Release Date(s)2007 (May 2, 2017)
Studio(s)Relativity/Tree Line (Lionsgate)
- Film/Program Grade: A-
- Video Grade: B-
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: B
[Editor’s Note: The 4K portion of this review is by Bill Hunt, while the original film review is by Barrie Maxwell.]
The arrival of any new western nowadays is always welcome, but when it’s a really good western, it’s cause for celebration. Such an arrival is 3:10 to Yuma, a remake of the film of the same title from 1957. Remakes are always a source of trepidation for me, especially when the original is a superior effort starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin. In it, Ford played an outlaw who is finally caught and must be transported to the train for Yuma. Heflin plays a farmer down on his luck who, in exchange for money, agrees to bring Ford to the train even though faced with seemingly insurmountable odds in the form of Ford’s gang, who have sworn to free their leader. The remake stars Russell Crowe and Christian Bale in the Ford and Heflin roles respectively and remains fairly true to the original story.
One of the original’s particular strengths was the outlaw leader, a thoughtful and philosophical character well portrayed by Ford. Crowe is equally good in the remake. The Heflin character is better delineated in the remake and again well played by Bale. Ben Foster also adds a good deal of edginess to the proceedings as Crowe’s right-hand man. The ending of the original film was somewhat perfunctory after the suspenseful build-up and the remake improves on it substantially, even if it errs a little on the side of over-the-top and unrealistic action typical of current-day action films.
Lionsgate’s 4K Ultra HD release presents 3:10 to Yuma in the proper 2.40:1 widescreen theatrical aspect ratio, with good, if warm, colour fidelity that’s particularly apparent in skin tones and the brown and green textures of the Western setting. The film was shot photochemically in Super 35 format and was mastered to a 2K Digital Intermediate. There’s a softness and grittiness to the image that reveals its original film source, but there’s not enough fine detail to suggest a fresh 4K scan of the negative. There is also a little bit of edge enhancement visible, that was apparent on the previous Blu-ray as well, so this is likely a 2K upconvert. The image does, however, show better texturing than the Blu-ray (which is included in the package), and a restrained HDR10 color grading pass adds a measure of realism to the presentation.
The 4K disc’s English DTS:X soundtrack (7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio compatible) fares a good deal better, improving on the Blu-ray’s PCM 7.1 audio mix with added clarity and naturalism, more precise movement and panning in the surrounds, and nice use of the overhead channels for ambience and gunfight echoes. The LFE foundation is also more solid, with a good deal of added heft. Those who like chugging locomotives and authoritative pistol shots in their westerns will find themselves well rewarded. Additional audio options on the 4K disc include an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track optimized for late night listening, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and French Dolby Digital 2.0. Subtitle options include English SDH and Spanish.
Lionsgate have provided a wealth of supplementary material on the 4K Ultra HD disc, carried over from the original Blu-ray, all of it in HD. There are seven featurettes covering such aspects as the making of the film, the various guns used, the music, historical background (western myths and reality), and a conversation with the original story author, Elmore Leonard. There is also a very informative audio commentary by director James Mangold and seven deleted scenes. The Blu-ray edition further offers the theatrical trailer and an interactive pop-up feature that provides some in-depth information on selected scenes of the film. Finally, there is a digital copy code on a paper insert in the package.
Overall the 2007 version of 3:10 to Yuma is a very entertaining and, in many respects, old-fashioned western that just has you smiling with contentment once it’s all over. Director James Mangold is apparently a fan of the original and it shows in his exciting remake. Highly recommended.
- Barrie Maxwell