The Missing on DVD
If The Missing were a human being, it would probably work for a union.
Its extremely mediocre in just about every way, and doesnt appear
to be trying to be anything more. So, rather than just working for a union,
it would probably be the head.
First, lets talk about the impression the movie gives you based on the
trailers and the box. Having seen the trailers in the theatre, I was given the
impression that The Missing is some kind of supernatural thriller, featuring
some great thrills and chills. The lines
unaware of the frightening
events that lurk in the distance and
lying in wait is horror
so unspeakable it will change them forever! on the back of the box only
perpetuate the feeling. So needless to say, its more than a little disappointing
to discover that the movie is neither supernatural, nor thrilling.
Maggie (Cate Blanchett) is a young healer living in the plains, and raising
her two daughters, Lily (Evan Rachel Wood) and Dot (Jenna Boyd). When the children
head out into the woods with Brake (Aaron Eckhart), Lily is captured and taken
something. Just in the nick of time, Samuel Jones (Tommy Lee Jones),
Maggies estranged father, shows up to offer assistance. Maggie has to
put her hatred aside and allow the one man who can help her to do so. But lying
in wait is horror so unspeakable it will change them forever.
Well, not quite.
There are a few points in the film that give you a brief chill up your spine,
but they are right near the beginning and not really that chilling. The villain,
whom we were hoping was really, really cool, is not nearly bad enough; hes
just really ugly and unnecessarily mean.
To be fair, The Missing is well made. The screenplay by Ken Kaufman is well
written, Ron Howards direction is excellent, the performances (except
that by Jones, who plays the same character he always does) are top notch, and
the production design and cinematography are tops in their field. Its
a great looking movie that had plenty of potential, but suffers from sheer mediocrity.
Fortunately, theres enough going on to keep you from being too disinterested,
and the locations are beautiful.
The climax is a by-the-numbers shoot-'em-up romp thats hard to believe,
and even harder to sit through. The fact that everyone seems to have unlimited
bullets just doesnt do it for me. Add to that the fact that they seemed
really concerned about their ammo earlier in the film didnt make it any
It may not be your traditional Western, but The Missing offers a good way to
waste two and a bit hours. There are plenty of better movies out there, but
now that you know exactly what youre getting, youll probably be
less disappointed than I was.
One of the few theatrical disappointments in Ron Howards career, The
Missing still gets an excellent special edition that will appease fans of the
film. The picture is presented in the increasingly popular aspect ratio of 2.40:1
(a Pan&Scan version is sold separately), and the quality looks good, but
sometimes its hard to tell.
Theres not a lot of color in the film, particularly during the first
half, but detail is still pretty good, and theres very little grain or
dust. Fleshtones are well defined, and when there is color, its very sharp.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and is also very good. The front channels
do most of the work concerning dialogue and score, but sound effects (and the
occasional shout and a bit of the score) are spread evenly throughout the five
speakers. Rustling in the woods and other forest sounds are handled very well
to the point that they make you feel like youre a part of the movie, and
not just some schmuck sitting at home watching the whole thing.
Disc one houses the feature, while theres an entire second disc full
of extras. First is about 17 minutes of deleted scenes of varying quality. All
were understandably cut, since the movie is already too long, but some are good
enough that we would have forgiven the filmmakers for leaving them in. Theres
a short gag reel that seems out of place for such a serious movie, and it doesnt
help that its not the least bit entertaining. All three of the alternate
endings included offer slight variations on the final cut, but its hard
to decide which one would have worked the best.
There is over an hours worth of behind-the-scenes and making-of footage,
spread over a series of featurettes. They feature the usual cast and crew interviews
mixed with footage shot on location, but are noteworthy in that they actually
tell you about the course of the production. We also get 20 minutes or so with
Ron Howard himself, in which he talks about everything from home movies to editing
to Westerns, and we even get three of Howards short films from when he
was in school.
Finally, disc one has a few trailers for old and upcoming releases, including
Spider-Man 2 and Hellboy, both of which look really cool.
The Missing, from Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
137 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.40:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett, Evan Rachel Wood, Jenna Boyd, Eric
Schweig and Aaron Eckhart
Produced by Brian Grazer, Daniel Ostroff, Ron Howard
Screenplay by Ken Kaufman, Directed by Ron Howard
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