DANCES WITH WOLVES COLLECTOR'S EDITION: DVD
During the American Civil War, Lt. John Dunbar (Kevin Costner) is mistakenly dubbed a hero
after a failed suicide attempt inadvertently sees him lead a number of Union troops to a
much needed victory. Granted a posting of his choice, Dunbar requests a secluded position
on the western frontier, but upon his arrival is shocked to find it abandoned. With his
only companions a curious wolf and his horse, Dunbar soon finds himself befriending a
neighbouring Sioux Indian tribe, and gradually is accepted as one of their own. In doing
so he begins to favour the Indian lifestyle - an issue that becomes more and more
pertinent when American soldiers begin to threaten the Sioux way of life.
Review by Craig Miller:
While Kevin Costner’s recent career has enjoyed little in the way of big time
cinematic successes, there is no doubting that the late 1980s to the early 1990s, was full
of them, with the unforgettable Dances With Wolves the proverbial jewel in his Hollywood
crown. Today, this award winning picture still shines as an example of fine movie
craftsmanship, worthy of its accolades including seven academy awards (one of which was
the illustrious Best Picture Oscar), and is certainly one of the best films of the 1990s
and a credit to Costner as a filmmaker.
With consummate ease Costner personalises the conflict between the Native American people
and the white man, giving it a firm grounding in reality through history that many
western/‘cowboys and Indians’ films before it rarely attempted, being much
happier to settle for ‘us good, them bad’ as the major conflict. Something you
will certainly not see in this film. While it does focus on this over simplified conflict
issue at times, Costner uses it to introduce the more defining themes of the story,
exploring the human condition through people, love, and acceptance.
As well as Costner, a lot of the credit for the film’s success must go to Aussie
director of photography Dean Semler. Semler uses every trick in the book to give this
picture a truly grand feel, capturing the essence of the wild west and of 1860s America.
His camera work is extraordinary and the use of the landscape inspiring which creates a
feeling of intimacy in a vast land you could be forgiven for thinking should be totally
void of it.
There is little that doesn’t come off for Costner, whether it be the fantastic cast
or the locations he chose, through to the Michael Blake’s screenplay (based on his
own book) or the emotional feel he strives for. It all works beautifully.
This collector’s edition may disappoint fans looking for a little more than the two
commentaries included on this 2 disc set, but as a DVD release overall it’s well
worth attention. Both commentaries start off a little on the daunting side as you prepare
for almost 4 hours of talking on each, but the longer they go on, the more interesting
they become, giving you a lot more feeling for the movie. Costner’s and producer Jim
Wilson’s commentary is the highlight as they discuss in detail the film, the shoot
and even why it was postponed for over a year due to an unsatisfactory parting line for
one of the major characters.
You may think that an extended version of this classic film may drag on and on and on, but
it certainly doesn’t watch like a 4 hour movie. The extended runtime with the
seamlessly added extra footage, I am delighted to say, adds even greater depth to this
Published December 18, 2003
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DANCES WITH WOLVES COLLECTOR’S EDITION: DVD (M)
CAST: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney E. Grant, Floyd ‘Red Crow’ Westerman, Robert Pastorelli
DIRECTOR: Kevin Costner
SCRIPT: Michael Blake
RUNNING TIME: 227 minutes
PRESENTATION: Anamorphic Widescreen 16:9 enhanced, DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1
SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary with director Kevin Costner and producer Jim Wilson, audio commentary with director of photography Dean Semler and editor Neil Travis
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Magna Pacific
DVD RELEASE: October 9, 2003