runs 6 minutes and it’s all about the weapons used in the movie, of course. Key Armorer, Thell Reed, shows you all the weapons used in the movie with some additional commentary from director, James Mangold, and some of the main cast members who used the weapons.

Historical Timeline of the West
This is an interactive feature. It gives you a year-by-year breakdown of a few major events from 1860 through 1899. There are a handful of events from each year in those decades so this is pretty comprehensive. Just various facts about outlaws and the wild, wild west during that time. History fans will especially love this, but most everyone will like it.

“Destination Yuma” Documentary
This featurette runs 21 minutes and it’s your standard “making of” featurette. There are interviews with the cast and crew about the film talking about the making of this film and the genre of Western films in general. Pretty insightful.

“An Epic Explored” Featurette
This is a shorter featurette that runs 6 minutes. This is all about the Western genre of films. Various cast and crew talk about the Western and why its important and why people still like them. Also, why film makers still love making them. Short, but fairly interesting.

“Outlaws, Gangs and Posses” Documentary
This documentary runs 13 minutes and it features experts and historians talking about the era that the movie portrays. They try to explain why everyone loves outlaws so much. Very entertaining, even if you don’t like history.

Deleted Scenes
There are seven deleted scenes here. They total 8 minutes. All of them were basically “filler” material, but there are a few worth checking out for the acting involved in them.

HD Extras:

Special to this Blu-ray release is an interactive experience called “Inside Yuma”. This is basically an enhanced visual commentary. A picture-in-picture option allows viewers to either see the actual pages of the script and compare it to the actual film that is playing in another window or see the actual storyboards of each scene and compare it to the finished movie as it plays. All the while, the audio commentary with director, James Mangold, plays in the background, and at various points in the movie you can also go to “behind the scenes” footage dealing with the scene you are watching in the movie. There is really a lot of stuff going on here, so you can easily have hours and hours of material to view besides the actual movie itself. A great feature that most Blu-Ray discs have now, but maybe not as in-depth as it is for this film.

THE INSIDE PULSE

This disc is LOADED with special features. The movie is also one of the best of the last year. So you really can’t go wrong with this disc. If you haven’t seen it, rent it, preferably on Blu-Ray. You will no doubt love it enough to add it to your personal collection.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for 3:10 To Yuma
CONTENT

10
THE VIDEO

10
THE AUDIO

10
SUPPLEMENTS

10
REPLAY VALUE

10
OVERALL
10
(NOT AN AVERAGE)