PictureThankfully Costner shot Open Range in the scope ratio, and the anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1 print on offer here conveys the green prairies well. From the opening frames we are treated to lush visuals of almost jaw-dropping beauty, with the grass, hills and trees displayed in wonderfully saturated colours. Detail here is immense, with plenty of finery to be seen, and especially those with large displays will really get the most out of this.
There is a wide variety of palettes used throughout the movie - from the rich pastures, to the dusty town, to the night scenes - and all are rendered with a clarity and depth that makes you realise how good DVD can be. Black levels are solid and detailed too, and throughout the duration compression artefacts are pleasing by their absence, and grain is non-existent. The print really is pristine, with neigh a scratch or speck of dirt to be seen, and certainly does the movie itself justice.
Perhaps the only criticism is that edge enhancement is present, but even then it only becomes truly obvious on the opening credits (which exhibit quite bad haloing). This aside, we have an excellent video transfer.
SoundPresented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1, the choice format will undoubtedly be DTS. Benefitting from both and increase in LFE level and general volume - where fine detail is a just a little more obvious - DTS certainly makes the experience more enjoyable.
Regardless of choice however, we have a sound mix which is three dimensional and transparent, with excellent use of the whole soundstage. As mature as the film itself, Open Range doesn't wow us with effects flying all over the place, but it does it's work in an almost understated way - dialogue is ever clear and crisp, supported by crystal clear left and right channels which reveal lots of detail to complement the on-screen story perfectly. Steering is excellent with the surrounds adding weight with subtle spot-effects, and everything just gels. This is enhanced by some sparse but wonderfully atmospheric low-end rumbling, that serves to heighten the atmosphere and impact of the film. As the film opens, the peeling thunder is subtle yet potent, with a deep throaty kick that will have you smiling, and when guns are fired they have a bark that possesses fantastic mid-range and deep-bass qualities.
Overall this is a subtle but competent sound mix - treat your setup today.
ExtrasFirst up we have a director's commentary to accompany the main feature, and here Costner proves himself to be an engaging speaker, offering a lot of information and interesting insights into the production. Following this on disc 2 is an extensive documentary - “Beyond Open Range”, which is really a set of 8 individual featurettes covering everything from pre-production to the finished product: all of them are interesting, and amongst other things we learn how the final gunfight was shot, and that Costner was ill during shooting with an appendix problem (it burst after the movie was finished).
Next up is the historical documentary “America's Open Range” which I found of limited interest, followed by a selection of 12 deleted scenes with an optional introduction by Costner for each of them. Wrapping up the extras is a further documentary - “Storyboarding Open Range”, which unsurprisingly takes the viewer through the storyboarding process and how the film developed, and finally a music video montage.
Overall this is a comprehensive and enjoyable set of extras, that does the film justice.
VerdictA slow-burner of a movie, Open Range is nevertheless competent and mature film-making, backed up by an excellent DVD presentation. Recommended.
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