Wyatt Earp

release year: 1994
genre: western
viewing setting: home DVD, 7/21/05

synopsis: In the old West of the 1800s, Wyatt Earp progresses from a reckless kid to a responsible adult to a famous lawman.

impressions: This was one of two 1994 movies about Wyatt Earp and the events in Tombstone, Arizona. Comparisons to Tombstone are inevitable, so I'll do one as well: this movie is the long, drawn-out version that offers a closer look at Wyatt, whereas Tombstone is shorter, tighter, and more focused on action and the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Really, if you're any fan of this whole thing, you need to see both movies. This one's strength lies in its deeper portrayal of the character, his history and motivations. Its weakness lies in its length, which sometimes gets tedious. I think this is a more serious movie, while the other is just more fun. Wyatt Earp, as depicted here, could be an insensitive jerk - him doing what he wanted, and making his brothers choose him over their own wives, eventually led to violence and death.

something this movie has that no other movie has: A dead buffalo being skinned with the help of ropes and a slowly-trotting-away horse.

acting: Kevin Costner does a pretty good job as a troubled man who sticks to certain ideals; his lines come out as wooden at times, but overall, he gives a good serious performance. Dennis Quaid makes a good Doc Holliday, who's dying and is thus unafraid to live life to its fullest. Gene Hackman plays the Earps' father, who instills certain values in them. There are many others (played by many good actors and actresses) and I had to check the credits several times to get things straight, since actors with hats and mustaches tend to all look the same to me.

final word: Good Earp biography/action movie, worth seeing along with Tombstone.

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