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COLUMBIA TRISTAR

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Lawrence Kasdan
Cast:
Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover, John Cleese , Rosanna Arquette, Brian Dennehy, Jeff Goldblum
Writing Credits:
Lawrence Kasdan, Mark Kasdan

Tagline:
Get ready for the ride of your life.

Synopsis:
Get ready for some horse-ridin', gun-totin', whiskey-drinkin' fun in this digitally remastered collector's edition of Lawrence Kasdan's Silverado, featuring a never-before-seen featurette with interviews from the cast and the filmmakers! The spirited Western stars Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, and Danny Glover as four unwitting heroes who cross paths on their journey to the sleepy town of Silverado. Little do they know the town where their family and friends reside has been taken over by a corrupt sheriff and a murderous posse. It's up to the sharp-shooting foursome to save the day, but first they have to break each other out of jail, and learn who their real friends are. Thanks to its authentic look and spectacular cast, which also includes Rosanna Arquette, John Cleese, Brian Dennehy, Jeff Goldblum, and Oscar®-winner Linda Hunt, this exciting Old West adventure created a whole new generation of Western fans and earned its "modern classic" status.

Box Office:
Budget
$26 million.
Domestic Gross
$33.200 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.40:1
Audio:
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Portuguese
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
Spanish
Portuguese

Runtime: 132 min.
Price: $28.95
Release Date: 9/8/2009

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Film Historian Frank Thompson, Western Historian Paul Hutton, and UCLA History Professor Steve Aaron
• “A Return to Silverado With Kevin Costner” Documentary
• “The Making of Silverado” Documentary
• “A History of Western Shootouts” Featurette
• Hardcover Book
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Silverado [Blu-Ray] (1985)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 11, 2009)

Hollywood occasionally toys with attempts to revive dormant film genres; musicals and Westerns are usually the recipients of these stabs. With 2002’s Chicago, the former finally showed signs of life, though it remains to be seen if musicals will make any real comeback; the box office flop of Phantom of the Opera doesn’t bode well.

Westerns, on the other hand, have actually benefited from these revivals. In fact, they enjoyed a minor renaissance from approximately 1985 through 1995, when the genre once again seemed to peter out. Nonetheless, in those ten years, this long-sleeping form of film returned to public awareness in a way not seen for decades.

Director/writer Larry Kasdan almost single-handedly was responsible for the revivification of Westerns when he made Silverado in 1985. Flush off the success of his whiny yuppie epic The Big Chill, Kasdan decided to indulge himself with a relatively big-budget stab at a Western. Silverado was the result, and while it wasn't an enormous box office success, it clearly demonstrated that Westerns could find an audience in modern times.

I never saw Silverado during its theatrical run or any home video releases prior to its original DVD just because I'm just not much of a fan of Westerns. In fact, the only reason I originally watched the movie was because an on-line retailer screwed up and offered the DVD for an awfully substantial discount; for $7 shipped, I figured I could give Silverado a try.

And I'm glad that I did. Kasdan's an inconsistent filmmaker. He's gone from highs as the writer of The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark and as the director of The Accidental Tourist to the lows of The Big Chill and Grand Canyon. (Note to Larry: stay away from yuppies!) The debacle of The Big Chill was still on my mind as I popped Silverado into my DVD player, but I found myself pleasantly surprised at how entertaining the Western was.

"Fun" is the order of the day. Oh, Silverado packs a lot of the usual Western drama into its 132 minutes; what Western would be complete without a fair number of unjust deaths? Nonetheless, Kasdan gives the picture a larger than life quality that seems far from darker Westerns like Unforgiven; from the start, there seems little doubt the heroes will prevail and the movie will offer a happy ending.

Kasdan's breezy and crackling direction is aided strongly by a terrific cast. Silverado doesn't really include one lead role. Instead, Scott Glenn, Kevin Kline, Danny Glover and Kevin Costner all function as our main protagonists, though Kline seems a little more prominent than the others, and Costner definitely gets the short end of the stick. Nonetheless, all the actors are find in their roles and they make the story more believable than it otherwise might.

Silverado suffers from some over-ambition. Along with these four leads we get four different subplots and four groups of supporting characters. To be frank, it can all be rather confusing just because there are so many participants all at once. The plot seems generally simplistic enough to let the film stay together as a whole, but greater focus would have created a more coherent film.

Nonetheless, I must admit that I rather enjoyed Silverado. I went into the film with pretty low expectations but I found it to offer an exciting and well-crafted piece of Western drama.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A/ Bonus B+

Silverado appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While not consistently excellent, the transfer proved to be consistently positive.

Sharpness looked quite strong. A few wider shots demonstrated a slightly soft look, but those were infrequent. Otherwise the movie seemed crisp and well-defined. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and it lacked edge enhancement. In addition, source flaws failed to become a problem during this clean presentation.

As often occurs with Westerns, Silverado featured a warm, somewhat sepia-toned palette. This meant few bright tones, but I didn’t regard that as a problem. The movie offered consistently rich colors with good life and dimensionality. Blacks also seemed deep and firm, while shadows were tight and smooth. This was a solid “B+” that bordered on an “A-“ much of the time.

I also felt consistently impressed by the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio of Silverado. I don't expect a whole lot from mixes for movies from the mid-Eighties; they usually sound decent but very dated. This wasn't much of a problem with Silverado. Although it lacked the scope of more recent audio tracks, I found the mix to be almost shockingly good.

The forward soundstage appeared very wide and broad. The audio presented well-localized placement of elements that blended together nicely. The rear channels mainly bolstered the music, but they did so very actively. While some films just gently reinforce the score from the surrounds, Silverado made the rears crank the music strongly. A decent amount of effects popped up from the surrounds as well, especially during gunfights. These helped create an involving soundfield.

Audio quality was also surprisingly strong; rarely did I feel like I was listening to a 24-year-old film. Dialogue sounded consistently clear and natural, with no intelligibility problems or issues connected to edginess. Effects could appear somewhat bland at times but were generally clean and acceptably realistic. Actually, only a few gunshots slightly disappointed me, as some of those lacked great definition.

The score remained the real star of the show, however. Bruce Broughton's music comes across as full-bodied and powerful, and it really kicked in a lot of good bass. Above all else, it's the excellent quality of the score that made Silverado sound so good. This was a surprisingly positive track.

How did the picture and audio of this Blu-ray compare with those of the prior “Gift Set” DVD? The audio was a wash. The movie always sounded good, so while the lossless TrueHD mix added a little zip, it still sounded a lot like its predecessors.

On the other hand, visuals demonstrated a significant improvement. The last DVD suffered from noticeable edge enhancement and also had a smattering of source flaws. The Blu-ray lost these problems and looked substantially more impressive.

The Blu-ray repeats most of the supplements from the “Gift Set” DVD. We open with an audio commentary. Called “Along the Silverado Trail”, this piece features Western historians. We hear from writer/film historian Frank Thompson, Western historian Paul Hutton, and UCLA history professor Steve Aaron, all of whom sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this piece, but I found a very lively and entertaining look at Westerns.

The trio cover a mix of appropriate topics. They mostly discuss the historical antecedents of Silverado in both film and reality. We find lots of remarks about the film’s accuracy - or lack thereof - as well as rich investigations of its connections to other Western flicks. A good layer of production notes also appear to give us some information about Silverado, mostly in regard to locations.

At times the nit-picky focus on accuracy becomes a bit anal, but the guys recognize this and even joke about it. They also mention that absolute accuracy isn’t always a good thing, as unembellished stories don’t ensure good movies. Really, my only complaint about this track stems from a moderate level of self-promotion in which the participants indulge, as they often mention other products. Again, they handle this with good humor, and they also needle each other; it seems clear they know each other well. I had my doubts about this piece, but it ends up as a fun and informative discussion.

Next we go to a documentary titled A Return to Silverado With Kevin Costner. In this 20-minute and 59-second program, Costner discusses his early fondness for Westerns, his casting in Silverado and his initial impression of the part, character notes, the collaboration with Kasdan and the other actors, and some general thoughts on aspects of the story and the movie. Costner provides an insightful look at the flick and a mix of elements. He proves frank about errors in judgment and gives us a nice feel for things in this tight little show.

Next we find a 37-minute and one-second documentary about the film. The Making of Silverado offers a good look at the creation of the film. It provides us with film clips, outtakes, production stills and a combination of new and archival interviews. We hear from director Lawrence Kasdan, co-writer/executive producer Mark Kasdan, director of photography John Bailey, production designer Ida Random, editor Carol Littleton, composer Bruce Broughton, and actors Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, Scott Glenn and Linda Hunt.

We hear about the origins of the flick, its writing and development, visual design and locations, the building of the town, cinematography, rehearsals, gun training, the depiction of violence, storyboards and editing, stunts and horse-riding, acting choices, the atmosphere on the set, balancing the various storylines and cut sequences, sound design, the score, original plans for a sequel, and the movie’s legacy. This program offers an excellent look behind the scenes of the flick and it packs a lot of good information into its relatively brief running time. It's a solid documentary.

A few ads appear in the Previews domain. We get promos for The Da Vinci Code, Casino Royale, Ghostbusteres, A River Runs Through It, Damages Season One. No trailer for Silverado shows up here.

Finally, the Blu-ray release includes a hardcover book. This comes as part of the package; open up the disc’s casing and the book appears on the left half. It features a mix of components. In terms of text, it gives us production notes and cast biographies. It also features a mix of movie photos and some poster images. It’s a nice little addition to the set.

One additional comment about the supplements: the Blu-ray’s case mentions a feature called “movieIQ”. This sounds like a running, interactive component. Unfortunately, it requires BD Live to access it. My player lacks that connection, so I can’t comment on its contents.

Does the Blu-ray lose anything from the “Gift Set”? It drops some non-disc-based materials; the “Gift Set” included playing cards and a booklet. It also omits the film’s trailer and a fluffy featurette called “A History of Western Shootouts”. It’s too bad the disc leaves out the trailer, but I don’t miss the others, especially since the book outdoes the booklet.

Silverado is a fun and compelling movie that can go astray at times but offers enough consistently good thrills to warrant repeated viewings. On Blu-ray, it looks decent and sounds great, and a mix of good extras make the package even more worthwhile. Silverado merits consideration anyone who thinks a light Western may be fun.

The Blu-ray of Silverado offers undoubtedly the strongest presentation of the movie to date, largely because the transfer looks so much better than its predecessors. Fans of the flick will definitely want to upgrade to this high quality package.

To rate this film, visit the Special Edition review of SILVERADO

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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main