"Dances with Wolves" SE DVD a good blind buy?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Chris Joyner, Jul 5, 2003.

  1. Chris Joyner

    Chris Joyner Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm tempted to buy this DVD. I've never seen it, and I've heard nothing but good things about this movie. This DVD is is the 4 hour version. Is it worth buying, or should I rent it first?
     
  2. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    I've seen and loved films ranging from Blacksmithing Scene (1893) to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), and I count the extended cut of Dances With Wolves as the best film ever made, and my personal pick for the one essential film for modern audiences to view (I'm more comfortable with a list of about fifty pictures, but if it has to be one, this is it). If that counts for anything. [​IMG] I very highly recommend it. But here is what you're in for:

    1). a Panavision "scope" presentation (around 2.35 or 2.40:1, meaning that on a 4X3 set you'll see thick black bars above and below the image, and on a widescreen set you'll still see smaller black bars, which in both cases preserves its rectangular shape and the image within that shape; portions of the image must be chopped away to make it fill a 1.33:1 screen, which is the measure of a standard 4x3 television, and even a 1.78:1 screen, the measure of a widescreen set; my apologies if you already know this, but you'd be amazed how many people still think they're seeing less, rather than more, in a letterboxed presentation).

    2). A film set in the old west.

    3). A film in which a lot of dialogue takes place in a foreign language, with subtitles (the main character communicating with Native Americans, and of course Native Americans speaking among themselves).

    4). A drama (and a brutal, very violent drama in many ways). There are action sequences, but this isn't an action film. It's a character drama, and on many levels a romance.

    If the above sounds good, I highly recommend picking up a copy. The DVD includes two running commentaries. The transfer is pleasing, but has a few faults (it may be a touch dark, I haven't quite decided, and some edge haloing is occasionally noticeable). I cherish the picture on many levels, and I much prefer its extended cut to its (U.S.) theatrical length, in which I believe much of the sense of time and the expanse of place is compromised (I believe the extended cut actually represents a European theatrical cut shown at the time of its original release, but I'm not certain).

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I have over the years (I first found the extended cut on laserdisc, while I saw the U.S. cut in theatres). [​IMG]
     
  3. Shane_M

    Shane_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Even though I'm not a huge Kevin Costner fan I'd still say yes to this movie.

    4hrs will fly by as you become immersed in the storyline.
     
  4. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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    I regretted for years passing up the extended version on laserdisc. I need to get this, and soon.
     
  5. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Another big yes vote for the new extended version of Dances With Wolves. I'm not a huge Costner fan either, but this new release of the film achieves true greatness. Like the EE of The Fellowship of the Ring, the additional footage included here should have never hit the cutting room floor in the first place. It adds significantly to the narrative, character relationships, and flow of the story. It's pretty apparent that the removal of this material for the film's theatrical run was a studio suit decision. As another poster mentions above, the 4 hour runtime will fly by as you become completely immersed in the story, the awesome cinematography, and the beautiful score. Highly recommended.
     
  6. Chris Joyner

    Chris Joyner Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks. I'll make sure I pick this up today.
     
  7. Bolivar G

    Bolivar G Second Unit

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    I bought this blind and very much enjoyed and didnt even notice the 4 hours. I'm not a very much of a costner fan but he was very good in this.
     
  8. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Yes the extended cut adds new layers to the original cut.

    The original is very much John Dunbar oriented - much like the theatrical version of FOTR was Frodo oriented.

    This new cut fleshes out the other characters and enriches the whole story telling experience.

    Unlike FOTR, which improved the storyline as well as enhancing other characters, DWW extended cut does not change the storyline in any way. It does however enhance the mood and atmosphere by expanding on the other characters.

    Definitely worth it.
     
  9. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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    Great comments here, and I agree that DWW - in either of its forms - is a fantastic film to have in your library.

    I have the LD "Limited Edition" set of the EE, the Image DVD of the theatrical cut, and now the MGM DVD of the EE (do you think I like this film???).

    Coincidentally, I just wrapped up my review this weekend, FYI...

    http://www.dvdangle.com/reviews/review.php?Id=3186

    Cheers,
     
  10. STLMIKE

    STLMIKE Stunt Coordinator

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    On the last version of the movie on DVD (they released a DD and a DTS version separately). It's been so long since I've looked at it, is that the theatrical cut, and is it enhanced for 16x9?

    The reissue that just came out, is that the extended cut only, or is there a theatrical version?
     
  11. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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    Mike -

    The last DVDs from Image Entertainment (DD and DTS separate releases, but same transfer) include only the theatrical cut (3 hrs) and are enhanced for 16X9 displays.

    The new special edition from MGM includes only the extended version (4 hrs) and is also enhanced for 16X9 displays.

    I compared the two transfers in my review. They do look different.

    Cheers,
     
  12. Gary_O

    Gary_O Stunt Coordinator

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    The packaging says that you can send in for a free MGM SE DVD with purchase. Can someone tell me what the choices are?
     
  13. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The extended version makes 4 hours pass much faster than three. It's a more involving story and gives much greater depth to the natives--surely one of Costner's goals in making the thing in the first place.

    Gorgeous scenery, and a very nice transfer--a couple spots of ringing but nothing terrible to my eyes. MGM did a beautiful job. Buy.[​IMG]
     
  14. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    There are quite a few choices for the free MGM SE DVD....about 20 in all. I don't remember them offhand, but I asked for Spinal Tap SE....I had the Criterion version so I really couldn't justify repurchasing it, but this way I get 'em both. [​IMG] Thanks MGM!
     
  15. chris_m_white

    chris_m_white Stunt Coordinator

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    Some of the free MGM SE DVD's include:

    Platoon SE
    The Princess Bride SE
    The Silence of the Lambs SE
    Hanibal
    The Terminator SE
    Heartbreakers
    The Last Waltz
    Legally Blonde

    ...and a lot more. Those are just the ones I remember off the top of my head. You can get one by sending either the receipt or the proof of purchase, plus a $5.95 check (to cover s/h). The same deal applies if you purchase the new Windtalkers Director's Edition.
     
  16. STLMIKE

    STLMIKE Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Felix -- I may just buy this one.

    Mike
     
  17. Frank@N

    Frank@N Screenwriter

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    Thanks for reminding me about the free DVD...

    I sent in for:

    1st choice) Of Mice and Men SE

    2nd choice) Bull Durham SE
     
  18. Don_Berg

    Don_Berg Supporting Actor

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    I'm afraid that MGM will claim "out of stock" on all the good "free" DVDs listed, like the Terminator SE. They say there is no guarantee any are in stock and checking on the MGM website confirms most are out of stock! If neither your first or second choice is available I'm afraid they will send some DVD I don't want and then I would be out $6.
     
  19. Frank@N

    Frank@N Screenwriter

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