Silverado Gift Set

Silverado Gift Set (1985)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Scott Glenn, Kevin Kline, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover, Brian Dennehy
Extras: Featurettes, Playing Cards, Scrapbook, Talent Files

With a great cast and a classic bad, greedy landowner rules a Western small town until the good guys come in to run him down plot, "Silverado" is great fun for fans of the Western genre. It is a wonderful production that isn’t taking itself all too seriously either and pays with typical stereotypes and scenes to give them more impact, or to simply give them a new cache. Starring Scott Glenn, Kevin Kline, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover, Brian Dennehy, Jeff Goldblum, John Cleese, Rosanna Arquette and Linda Hunt to name but a few, the film’s credits read like a "Who’s Who" of 80s cinema. As a result the film features characters and portrayals that are lively cast and wonderfully rich even in fairly small parts. And while the story is formulaic and predicable it never gets in the way of the entertainment and sheer fun the movie is weaving.

Also of note is the movie’s cinematography and overall production design. Director Lawrence Kasdan does a great job keeping the pace of the film steady at all times so that he never loses the viewer’s attention and interest. The locations and characters are colorful enough to intrigue at all times and combined with the dry humor and atmospheric scenery you have a thoroughly lovable, fun-filled Western.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is presenting "Silverado" in its original 2.40:1 <$PS,widescreen> aspect ratio on this release in a Superbit transfer that is <$16x9,enhanced for 16x9> television sets. As a result the image is clear and clean throughout and holds an incredible level of detail. Colors are rich and vibrant, rendering the production in wonderful colors. The transfer has a good black level, making sure shadows are deep but never break up. No edge-enhancement is evident in the presentation and the compression is also without artifacts.

The audio side of the release contains a <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> track as well as a <$DTS,dts> track. Both of them feature a wide sound filed with aggressive use of the surround channels. Differences between the tracks are marginal to say the least but it is always good to have <$DTS,dts> audio as an option. The track has a good dynamic range and manages to perfectly reproduce the most subtle moments as well as the shootouts without problems. During the shoot outs you will hear bullets fly and zing around your head, making great use of the split surround channels, while in quite moments surrounds are used to great effect for ambient noises. Dialogues are well integrated and always understandable while Bruce Broughton’s score is coming through nicely with a good and natural sounding frequency response and great transparency. Optional subtitles are also included in a wide variety of languages.

On the second disc of the DVD set you will find a number of featurettes, such as "A Return To Silverado With Kevin Costner," "A History In Western Shootouts," narrated by John Cleese, a "Making Of" Featurette as well as "Along The Silverado Trail." The quality is quite good throughout and most of them are informative and entertaining. Especially John Cleese’s look at shoot-outs is very enjoyable.

The release is rounded out by trailers and Talent files. As a gimmick, the gift set also included a set of Silverado playing cards and a 20 page movie scrapbook. This full-color scrapbook contains liner notes and background information about the production of the movie, nicely complemented by wonderful stills form the film. The packaging design is so unfortunate however that the cards are not properly held in place and fly around the insides box and it will take you a few seconds to figure out where the actual DVD is, until you begin to carefully unlatch the spine of the packaging to see if maybe it is there. It is a most peculiar packaging design, and of course it once again completely breaks with the classic "Superbit" packaging and branding style, though at least it is bulky and makes you feel you’re getting your money’s worth.

"Silverado" is a lot of fun and highly enjoyable. The release is without flaws and brings us a top notch version of the film, beautiful and rich, complemented by a good number of quality supplements. Check it out!