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Thirteen Days (DVD)
Kevin Costner stars in this inside look at how the Kennedy Administration responded to the discovery of offensive Soviet weapons in Cuba, and the pressurized tug-of-war that ensued between the US and the USSR during the thirteen days of the missile crisis.]]>
The first DVD released with the "Infinifilm" label, Thirteen Days is the perfect vehicle for the extensive extras loaded on this single disc. If you enable the Infinifilm feature, a pop-up window will appear every few minutes during the film. Select one of the options and you're whisked away for a 30-second to three-minute feature on numerous topics relating to the onscreen action, including documentary footage of the actual events described in the film, cast and crew interviews, a making-of feature on the film, filmographies, deleted scenes, and historical biographies. (All the special features are also available in their entirety in the Special Features area of the disc.) Each segment is labeled with its length, and when the feature is done, you are automatically returned to the same point in the film. It's a nice way to take a second, more in-depth look at the movie. Historians, news broadcasters, and even Khrushchev's son lend their voices to one commentary track, which also includes historic speeches. The other commentary track includes key filmmakers and insights from producer-actor Kevin Costner. The short deconstruction of the jet-flyover special effects is superb, as is the subtitle option that offers historical text about the onscreen action that can be engaged with or without the Infinifilm mode. --Doug Thomas
- Historical Commentary - John F. Kennedy, Sergei Khrushchev, Ernest R. May, Philip D. Zelikow and Pierre Salinger and historical speeches
- Documentaries: Roots of the Cuban Missile Crisis; Bringing History to the Silver Screen
- Visual effects scene deconstructions: Computer generated photo-realistic flight - Multiangle; Integration of archival footage into Final Film - multiangle
- Historical figures biography gallery
- Deleted scenes with director commentary
- DVD ROM: Script to screen
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This is the Cuban Missile Crises from the perspective of Kevin O'Donnell, Special Assistant to President Kennedy. This fact is the biggest flaw in the movie. O'Donnell was essentially Kennedy's appointment's secretary and political advisor, which is not a trivial role. However, it is almost impossible not to conclude after viewing this film that O'Donnell's role is very much inflated. This little fact is given away by the fact that Kevin Costner plays O'Donnell. O'Donnell is the one (if you can believe the movie) who figures out that the "back channel" contact from the KGB is directly from Khruschev. Golly, what was the CIA doing through all this? Nope, it took Kevin Costner to deduce this. Not only is he Kennedy's right hand man and political advisor, but he is the only competent intelligence analyst we have too? Come on.
The other flaw in the movie is the "Barbra Streisand" view of the military that it takes. This film portrays all of JFK's Joint Chiefs of Staff as slavering warmongers. Hollywood just couldn't restrain itself from trashing the military in a way that is neither subtle, believable, or in good taste. Well, doubtless Julia Roberts, Barbra, and the rest will be pleased. I was not.
Were it not for the inflation of O'Donnell/Costner's role (which wasn't believable) and the caricatures of the military men, this movie would have rated 5 stars. Other than these flaws it is a believable, well-acted, fast-paced, and well-directed depiction of a pivotal moment of the Cold War. Recommended despite the flaws.
The DVD is superb. Lots of nice extras. The sound and video are first-rate. Enjoy.