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Ghost Canyon

'Comanche Moon'
(Val Kilmer, Steve Zahn, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2008 / Sony Pictures)

Overview: Texas Rangers Woodrow Call and Augustus McCrae pursue three outlaws, Comanche war chief Buffalo Hump, Comanche horse thief Kicking Wolf and a Mexican bandit king. Now in their middle years, they also struggle with their personal lives, Gus with Clara Forsythe, the love of his life, and Call with Maggie Tilton, the young prostitute who loves him. Meanwhile their partners-in-arms Deets, Jake Spoon and Pea Eye Parker help the Rangers protect the advancing western frontier from the defiant Comanches who are determined to defend their land and way of life. Prequel to Lonesome Dove, and based upon the novel by Larry McMurty.

DVD Verdict: Aside from the novelty of watching the events that lead to Lonesome Dove, there is little to recommend in this final chapter of McMurtry's saga. McMurtry teamed with "Brokeback Mountain" partner Diana Ossana to adapt the novel into this six-hour film, and the result is a handful of powerful moments stretched across a throwback to the silly Western shams of the 1950's.

The acting is either hokey or downright over the top, as in the case of Val Kilmer, whose Captain Inish Scull seems to have been played for laughs. Steve Zahn's Gus McCrae is the only bright spot. Zahn captures McCrae's loneliness, and humor, with just the right tone. Sadly, Karl Urban's bland Woodrow Call makes Tommy Lee Jones look like a clown in comparison. And worse, Urban and Zahn have no chemistry.

The screenplay feels like one big reflection on Lonesome Dove, and its sloppy narrative blows across the wasteland of this miniseries like a tumbleweed. Elizabeth Banks, as Maggie, is dull until she starts to cough. Linda Cardellini's Clara is marginally alive. Ultimately, one can only wish McMurtry would have walked away after Lonesome Dove, and allowed that majestic masterpiece to sit alone.

That all said, for as my mother always used to say 'There has to be good in everything if you look hard enough,' well ... as this is where it all began it's kinda fun seeing the characters at this early stage in their lives - trying to figure out who is who and remembering what happens to them later. Ever wonder how Blue Duck got so nuts? You know, that kinda thing! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:

Behind-The-Scenes of "Comanche Moon”
“Riding Into The Sunset” Featurette
“Comanche Heritage” Featurette