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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Walk the Line: Extended Cut (2005)

“You know what your problem is, June Carter? You’re afraid to be in love, you are afraid of losing control, and you know what June Carter, I think you are afraid of livin’ in my big fat shadow.”
- Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: April 09, 2008

Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick
Other Stars: Dallas Roberts, Dan John Miller, Larry Bagby, Shelby Lynne, Tyler Hilton, Waylon Mallory Payne, Shooter Jennings, Sandra Ellis Lafferty, Lucas Till
Director: James Mangold

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult situations, language)
Run Time: 02h:32m:57s
Release Date: March 25, 2008
UPC: 024543487951
Genre: drama


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A AAA- B+

DVD Review

The 2005 biopic Walk the Line chronicled the legendary life and times of late music legend Johnny Cash. It garnered universal acclaim and awards, including three Golden Globes and five Oscar Nominations, including the Best Actress trophy for Reese Witherspoon. All that success means it's no surprise that we're due for a third DVD release of the film. Fortunately, Walk the Line: Extended Cut offers us not only a longer version of the film, but also some new, informative extras that give even more insight into the life of the Man in Black.

While preparing to go onstage at Folsom Prison in 1968, Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) reminisces about his days as young J.R. (Ridge Canipe) growing up in the cotton fields of Arkansas. He lives with his religious mother, Carrie (Shelby Lynne), strict father, Ray (Robert Patrick), and older-brother Jack (Lucas Till). When Jack suffers a fatal accident, J.R. struggles to get on his father’s good side, as he has always favored his older brother, and isn’t afraid to tell the younger sibling just that. Now an adult, Johnny joins the Air Force and meets Vivian (Ginnifer Goodwin), whom he marries and settles down to start a family with. Stuck in a dead-end job as an appliance salesman, Johnny keeps up with his true passion, music. After catching a huge break, Johnny tours with numerous musical legends, including June Carter (Reese Witherspoon). These two verbally spar with each other at first, but it isn’t long before they realize they’re in love, and the rest is musical history.

The first time around, Walk the Line struck me as a bit overrated—too long, with seemingly endless musical sequences. However, this Extended Cut has oddly actually given me a greater respect for James Mangold’s biopic. The extended scenes give us these mesmerizing performances an unrelenting power that practically demands that we focus, both audibly and visually, on the proceedings. Even though he’s working in a genre that often features over-the-top performances and heavy-handed direction, Mangold keeps things simple, and true to Cash’s style and “Man in Black” persona. If Johnny had lived long enough to see the finished film, let alone this new cut, he would have been more than pleased.

I’m sure if I was a bigger fan of Cash’s music, I’d think even more highly of the film, but I just can’t listen to these tunes on a regular basis. Still, there’s no question that Cash’s catalog deserves its place among rock and country’s greatest hits, often transcending conventional genre distinction. Plus, my not being a lover of this music, yet a fan of a film that features a ton of it, speaks volumes about the quality of the movie. Mangold adds just the right amount of artistic flair to things (beginning the picture at Folsom Prison, and, essentially, using a long flashback for the rest), but the focus is always on Cash and June Carter.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: This 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is virtually identical to that included on the previous DVD releases of the film. Once again, we get nicely detailed and sharp images throughout, with rich, delineated colors that are bright and vivid. Fortunately, print flaws are virtually nonexistent.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Spanish, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes
DTSEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The audio options are also the same as the previous releases, with Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0, and DTS tracks available. The music sounds excellent regardless of your preference, but the DTS provides the richest, most dynamic audio experience, although it’s only slightly better than the DD 5.1.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 40 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Once, Waitress
2 Deleted Scenes
2 Documentaries
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Co-Writer and Director James Mangold
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Johnny Cash Jukebox: Extended Musical Sequences
Extras Review: While the bulk of the extras can be found on Disc 2, the first disc does feature and audio commentary track with co-writer/director James Mangold. This is the same informative, engaging track that was included on the previous DVD releases, and if you’ve yet to experience it, it’s well worth checking out.

Disc 2 begins with Johnny Cash Jukebox: Extended Musical Sequences, which run for over 16 minutes. These eight clips from the cutting room floor also feature optional introductions by various people who provide a background on each song.

More Man in Black: Deleted Scenes includes a pair of cut sequences that didn’t even make it in the Extended Cut. These don’t add much to the story, but they run for over six minutes, and do feature optional commentary by Mangold.

Becoming Cash/Becoming Carter is an 11-minute featurette that focuses on the lead performances by Witherspoon and Phoenix. We get interview footage of Mangold, among others, as he talks about the casting process and how the creative teamput together the cast.

Next, Sun Records & the Johnny Cash Sound takes us on a 12-minute trip to the Memphis studio where Cash and many others recorded their music. There’s more interview footage, but this time it’s mostly renowned musicians who discuss Cash and the history of Sun Records.

The Cash Legacy has more talk from the musicians in the previous featurette, but this 15-minute piece focuses entirely on Cash and his incomparable musical style. The focused Folsom: Cash and the Comeback centers on the infamous show Johnny put on at Folsom Prison in California in 1968, and lasts nearly 12 minutes.

Ring of Fire: The Passion of Johnny and June takes an 11-minute look at the complex relationship between Cash and June Carter, while Cash and His Faith is another 11 minutes of discussion about Cash’s religious beliefs and their ties to his music.

Celebrating the Man in Black: The Making of Walk the Line is the most comprehensive piece on this disc. Lasting 21 minutes, this mini-documentary tells us everything we need to know about Cash and the making of the film, via interviews with those who have popped up in the other extras.

There’s also the original theatrical trailer for Walk the Line, as well as trailers for the Fox releases Once and Waitress.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

Sure, it might seem like just another opportunity for Fox to milk more money out of Walk the Line’s success, but this two-disc Extended Cut is much more. Not only do we get to experience a more comprehensive, arguably more effective, version of this biopic, but we also get stellar audio and video, as well as enough new extras to please fans for quite some time.

 


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