In a future where the polar ice-caps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged, a mutated mariner fights starvation and outlaw "smokers," and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl try to find dry land.
As epics go, this film ranks high on my list. I attribute this mainly to the screenplay, which is compelling, visual, and rich. The film follows the life of Wyatt Earp, from his boyhood, through the fight at the O.K. Corrall, and beyond.
Unlike other adaptations of the same subject (namely, Kurt Russell's Earp in 'Tombstone'), this film deals with the famous gunfight as merely a step in Earp's life. Rather, the film focuses on the man behind the legend. To do this, it looks at Earp's life in two stages: his life before, and after, a major transition.
Contrary to what some may think, Kevin Costner does a very good job portraying the lawman. His character experiences a wealth of emotion, but the script is so well written that Costner does not need to stretch himself to portray Earp effectively.
The film comes together so well because of an excellent musical score, visually stunning cinematography, and strong acting by the supporting characters. It draws the viewer in, so much so that you do not feel you are watching a film, but are experiencing a moment in history. The direction by Kasdan is quite low-key, allowing the viewer to be drawn into the story, rather than simply showing it to us.
I recommend this film to anyone who enjoys epic stories, wonderful acting (particularly Dennis Quaid, although Tom Sizemore and Michael Madsen are excellent as well), and visually compelling shots. Do not let the length dissuade you: Kasdan's film is well worth the three hours.
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