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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Literature > 3:10 To Yuma (2007/Lionsgate/Blu-ray + DVD Video)

3:10 To Yuma (2007/Lionsgate/Blu-ray + DVD Video)

 

Picture: B+/B-†††† Sound: B+/B-†††† Extras: B†††† Film: B

 

 

Elmore Leonard is known for his novels set in current times where the characters are smart and trying to subtly out-con each other.This includes more character development than you usually get and Quentin Tarantinoís Jackie Brown launched a new cycle of his adaptations.However, he is also proficient in the Western and now, a half-century later, we get a second version of one of his best-known works.A remake of the notable 1957 Western with Glenn Ford, Van Heflin, Richard Jaeckel and Henry Jones, 3:10 To Yuma has arrived and though it has been slow to catch notice, it is one of the best Westerns in a few years, as well as best upscale productions of 2007.

 

Christian Bale is the rancher father Dan Evans who is continually beaten down and intimidated by bankers who want money from him and will destroy all he has if he does not pay them.Suddenly, an opportunity arrives into town for him to protect a fortune and make enough money to pay his debts once and for all, transporting a dangerous prisoner to justice.The problem is a gang headed by psychotic killer Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) who wants him back and none of them have any qualms about killing anyone.

 

Director James Mangold manages to pull off the tale with the right pacing, though the editing in the shootouts betray everything else that works here looking too modern and choppy at times for their own good.However, the tension between Bale and Crowe is the main attraction, with both delivering very solid performances.Unlike the original, likely to appeal to a younger crowd, Evansí son Will (Logan Lerman) is always around and follows both of them into their transport journey.Peter Fonda, Gretchen Moll, Vinessa Shaw and a great supporting cast also make this work well, though I have to mention Ben Foster as ace shootist and assistant killer to Wade named Charlie Prince is brilliant work worthy of the leads.With all that, you can see why the buzz on the film is so good.

 

The ending is also a bit different from the original, maybe not as good, but has some closure.What I liked was that the closure is limited and dares to be bold enough to admit how dark and ugly these times were then versus how they have often been glorified in the genre, especially on TV series.If you missed 3:10 To Yuma, it is worth going out of your way for.Even if you donít like Westerns, you are likely to be very surprised.

 

The film is out in two versions, a 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition Blu-ray that is among the best Lionsgate has issued to date and they have had some good discs in the format, then there is the decent anamorphically enhanced DVD.The DVD has problems capturing the amazing work by Director of Photography Phedon Papamichael, hitting new highs with this and work in Walk The Line and The Pursuit Of Happyness.Between his lighting, framing and the great costume and production design, the DVD just cannot cut it.Shot in Super 35mm, the film is one of the best-looking shoots we have seen in the format for a while, especially shining in many moments on the Blu-ray.However, because of either styling or some shots that were left rough, there are a few moments that hold the picture back in 1080p from being greater, yet there are enough reference moments for Blu-ray fans to enjoy.

 

The PCM 7.1 mix pushes the original 5.1 soundmaster in ways that throw off the soundfield a bit, with dialogue being lower at times than it should and gunfights louder in comparison than expected.Still, it is better than the Dolby Digital 5.1 Ex on both discs versions.It also features a music score that is Marco Beltramiís best mainstream work since Hellboy and I, Robot back in 2004.Maybe the Blu-ray should have added a DTS 7.1 or 5.1 option, but the film is well-recorded for the most part.

 

Extras in both versions include an Elmore Leonard interview, making of documentary called Destination Yuma, 3:10 To Score featurette with Beltrami, Guns Of Yuma featurette, An Epic Explored featurette, deleted scenes, really good audio commentary with Mangold, Sea To Shining Sea and Outlaws, Gangs & Posses documentaries and Blu-ray exclusive/interactive Inside Yuma that adds up to some of the best extras we have seen this year.All were shot in HD and are presented that way on the Blu-ray.If you can see it that way over DVD, do so.If not, the DVD is good too.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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