[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
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.
[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.
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!
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