Tombstone (1993)

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Released 14-Nov-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Canyon
Featurette-Making Of
Theatrical Trailer
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Easter Egg-Behind The Scenes Footage
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 123:53 (Case: 121)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (71:43) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By George P. Cosmatos
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Kurt Russell
Val Kilmer
Sam Elliott
Bill Paxton
Powers Boothe
Charlton Heston
Billy Zane
Michael Biehn
Jason Priestley
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $34.95 Music Bruce Broughton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes, A Western without smoking??....
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Tombstone is a very enjoyable (and quite violent) Western from the early 90s. Westerns are not usually my cup of tea but I must say that I found this riveting viewing throughout. Performances by the lead actors were very good, which is not really surprising given the all-star cast.

    Tombstone depicts the legendary story of Wyatt Earp and his Immortals and the demise of the equally infamous Cowboys, the nastiest gang of villains of the 1880s. Interestingly, the Cowboys are the first known appearance of organised crime in the U.S... amazing how certain aspects of human nature can not be repressed.

    Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) has retired from his peacemaking days and is seeking fame and fortune for himself and his family after so many years of selflessly serving the law. With this in mind, Wyatt gathers up his brothers Virgil (Sam Elliot) and Morgan (Bill Paxton) to head off to Tombstone during the silver rushes. Wyatt forms a partnership with a local casino, meets up with his old friend Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer), and everything is going well. Val Kilmer puts in an excellent performance, clearly the stand-out in this movie.

    Enter the Cowboys; Curly Bill (Powers Boothe) and Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn) who start to challenge the growing power of the Earp boys. Needless to say, both parties get their backs up and all hell is about to break loose. The showdown at the O.K Corral is the turning point of the struggle and nasty repercussions are felt. Throw in a bizarre love triangle with Josephine (Dana Delaney) and you have a recipe for a great, and enjoyable, western. I will leave it there, but you can probably get the picture from here.

    This may not be the most historically accurate recording of the legend of Wyatt Earp but it is certainly enjoyable. If you are faint-hearted and/or don't like innumerable gunshots then Tombstone is not for you, but if this doesn't bother and you are after an enjoyable action movie then you can't go past Tombstone.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality of this transfer is excellent with only a few very minor problems letting it down.

    Tombstone is presented in the 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 2.35:1 at a generous 8.6Mbps average bitrate. The extra wide aspect ratio is justified by sweeping desert scenes with the director making full use of the medium, a pleasure to behold.

    Sharpness is very good throughout. There are a few (very rare) occasions where minor grain detracts from the clarity of the image, but I would guess that this has a lot more to do with the harsh lighting in those scenes than problems with the transfer. Shadow detail is also very solid throughout with even very dark desert night scenes being handled well.

    Colour is quite muted throughout, suiting the harsh desert environments. There are never any instances of colour bleed or chroma noise.

    There are no major instances of MPEG artefacting to be found. The only evidence of pixelization can be found around 82:00 on hoof-prints in the sand with heavy lightning overhead. The problems are very minor and are exaggerated by the constantly changing light source. All aspects taken into account with the difficult encoding conditions I think the problem was minimised very well. There are only a few instances of aliasing, the first at 69:17 on some roof shingles and the other at 98:21 on some floorboards.

    Subtitles were accurate throughout and often helped me to understand the thick accents used by a number of the actors.

    This disc is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change occurring at 71:43.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    This is an excellent audio transfer to accompany the excellent video. The sound effects and score are very well-rendered throughout. There are occasional problems with hiss that I will discuss further. The clarity and presence of this soundtrack is very impressive with gunshots that are not only heard, but felt.

    There are two available audio tracks on this DVD, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at the higher bitrate of 448Kbps and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track encoded at 224Kbps. It is nice to see both tracks having the higher encoding rate. I listened to the 5.1 track primarily, only sampling the 2.0 track.

    Dialogue suffered due to the thick accents frequently used. This can't really be blamed on the transfer as the actors are at fault. One problem that did exists was the occasional onset of hiss during dialogue. It would almost seem as though the mike gain was turned up too high on some scenes, often resulting in hiss. This was far more noticeable at the beginning of the film (around 4:10) and decreased as the movie progressed.

    There were no noticeable problems with audio sync; both lip movements and gunshots matched the on-screen action without a problem.

    The original score by Bruce Broughton was very well-suited to the Western movie genre. It provides moments of heightened emotion, tension, romance, and sadness. This is one of the best Western scores that I have heard, supporting the movie while involving the audience with its wonderful orchestral presence. The score is carried very well by the soundtrack without any noticeable loss of clarity or distortion.

    Strong action sequences involving gunfights are the perfect medium for surround sound - and fortunately this transfer has captured that very well. The surrounds tend to fade a little in the quieter scenes with minimal ambient noise but spring to life when necessary.

    The subwoofer really only supports the action sequences and horses as the score does not rely on heavy bass. The falling of horse hooves has been captured very well and you can feel them as they thunder past.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There is no huge abundance of extras on this disc, even taking into account the Easter Egg.

Menu

    The menus are well-themed and 16x9 enhanced with snippets from the score.

Making of... (5:06)

    You couldn't really call this a making of... or if you did you would be a little odd. A very quick glimpse of the movie with some behind the scenes footage and interaction with the cast. Presented in relatively poor full-frame video with movie snippets in 1.85:1 non-enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer

    1.85:1 non-enhanced video with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound... What else can you say?

Bios

    Numerous pages of fairly extensive actor biographies. Not surprisingly, this is an extensive collection with the excellent cast in Tombstone.

Easter Egg (10:30)

    To find this Easter Egg, go to the special features page and move right, using your remote control to highlight the U.S Marshal badge. This is really an extended version of the Making Of feature with a lot more behind the scenes footage. This is played in conjunction with some of the more stirring moments of the musical score. Full-frame video that is nothing to write home about and Dolby Digital 2.0.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     The R4 version is clearly the version of choice with extra features and superior audio and video. Just be aware that Tombstone Vista series is being release in January 2002 with a 2 disc set including DD 5.1, DTS, and a boatload of features with Director's Commentary. Until then, I guess we have a winner.

Summary

    Tombstone is a great Western with an interesting plot. Plenty of gun-wielding and violence to satisfy the most demanding action movie fan on an excellent DVD.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are somewhat disappointing, especially taking into account the upcoming Vista series R1 release.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Tuesday, November 13, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayRCA 80cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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