Writer-director Lawrence Kasdan’s cast of contemporary faces – Danny Glover, Jeff Goldblum, John Cleese, Linda Hunt, Kevins Kline and Costner – suggested that Silverado would be a revisionist Western. Instead, its characters, dialogue and shots are almost obsequiously faithful to the genre’s established rules and conventions, as though Kasdan intended to revive, not revise, the Western for a new generation. Viewed today, after such watershed Westerns as Dances with Wolves, Unforgiven and even Deadwood, its matinee-serial exuberance – personified by Costner in a breakthrough performance – makes it seem terribly old-fashioned, but its desire to entertain is irresistible. Why composer Bruce Broughton didn’t sue John Williams when Jurassic Park came out remains a mystery.
Extras: Kasdan clarifies his intentions for the film in an in-depth retrospective ‘making of’, just as listening to Costner reminisce in the ‘Return to Silverado’ featurette shows why Silverado inspired him to direct. The John Cleese-narrated ‘History of Western Shootouts’ featurette turns out to be a hideous extended ad for other Sony Westerns, but there’s much to learn in the commentary by three Western historians. Commentary with Kasdan and the ensemble cast would have been preferable. A deck of branded playing cards – sadly not in authentic Wild West style – and a 20-page photo-essay fill out the gift set.