Cowboys and Aliens - Blu-ray Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

Thread Tools
post #1 of 23 Old 11-26-11, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
Elite Shackster
Dale Rasco's Avatar
Dale Rasco
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Houston, Tx
Posts: 4,127
My System
Cowboys and Aliens - Blu-ray Review

Title: Cowboys and Aliens
Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, David Carradine, Adam Beach
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Written by: Robert Orci, Alex Jurtzman
Studio: Universal
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 119 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: 12/6/2011


HTS Overall Score:91


1875. New Mexico Territory. A stranger (Craig) with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don't welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). It's a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he's been, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a fighting chance against the alien force.

When I first heard of Cowboys and Aliens I thought to myself “hmmm, this should be interesting”. When I saw the first trailer for it I was kind of indifferent. There was no “WOW” factor that really caught my attention and made me want to go to the theater and see it. After watching it, twice actually, I can say that you really shouldn’t miss seeing this movie. I think it plays exceptionally well to the home theater crowd as the sound design is very dynamic and engaging and the PQ is top notch.

That doesn’t mean that this is the perfect film by any stretch. It can be a bit slow at times and some of the action/thriller/light comedy mix comes out a bit off balance. But overall I found it to be quite an enjoyable little ride. I watched the theatrical and extended versions of the film and found that the missing scenes in the extended version were little more than character development type of stuff that didn't make much difference. There was one scene in particular though that I think should have been kept in the theatrical version involving Dolarhyde (Ford) and his quazi-adopted Indian son Nat played admirably by Adam Beach. This scene in particular adds weight to another scene near the end of the film that IS in the theatrical version.

Overall the acting in the film was pretty good but nothing to write home about. I thought Harrison Ford did a very good job as the cattle owner whose tactics border on the questionable from time to time and he did stretch himself from his normal "likeable scoundral" facade. As mentioned before, Adam Beach did a great job; Olivia Wilde was ok but cast as little more than eye candy. Daniel Craig was basically playing his James Bond persona with a cowboy hat and American accent; very stoic and few words.

As a film, Cowboys and Aliens isn’t quite the genre defining movie that the filmmakers hoped it would be and it barely made back its reported budget of $163 million. Still, it is an entertaining popcorn movie that should play well for a nice movie night. I will caution parents that the aliens in the film are quite scary and very vicious in the fight scenes. If I were to compare the violence to another film I would say that it’s somewhere in the Super 8 and/or Cloverfield category.

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of western and sci-fi action and violence.

‘Cowboys and Aliens’ is presented in 1080P AVC MPEG-4 high definition with an aspect ratio of 2:40.1. The results are about what we have come to expect from a major blockbuster when they finally reach Bluray these days. The resolution and clarity are about as good as I have ever seen with incredibly well defined details that just pour off of the screen. Colors are warm most of the time except with certain flashback scenes involving Craig’s character and a scene at the end involving Olivia Wilde’s character however those scenes are meant to have the color pulled from them and are no doubt a spot on version of what Jon Favreau had intended. There are some gorgeous landscape shots that really make your jaw drop even though they don't last as long as I would have liked them to. Sepia tones are mostly the prevalent throughout highlighted with molten gold and occasional vibrant greens of the landscape. Fleshtones vary from accurate to just a bit warm but seem representative of each scene. Black levels are near perfect except for two scenes where just a hint of crushing appears. Finally, I couldn’t find any deficiencies with this transfer at all and the only thing that kept it from a perfect score was comparing it to the recent Transformers: Dark of the Moon release which is pretty much the bar at this time.

The audio fares only marginally better than the video and is just as impressive as most other films that have been recently released. This is an extremely dynamic and very well balanced 5.1 DTS-HD-MA presentation. The imaging is wonderful as horses gallop off the screen and exit through the rear surrounds. Voices on and off screen are directionally prefect and add a lot of depth to the overall experience. The action sequences are engaging and flawlessly executed as gunfire, alien weaponry and even ambient sound as the action draws to a close are all brilliantly presented. The surround presentation is a bit slow to get started as it is more dependent on the action to really take off and dialogue is very clear, crisp and textured. One thing that stood out to me was the amazing score put together by Harry Gregson-Williams. From brilliant guitar pieces to a truly inspiring composition that plays with a long vast shot of the landscape as our heroes prepare to do battle with the alien invaders, the entire score was truly remarkable.

  • Conversations with Jon Favreau
  • Igniting the Sky: The Making of Cowboys and Aliens
  • Feature Commentary
  • DVD and Digital Copy

As I said before, I found Cowboys and Aliens to be a fun ride and a good time for the whole family. It is fairly well paced but does have a couple of moments that feel just the tiniest bit long. The characters are fun but forgettable and there is nothing that will really appeal long term to most. I will probably revisit it a time or two in the near future before it finally finds its way to my shelf where it will sit indefinitely until I rediscover it in a year or so. If you like movies that don’t require any thought and are just a fun time then I highly recommend picking this one up. Those of you looking for a genre defining film that will provoke a big “What if?” need to keep looking. Recommendation: Rent It!

Recommendation: Rent It!

Official Blu-Ray Reviews Scoring

Dale Rasco

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." -Thomas A. Edison

Dale Rasco and Temple of Boom REDUX

Shiva 12" Build
Dale Rasco is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 23 Old 11-26-11, 08:12 PM
Senior Shackster
HuskerOmaha's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 295
My System
Re: Cowboys and Aliens - Blu-ray Review

Just finishing this one up. Probably shouldn't have let my 2.5 year old watch parts of this; probably will have to watch some Toy Story before he goes to bed!

The video was great, the audio fit well. Now I know why they haven't made a Cowboys and Aliens movie before. I was super excited to see this in the theater, it got so so reviews, and then I had forgotten about it until now.

Not a bad watch, some slow parts, overall not a bad 2 hours...except Ford's son in the movie could have been cast much better.

Great scenery and solid musical score as Dale said!
HuskerOmaha is offline  
post #3 of 23 Old 11-26-11, 10:40 PM
Elite Shackster
Jon Liu's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Irvine, CA
Posts: 1,497
My System
Re: Cowboys and Aliens - Blu-ray Review

Thanks for the review, Dale! I was really excited for this one in theaters, but got turned off by all the reviews. I will likely put this on my list of movies for Christmas. Eitherway, it sounds like I still may like this one yet!

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
Jon Liu is offline  
post #4 of 23 Old 11-27-11, 08:12 AM
Senior Shackster
Dwight Angus's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Barrie Ontario Canada
Posts: 903
Re: Cowboys and Aliens - Blu-ray Review

Good review Dale. I was going to pass on this one and you have confirmed that for me. Cheers

Mains Goldenear Triton One's
Center Channel- Goldenear Super Centre XL
Surrounds- Goldenear SuperSat 50's
Amps - Bryston 4Bsst2/Emotiva XPA-5
Processor -Onkyo PR-SC5508
Projector - Sony VPL-HW55ES
Screen- Elunevision 140 inch 4K Audio Weave. Aspect ratio 2.35 gain 1.2 fixed screen
Bluray/Universal player-OPPO 105D
Dwight Angus is offline  
post #5 of 23 Old 11-27-11, 05:05 PM
HTS Senior Moderator
Prof.'s Avatar
The Mad Professor
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Murraylands South Aust
Posts: 8,317
My System
Re: Cowboys and Aliens - Blu-ray Review

Good one Dale..
This is one movie that I've had mixed feelings about whether to buy it or not..
I don't have the luxury of renting it first, so i have to decide if it's worth buying or not..

There are a mixture of reviews around that range from good to really bad..and I think you've nailed it on the head..
Harrison Ford is one of my favourite actors and I don't mind Daniel Craig either, so on that basis and your review, I might just buy It..

Home Theatre...the never ending story!
Prof. is offline  
post #6 of 23 Old 11-29-11, 05:34 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: medford nj
Posts: 46
Re: Cowboys and Aliens - Blu-ray Review

Wow this is a Great movie. Kind of a cross between Indian Jones and Star Wars,a must see movie. It is a little
long could have been 20 mins shorter,but I say that about every movie.

SALESEPHOTO is offline  
post #7 of 23 Old 12-08-11, 10:39 AM
kflory's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 82
My System
Re: Cowboys and Aliens - Blu-ray Review

I anticipated this movie coming to the theaters (first one in a while) and was not disappointed.

No, this is not a genre defining movie, but is is a great movie none the less (and worthy of the 91 rating) and I recommend seeing it.

I pre-ordered this movie and will arrive today. No question I wanted to buy it for my collection.

I know it will be even more fun to watch at home.
kflory is offline  
post #8 of 23 Old 12-09-11, 03:50 PM
Senior Shackster
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Studio City, CA, USA
Posts: 458
My System
Re: Cowboys and Aliens - Blu-ray Review

It was a blast. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

I bought it rather than rented it, and I'm a little on the fence about that decision, but I'm not upset, either.
KalaniP is offline  
post #9 of 23 Old 12-09-11, 07:36 PM
Elite Shackster
JBrax's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,185
My System
The wife and I just watched it last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I've found that since putting together my system if the audio portion of the movie is good then sometimes I don't really care if the story is lacking. I also found the picture quality to be very clear and detailed.
JBrax is offline  
post #10 of 23 Old 12-11-11, 10:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 175
Re: Cowboys and Aliens - Blu-ray Review

JBrax wrote: View Post
The wife and I just watched it last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I've found that since putting together my system if the audio portion of the movie is good then sometimes I don't really care if the story is lacking. I also found the picture quality to be very clear and detailed.
Ditto ^^^

Fortunately BluRay has the capability to entertain even without a perfect storyline playing out, and this movie is a great example of that. That's not to say the action wasn't any good though; I actually feel like some of the hand to hand fight scenes were very well-done, and worth a mention for their speed and intensity.. No fake-looking punches thrown in this movie!
Spuddy is offline  


aliens , bluray , cowboys , review

Quick Reply

Register Now



Confirm Password
Email Address
Confirm Email Address
Random Question
Random Question #2

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address



Activation requires you reply to an email we will send you after you register... if you do not reply to this email, you will not be able to view certain areas of the forum or certain images... nor will you be able download software.


See our banned email list here: Banned Email List

We DO NOT respond to spamcop, boxtrapper and spamblocker emails... please add @hometheatershack DOT com to your whitelist prior to registering or you will get nowhere on your registration.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML is not allowed!
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome