MOVIE REVIEW: “Wyatt Earp” stars Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves, Man of Steel), Dennis Quaid (The Day After Tomorrow, Vantage Point), Gene Hackman (Unforgiven, The Royal Tenenbaums), David Andrews (Fight Club, World War Z), Linden Ashby (Mortal Combat , Teen Wolf [TV series]), Jeff Fahey (Lost [TV series], Planet Terror), Joanna Going (The Tree of Life, Runaway Jury), Mark Harmon (NCIS [TV series], Freaky Friday ), Michael Madsen (The Hateful Eight, Reservoir Dogs), Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone, The Nightmare Before Christmas), Bill Pullman (Independence Day, While You Were Sleeping), Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan, Heat), JoBeth Williams (Poltergeist , Kramer vs. Kramer), and Mare Winningham (Philomena, Turner & Hooch). It is directed by Lawrence Kasdan (Silverado, French Kiss), who also co-wrote it with Dan Gordon (Passenger 57, The Hurricane). Based on a real individual, this film tells the true tale of lawman Wyatt Earp (Costner), with his many misfortunes, friendships, and conflicts being brought to life.
I’ve been working up the nerve to watch this film for the longest time. Sitting under my television for what has seemed to be months, “Wyatt Earp” has been calling out to me, begging to be put into the DVD player, but I have declined several times. I don’t have a grudge against the flick. I’ve never seen it before. My problem is the 190 minute runtime listed on the back of the movie’s box. If you are into excessively long releases, that’s fine with me. There are some great films with runtimes lasting over three hours; I’m just not usually drawn to them. But, I had to watch it sometime, and now here we are. Usually in my reviews, I discuss what a film has received in terms of critical ratings, as well as my expectations. I know, I follow the same agonizing outline with these things, but fear not, I’ll jump straight into it. That is because there’s not much to talk about with “Wyatt Earp.” It’s a film that I neither loathe nor adore, because it really has nothing to show for itself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not cutting it down. I’m merely saying that it offers very little to the table in terms of substance, even though it is three hours and ten minutes long. Deemed as an epic saga from Lawrence Kasdan, writer of “Star Wars” films, this release comes off as a flat life story of a realistic lawman with the name of the movie’s title. The plot itself has a few good things to admire. I enjoyed the setting that it took place in, as I always find the old west to be interesting. The styles of that time and how life was run bring a certain flare to the realm of cinema. I even found that some scenes where good in this; it just wasn’t monumental all around. What’s the main reason for that? It’s characters. I hate to admit it, but I really didn’t care for the characters. Not even Wyatt Earp, our feature figure. Although he is given a great cast, Kasdan fails to make Earp a man to connect to, let alone feel for. I couldn’t really pick apart the guy because of how he seemed to change character many times throughout the course of this film’s runtime. One minute he is the nice guy, the other he is an angry, self-centered man. He is a puzzle; one that I unfortunately found no interest in solving. As for the other characters, they were all either forgettable or felt the same. So many of them flew across the screen that I couldn’t even pick out a few names. Seriously guys, there would be some characters Earp talks to as if they were there for other parts of the movie but I couldn’t recognize them. Before you blow off this release entirely, let me tell you that there are exceptions and redeemable moments; otherwise this would’ve been a complete waste. One big exception was Dennis Quaid’s Doc Holiday. He was my favorite character, and I think it’s because he is the only fresh and different figure out of the bunch. Everyone was either extremely serious or flipping out in an over-the-top fashion, but Doc was in his own world. He was a treat to see. Redeemable moments of this movie would include the cinematography and some scattered scenes that were good. If there is one thing Kasdan did right, it was the scope of the film. I loved how this was filmed, as the landscapes were rich and the camera angles were great. I can’t go into too much detail when talking about the good scenes, but they include some of the action sequences that take place. This film isn’t something to abolish or hate on. If anything, it is one to be disappointed in. It’s as if Kasdan was trying to find the words to make this an epic, but couldn’t. So much was squeezed into this release that scenes either felt too short or too lengthy. Whichever one it was, it didn’t help with the character development, which was lacking. I was interested in the conflicts that arose, but everything else felt like a throwaway. Even the acting wasn’t spectacular. Almost everyone was either underwhelming or overacting. I could see where this movie would’ve been phenomenal, but unfortunately it wasn’t. I don’t want to bash it, but I don’t want to praise it either. It’s a mediocre flick that should be left up to you to decide if it is good or not. As for me, I think it was missing many great pieces to make it exceptional, or at least good. FINAL SCORE: 65%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: