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[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=7467[/img]
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


Movie: :4stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :5stars:
Extras: :4stars:
HTS Overall Score:91

Summary:

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.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=7468[/img]


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.

[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=7469[/img]
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.

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

Video: :4.5stars:
‘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.


Audio: :5stars:
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.

Extras: :4stars:
  • Conversations with Jon Favreau
  • Igniting the Sky: The Making of Cowboys and Aliens
  • Feature Commentary
  • DVD and Digital Copy

Overall: :4.5stars:
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
 

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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! :unbelievable:

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!
 

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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!
 

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

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Good one Dale..:T
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..
Thanks..
 

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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.

Larry
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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! :D
 

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I thought this movie was good but not a must watch. The video was good but not a ton of special effects or wow factor. The audio was ok but I felt it was a little lacking. The alien scenes offered some good bass but it was few and far between. Good movie but nothing special. 7/10
 

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This was one that I was actually going to pass on. When I saw the previews I thought it was silly, but I broke down and stuck it in my Blockbuster queue and it finally arrived. We had some friends over and we all decided to give it a watch. I admit, I ended up liking it pretty well. There were a couple of scenes that really made me jump and yelp a bit, which is unusual for me. I was not crazy about the cowboy/indian vs alien fighting towards the end... I guess I was hoping for something a little more involving and interesting, something other than the typical ole cowboy vs indian style fighting... that part was rather boring. But overall, I would give it a good 3.5 out of 5 stars and will watch it again at some point.
 

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We are sci-fi nuts.
We really like Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.
So Cowboys & Aliens .... we are in!!!

Well it was just OK.
Somehow it just missed the mark on all fronts.
On the Netflix ratings we gave it 3 stars.
 

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On the Netflix ratings we gave it 3 stars.
I was pretty excited after finding out that they were making this movie, but for some reason still have not gotten around to seeing it. Being another sci-fi nut, that's sort of inexcusable... so will try to get Netflix to send the disc unless I find a deal somewhere that's too good to refuse.
 

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I saw this movie and would not include it in the must watch category. I am a fan of sci-fi and thought based on the previews that it would be decent, but it just wasn't that good of a story. I will say this however, that the blu-ray sound was very good. The aliens just were not very believable.
 

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Great review! Like you, I loved this for what it was, an action summer sci-fi movie to eat a lot of popcorn with! I also agree with JBrax, you don't have to have an impressive story to have an impressive experience in Blu-ray!
 

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This movie, at first, sounds like an improbable combination. It would NOT have been possible without modern special effects. I applaud the creators for having the guts to put together such a seemingly incongruous combination and making it fun and entertaining. Plus I think Olivia Wilde has stunning facial structure. LOL.
 

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Went ahead and ordered this one since I found a great deal on it and am now looking forward to watching it. I do like the cast in this movie, but from the trailers that I've seen, Daniel Craig seems like he might be a little out of place in it. On the other hand, he made a much better James Bond than I would have thought possible.
 

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I enjoyed the out of this movie. I was hoping for a little more uncut in the unrated version. Overall I think they did a great job with this Bluray.
 
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