Video: 1080p - 16:9 - MPEG-4 AVC (± 28Mbps)
2:4:1 aspect ratio
Audio: English PCM Uncompressed 7.1, English Dolby Digital EX 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, none
Disc: Dual-Layered Blu-Ray (50GBs)
• Audio commentary with director Mangold
• Featurette: Destination Yuma
• Featurette: Outlaws, Gangs and Posses
• Featurette: An Epic explored
• Sea to Shining Sea
Conversation with Elmore Leonard
• Seven deleted scenes
Disc: 50GB Blu-ray Disc
Release Date: January 8th, 2008
Standard Blu-Ray case
Synopsis: In Arizona in the late 1800s, infamous outlaw Ben Wade and his vicious gang of thieves and murderers have plagued the Southern Railroad. When Wade is captured, Civil War veteran Dan Evans, struggling to survive on his drought-plagued ranch, volunteers to deliver him alive to the "3:10 to Yuma", a train that will take the killer to trial. On the trail, Evans and Wade, each from very different worlds, begin to earn each other’s respect. But with Wade’s outfit on their trail — and dangers at every turn — the mission soon becomes a violent, impossible journey toward each man's destiny.
The classic western holds as one of my favorite genres and I was all fired up and ready to dump all over this new adaptation 50 years (and a few months) hence the Glenn Ford/Van Heflin classic helmed by stalwart Delmer Daves - a stellar example if ever there was one. How dare they tread on this hallowed ground? Well, they did... and I'll get re-fitted for my fire-retardant suit to say it's the overachieving kin, the grandson standing on his patriarch's shoulders, of the original.
The Video: NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
As anticipated in our SD review, the Blu-ray's 1080P resolution brings further life to this marvelous, modern-Hollywood, western. Perhaps my expectations were too high as I did see some issues with darker lit scenes which tend to look overly heavy - wavering in consistency throughout the film's two fire lit and indoor sequences. There is also some minor background noise but daylight colors have some impressive moments and detail throughout is very strong. The brownish hue present on the SD seems to have been left behind and the gorgeous cinematography holds up very well in the 2.4 widescreen ratio. I'd say that this MPEG-4 AVC Blu-ray transfer dynamically support the film's inherent tension and powerhouse performances to a high degree. If this is as good as the film is going to look on my home theater then I am adequately satisfied.
Audio: There is a new uncompressed PCM 7.1 track included as an option with the EX offering. This film presentation greatly benefits from separated audio - be it careening bullets, a steam locomotive or galloping horse hooves. Action and explosive thrill scenes give wonderful support to the film's edgy, suspense-driven narrative. Marco Beltrami's musical scores are fairly limited but sound exceptionally brisk and clean when called upon. I did make note that some of the dialogue, often hushed for impact, seem less audible and I found myself cranking the volume a notch or two to gain perspective. This dialogue is supported by optional English SDH, or Spanish, subtitles.
There appear to be some add-ons not present in the SD edition which mimic the adept commentary from director Mangold. Not technically stellar but he covers quite a bit of ground. 3 duplicated featurettes - dealing with production, history and a quasi 'making of..' . Finally there the 7 short-ish deleted scenes (BUT IN HD!).
On top of those are Guns of Yuma, a six minute featurette on what 'personal artillery' was chosen, and why, for each character. Sea to Shining Sea looks at the history, development and problems, with the inception of the transcontinental railroad. It runs almost 20 minutes. I was very keen on A Conversation With Elmore Leonard but wished it was longer than the limited 5 minutes. He talks about selling his stories and how popular the western shorts were back in his days as a young writer ('the only publication not buying them was the Ladies Home Journal').
There is also a 'Blu-line' feature that you could access and disengage with the four color buttons of your remote. To be honest I had some trouble getting this to work properly for me and don't have much to say about its usage. It sounded promising though.
BOTTOM LINE: I've already extolled the film - hoping it will rejuvenate the historical western genre for modern audiences. Although my stratospheric expectations were not quite met for the image - it still represents an impressive presentation which, by the way, I've watched three times now. The Blu-ray DVD with strong extras, looks and sounds great - the best way to see this riveting film in the comfort of your home. This will be the best presentation of this film on DVD.