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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Telefilm > Lonesome Dove (1989/Genius Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

Lonesome Dove (1989/Genius Blu-ray + DVD-Video)


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



Back in the latter years of VHS one of the harder items to find was the complete Lonesome Dove mini-series from 1989 starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones.  Then DVD arrived and the series was issued there as well, but was not always easy to find either, especially not the original series, as there were follow up series to the hit from 1989, which would fail to be as popular, success, or as good.


Often mini-series (especially as of late) are often torture tests as they drone on and on with little character development and/or excitement.  Lonesome Dove breaks that norm and creates a world that is not only engaging and interesting, but one that enables the viewer to become intrigued by the characters and the series helped to put the Western back on the map again, this combined with Clint Eastwood’s 1992 film Unforgiven; although there have been seldom mainstream Westerns since, save for the Tombstone/Wyatt Earp films and 2003’s better-than-expected Open Range (also starring Duvall alongside a fine performance by Kevin Costner).  Of course fans of this might also appreciate Costner’s work one year after Lonesome Dove in Dances With Wolves, which just barely passes as a Western. 


On top of the solid performances from Jones and Duvall there is a great ensemble cast including Danny Glover, Diane Lane, Robert Urich, Frederic Forrest, D.B. Sweeney, Rick Schroder, Steve Buscemi, Anjelica Huston, and Chris Cooper, who all lead great helping hands in making this mini-series seem legit, intelligent, and more like a feature film.  The plot is rather simple, but yet there are many layers that give this Western a feel that very few have.  We catch up with two aging former Texas Rangers, who are on the lookout for one last adventure, which brings them to a task of taking stolen cattle 3,000 miles and their journey that ensues as they must recruit the right people to make it possible, the rest of the series avoids being too soap-opera-like as the cast help keep the momentum going through the entire 373-minutes for an ending that continues to satisfy even after repeat viewings. 


Fans will be glad to get their hands early on with this Blu-ray release as it outperforms all previous issues of the film in any format and we finally get a 5.1 mix for the film, plus a superior picture with a 1.78 X 1 anamorphic transfer, the DVD does not look nearly as sharp or refined as the Blu-ray, which also has richer colors and is presented on 2-discs, same goes for the DVD.  The 1080p High Definition transfer for the Blu-ray is by far the best that anyone has seen this series in and demonstrates the great production that it truly was and still is.  Douglas Milsome’s camerawork seems to be faithfully presented here with attention to rich detail and a look that helps give the series it’s authenticity and since-forth reputation.  The sound is decent and is an obvious upgrade from the 2.0 presentation or the original broadcast format, but this is a dialogue-driven series that rarely becomes sonically challenging, however the Blu-ray outs the DVD by a slight margin with a bit more refinement and handles the quicker dialogue passages with clarity and detail.   


Extras on this 50GB Blu-ray (same goes for the DVD) a making of featurette, the original on-set interviews with many of the cast members, a new interview with the director, as well as an interview with Author Larry McMurtry.  All of which are great additions to an already spectacular mini-series that will certainly appeal to the series fan-base.  The fact that this is one of the earlier discs of its kind of Blu-ray only shows just how dedicated the studio is to getting great material out early!



-   Nate Goss


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