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I must have seen a different version than the first person on the user
It's really, really good...Steve Zahn and Karl Urban are great together. Val Kilmer's character is much like he was in the novel, although the emphasis is on Gus and Call and the Comanches. We get to see what happened with Call and Newt's mother as well. I won't spoil it, but it gives a lot of insight into Call's character.
All the actors did a really convincing job. Steve Zahn had the biggest challenge, I thought, to follow Robert Duvall! There's a lot of action, humor, tragedy. It's got something for everyone. I can't wait until it airs, my family are all jealous I got to see it early!
What has hurt this film is everyone and their Aunt Matilda is comparing
it to its illustrious predecessor, which is always going to hurt any
show. If you take it as a western, it's a darned good show. We discover
how our characters in 'Lonesome Dove' wind up in the situations they
start up in (Such as: Why do two Texas Rangers, who live on adventure,
wind up in a dead town? And how did Gus manage to lose the love of his
life?) The performances are very good, and we see the exact same
mannerisms the characters will have down the road. The actors did a
very good job. The cinematography was superb, and while the music
didn't live up to the legendary score of nearly two decades past, that
was an impossible task, and it was still fine.
It also helped that we had three episodes, which you just don't see in a miniseries anymore. Heck, it's downright impossible to see a two part telefilm these days.
Fans of the western, rejoice!
I think the consensus is pretty unanimous about this recent TV
miniseries: it's okay but it's a far cry from "Lonesome Dove." It gets
compared to the latter simply because this a prequel to that famous
"Commanche Moon" is definitely worth a watch for any fan of westerns. Just don't expect it to be as intense as "Lonesome Dove." Steve Zahn and Karl Urban are not Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, and the characters they play aren't as strong as how Duvall and Jones portrayed the same two guys. Some say it's unfair to criticize this movie because of the comparison but you have to compare it - it's the story of the same two leading Texas Ranger characters: "Woodrow Call" and "Gus McCrae."
The main difference, I found, was that this prequel is a lot of slower and more relational (the two Rangers and their women) at times. Yet, I didn't mind that because the two main women were pretty ladies and generally likable and agreeable people. They were played nicely by Linda Cardelini ("Clara Forsythe") and Elizabeth Banks ("Maggie.").. They helped make this long movie palatable. If you've seen pictures of women in the Old West, none of them looked half as pretty as Cardelini and Banks, though. They were a joy for these male eyes to ogle. Maggie's son "Newt" was a wonderful kid, too - the kind of boy every parent would want..
The most interesting character, I thought, turned out to be "Inish Scull," played by Val Kilmer. As in the western film, "Tombstone," Kilmer almost steals the show from the leads. "Scull" is really an original, if I ever saw one: a strange dude, indeed.
Actually, all of the supporting actors in here did a fine job, from Keith Robinson's "Deets" to Wes Studi as "Buffalo Hump." I always find Studi to be fascinating, no matter what role he plays. I wish he had had a bigger role in this miniseries.
One thing this film has in common with "Lonesome Dove" and other good westerns: the scenery and photography. It's just beautiful at times and is a joy to watch. We also have an excellent director of this film: Simon Wincer, who directed "Lonesome Dove" and an another outstanding TV western, "Crossfire Trail." He also did two of my other favorite feature films, both based in his home country of Australia: "Phar Lap" and "Quigley Down Under."
Unfortunately, although I enjoyed this, "Commanche Moon" is nothing as good as the above-mentioned films.Yet, I still watched all of it and was sorry it ended, if that makes any sense. It made me want to watch Woodrow and Gus again, this time with Tommy Lee and Robert.
Note: The title page says this is 360 minutes. That must have included the TV commercials. The two-disc DVD version I saw was about 4 hours and 40 minutes.
There have been some harsh criticisms of Comanche Moon on IMDb. I think
this is for three reasons. First, purists are disappointed that the
mini-series is not exactly like the book. Second, it's not as good as
the original Lonesome Dove. Finally, people like to complain on IMDb
and the greatest films in the world will have bad comments.
I would like to say that no movie is going to be as good as the book. That's just the way it is. Lonesome Dove wasn't as good as the novel it was based on. Additionally, the movie of Lonesome Dove had some things left out ans switched around. That's just they way its going to be with a film adaptation of anything. So its a futile argument when looking at Comanche Moon.
I do agree it's not as good as the original Dove. But hey, nothing is. I know people that guide their lives by the lessons they learned from the Dove. If I was going to compare every book I read, movie I watched, and TV I viewed by Lonesome Dove; I would be perpetually unhappy.
This is a made for TV miniseries based on a prequel to Lonesome Dave (the novel) and sequel to Dead man's Walk, and that's what you get. It's the best TV I've seen in years. It's a fun set up for Lonesome Dove. We get to learn about the history of the Rangers we came to know and love in Dove. Zahn does an amazing job in recreating Gus McCrae. Elizabeth Banks and Linda Forenelli (sp?) also do great jobs as creating characters that help fill in the past of the rangers and Newt.
If/when it comes on again, I promise you'll enjoy it more than some crumby reality show.
I was able to watch all 3 episodes but have not read the book so I don't know if this was a faithful adaptation. I expected more action but thought the acting for the most part was pretty solid. Rachel Griffiths was a bit too over the top for me and Karl Urban was too stiff. Steve Zahn though was right on the money. I thought he sounded quite a bit like Robert Duvall and had a lot of the same mannerisms as well. It really made the connection for me that this was Gus in his younger days and it was for me the strongest aspect of the movie. A lot of familiar actors' faces among the Indians and it was different seeing Adam Beach as a pretty low down character. I'm accustomed to seeing him more of a good guy. Not sure I would run out and buy the DVD but it was certainly worth my time.
I am a big fan of Lonesome Dove and all the books in the series and I love the movie. I was happy to see that they finished up with Comanche moon. I have been a long time fan of Steve Zahn and was eager to see him in a serious role. I personally think that Steve Zahn has done an amazing job of re-creating Gus. I can't think of another actor who would have been better. He has the voice, the mannerisms, the pronunciation of word all down to a T. Granted, no one could ever hold a candle to Robert Duvall as Gus, but I think that Steve Zahn has done a pretty darn good job. Karl Urban acts the same in all the movies he has been in so he has made a good match for Woodrow Call. AS for the movie itself, yeah it's a little corny but can you really beat Lonesome Dove? No, I don't think so.
What shocked me about the COMANCHE MOON DVD (other than getting it for
just five dollars at WalMart) was just how enjoyable and poignant it
really was. As a serious reader who has read and reread all the classic
LONESOME DOVE novels, I knew a lot was going to be left out and
over-simplified, yet I wasn't prepared for how moved I was at the end.
First, the bad news. The Comanche side of the story is watered down and much of the impact is lost. In the book the father-son conflict between Buffalo Hump and his son Blue Duck is literally Shakespearean, with enormous intensity and passion. As the son of a Mexican woman Buffalo Hump brutally raped, Blue Duck is a symbol of tragic retribution, and the destruction he brings on Buffalo Hump is chilling and inevitable. ("The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices make means to plague us.") In the movie it just seems pointless, and random. Also in the book, Blue Duck is a symbol of change. He fights better with pistols and rifles than with the bow or the lance, and he leads an army of white drifters rather than native warriors. But in the movie these changes are glossed over, so the deeper meaning is lost.
On the other hand, the story of the Texans is told well and there are some amazing performances. Captain Scull and his sexy wife Inez are both annoying cartoon characters in the book, but Val Kilmer and Rachel Griffiths really succeed in making them not only charismatic and funny but strangely likable as well. It's interesting to note that in the book Inez Scull takes no part in any action outside of the bedroom, but in the movie she is far braver. During the Great Raid she actually joins the Rangers in fighting off the Comanches with a rifle! Normally I hate when these changes happen but here I felt it was right for the character and added a dimension of courage along with her cruelty.
Steve Zahn and Karl Urban are both terrific as Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call, but what really surprised me was how much Elizabeth Banks did as Maggie Tilton, the mother of Call's son Newt. In the books I always visualized Maggie as sort of drab and hopeless, but in the movie she's practically radiant, full of courage and good cheer no matter what the circumstances. (Whether a real prostitute on the frontier would glow like Elizabeth Banks is another question.) But it was nice to see that Maggie was more than just a victim. And some of the final scenes with Newt leaving his mother's home and saying goodbye to a young Jake Spoon were incredibly heartbreaking. These were not characters I cared about when I read the book (I was much more interested in the Comanches) but in the movie the brilliant performances really made me care.
All in all I think COMANCHE MOON the movie is really a very successful film -- if you take it on its own terms and don't compare it to the book.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm not sure this review contains spoilers, but I'm playing it safe by
indicating there might be. Regardless, it's unlikely anyone will watch
this film who isn't familiar with the book.
There's an old wisecrack about laboring mightily and bringing forth a mouse. "Comanche Moon" is such a mouse.
The novel focuses more on the Indians than the Americans. In adapting it for TV, McMurtry and Osanna rightly reasoned that the audience would be more interested in the whites than the reds. Unfortunately, there's little in the novel that we don't already know about Gus, Woodrow, and their friends. So the movie gives us mostly a portentous prehash of what will occur in "Lonesome Dove". The Indians -- who have their own story to tell -- are largely relegated to the background -- so much so that someone who hasn't read the novel will rightly wonder why it's titled "Comanche Moon".
The novel has no overall story line, or much of a "point". This could have been fixed in the movie, by more strongly drawing the contrast between the Indians losing their lands and way of life to the encroaching Americans, who bring "civilization". This opportunity was missed.
Unlike "Lonesome Dove", "Comanche Moon" has few extended scenes that develop character or relationships -- at least among the Americans. The extended scenes with the Indians have been largely removed or shortened. And for a (net) four-hour film, it is remarkably episodic and choppy. One gets the feeling the script was originally longer, and cut to reduce production costs.
The screenplay comprises mostly clichéd dialog, aphorisms, and platitudes. Coming from the author of "The Last Picture Show", it's a startlingly bad script. McMurtry and Osanna had the opportunity to fix problems with the story and characterizations, but did not.
Some of the best dialog from the novel is missing or altered, for no obvious reason. For example, Clara (Cassie) shows her intense hatred of Woodrow (Jack) by condemning Gus (Ennis) for always running off to be with his "pard". That tart little revelation of Clara's sexual jealously is gone. Then there's the scene where the ur-dense Woodrow warns Maggie not to let Jake Spoon "compromise" her. The exchange in the novel is shorter and harsher; the film tones it down, and doesn't portray Woodrow as quite the socially stupid, emotionally frozen stone he is. (When I read that scene in the novel, I wanted to punch Woodrow in the stomach -- or worse.)
There are other changes, some of them understandable. Inish Scull's eyelids are not cut off; to do so would like have required expensive CGI. But Buffalo Hump has no hump! (Perhaps it was felt unreasonable to ask Wes Studi to schlep around such a huge prosthesis.) And Buffalo Hump's character is "kindler and gentler". He is nowhere nearly as grotesquely violent as he was in the novels.
The only good thing about this near-turkey is Steve Zahn's remarkable performance -- not so much as Gus McCrae, but as Robert Duvall playing Gus McCrae. It is uncanny. He perfectly duplicates Duvall's mannerisms and manner of speech, without ever appearing "deliberate" or self-conscious. As was Duvall, he is wholly "within" the character. And he actually shows us Gus becoming "more Gus" in the third part of the film.
The best thing about "Comanche Moon" is that it won't spoil your affection for "Lonesome Dove", not just a great Western, but a great American film.
PS: For those who think Rachel Griffiths was over the top -- that's the way she was in the book.
While I would agree that this is no Lonesome Dove, I did find it to have a few good scenes. The cowboy scene where they discuss what a genius is was one of them. However, the greatness of the original was how the characters were written and developed. I don't really see that with this installment, but keep in mind, the first part of Lonesome Dove paled in comparison to the 2nd and 3rd parts. I have always been a fan of Steve Zahn. It is never easy to take on a role made famous by someone else. I thought Zahn had many of the mannerisms that Duvall used down pat. I noticed the Gus finger wave and the head shake. However, the writing wasn't good enough to make me stop watching the actor and start paying attention to the story. I wouldn't call it a waste of time, since westerns are few and far between, but I wouldn't call it great TV either. I'll watch the rest.... if there isn't a game on.
I viewed the first two nights before coming to IMDb looking for some
actor info. I saw the 9+ rating which surprised me since I was not that
impressed by what I'd seen. (As reference, I happen to believe Lonesome
Dove was the best TV western ever. I grew up next to the MGM back lots
in Culver City in the 50s and have a certain sense of reverence about
the Western genre.)
So I saw the glowing first review and decided to read "more". There I found several reviews with 1 or 2 stars that summed up my feelings well about the lack of character development, poor editing, feeling that it was shot on the Universal back lot (MGM's is long gone), and overall impression that it was not going to come close to changing my feelings about LD. My impression is that the overwhelming vote of those who chose to write was "less than a 4.0".
This got me to wondering about the process that yields a 9+ rating. If the people giving the 10s and 9s do not take the time to justify their vote, is the ballot box being stuffed by people with a monetary motivation? I have long used IMDb as one tool to screen movies and thought it the best available. Now I am not so sure.
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