The Missing

DVD Reviews | Mar 4th, 2005

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Starring Cate Blanchett, Tommy Lee Jones, Evan Rachel Wood, Jenna Boyd, Aaron Eckhart, Eric Schweig, Jay Tavare, Sergio Calderón, Simon Baker, Max Perlich, Val Kilmer
Written By:
Directed By: Ron Howard
Studio: Columbia / TriStar
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I never got a chance to see this in the theaters but I kind of wanted to check it out because I love western setting movies and films with Native Americans in it. Even though in the Missing, most the bad guys are Native Americans. But I felt the movie could have been better in some areas but overall I enjoyed the film.

The story takes place in 1885 and is about a plainswoman named Maggie (Cate Blanchett) raising her young daughters Lily and Dot (Evan Rachel Wood, Jenna Boyd) in New Mexico. One day, Maggie’s long estranged Father “Jones” (Tommy Lee Jones) comes back to see her and wants to make amends. Then the next day Maggie’s daughter Lily is kidnapped by a creepy looking Apache Indian who’s an evil witch doctor. The band of Apaches and a couple of bad cowboys are going to bring a group of girls (including Lily) to sell to people in Mexico. Maggie puts her feelings aside for her Father and has him help get her Daughter back before it’s too late.

One thing that I thought made me like the movie was I didn’t really know anything about it before watching the DVD. I remember seeing the movie trailer but don’t really remember any scenes. I think the back of the DVD’s description is a little misleading because they said Chidin’s character had shape-shifting abilities. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember seeing that in the entire movie. He did spiritual rituals and stuff like that but I didn’t see him change into something else. There was little hints that the animals might have been him like the owls, lions, or wolves but that’s it. Or maybe Chidin was controlling the animals? I think Tommy Lee Jones was meant to play the part of Jones, the enstraged Father who left Maggie and his family to live the Native American lifestyle. He did a good job with that part and Cate Blanchett was convincing as Maggie as well. Her accent takes a little while to get used to though. I can’t believe that Eric Schweig (Chidin) looks so different than he did in Last of the Mohicans. I didn’t know who the actor was until was watching the behind the scenes featurettes. Though they did put a lot of make up on him, and Eric is a lot older than he was in Last of the Mohicans. I was surprised to see other big actors make small appearances like Aaron Eckhart and Val Kilmer. Plus no Ron Howard movie isn’t the same without his brother Clint Howard in it. He was the sheriff of the local town.

To continue, I liked how the movie was shot. The cinematography was awesome, the scenery was incredible. The movie took a little awhile to get going but once Lily was kidnapped, it got more exciting I thought. The scene where Maggie finds Brake was pretty cool and gruesome at the same time. I think the movie could have been more suspenseful in some areas, but there was certainly a fair share of it in the film. I can see why the film was Rated R because of what the Native Americans do to their captives & enemies. Another reason why I thought the movie was good was because of James Horner’s score. He always uses Native American instruments and motifs in his scores so it was only fitting for him to use them for the Missing. The score’s theme had a Braveheart feel to it, mixed in with Thunderheart. It was probably one of his best scores in a long time.

There’s a lot of extras on here, and most of them are excellent. The first thing I looked at were the deleted scenes and most of the scenes involved Maggie interacting with Jones or her Daughters a lot more. Plus there was more scenes with Aaron Eckhart’s character but I can see why they were cut. There’s some outtakes on the second disc as well, and a lot of the scenes were of Cate Blanchett not firing a gun properly, or something going wrong with the horses. There’s quite a few featurettes and most of them are informative and good. The Making Of featurette was a half hour long and had interviews with the cast, Ron Howard & Brian Grazer and other people associated with the film. It shows behind the scenes footage and showed how hard it was to work on the movie since most of it was in the snow. Huh, I was ignorant and thought the South never had snow haha. The story of the Missing is a 5 minute featurette where Ron Howard talks about the book and how he got ahold of the story since it didn’t come “in-house” at Imagine. I liked the featurette on the Apache dialogue, that showed a lot of the cast trying to learn the language from Apache elders and consultants. One elder was the granddaughter of the Chiefs of the Apache, but I forgot the name. I always like featurettes on film scores because I love the scores! Ron Howard and James Horner were being interviewed and explained the process of creating a film score. For some reason, film score enthusiasts always give Horner grief because he always does the same stuff but I like it. I don’t care if it sounds the same as his other scores. There’s 3 alternate endings, and it’s pretty much the same things, except there were edited in different arrangements and other stuff happens than what you saw in the movie. I thought the ending they used in the movie was the best one though. Other extras include audio commentary, casting for the movie, photo galleries and a bunch of short films from/of Ron Howard.

– Three Alternate Endings
– The Short Films of Ron Howard
– 11 Deleted Scenes
– 11 Behind the Scenes Featurettes
– Director’s Commentary and Much More!

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Surround

Widescreen 2.40:1 Color (Anamorphic)


Favorite Scenes: Maggie discovering what happened to Brake and the girls. The scene when Maggie and Jones try to rescue Lily
Rating: Rated R
Running Time: 137 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: