It turns out that Russkie bird is a Cold War leftover equipped with live nuclear warheads, and the movie revs up to a rousing climax in which our heroes prove their mettle. But first the comedy: watching these codgers struggle to pass NASA's physical tests is a total hoot, with running gags about wrinkles, dentures, and oysters for sagging libidos. (Sutherland is the scene-stealer, but they're all having a blast.) Once in space, the movie gets down to business, and the visual-effects wizards at Industrial Light and Magic provide stunning vistas from Earth's orbit; a shot looking down at the boot of Italy is particularly beautiful. A sub-plot involving a weasely NASA administrator (James Cromwell) is rather perfunctory, but it hardly matters. Space Cowboys earns its wings, once again demonstrating Eastwood's comfort with any genre he chooses. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
On the DVD: Even though it boasts no sub-title like "Special Edition," this DVD has some of the nicest extras you'll want to see. There's nearly an hour of behind-the-footage material, all of it superior made-for-cable featurettes so often included on DVDs. The technicians divulge little tricks of the trade, revealing more computer effects in the film than you think. Longtime Eastwood editor Joel Cox provides insight into the director's work routine. The highlight, though, is an extended version of the four principle's appearance on The Tonight Show with Leno providing some interesting comments on how he chooses what films will "appear" on his show. --Doug Thomas, Amazon.com
Clint Eastwood plays Frank Crovin, an Air Force test pilot whose claim to fame is that he was replaced by a chimp! So he never made his dream debut on the moon. Forty years on- Houston has a problem and yes, you guessed it, they call upon Frank and his original crew (Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner) to help out.
Where this film succeeds in in its sheer ability to constantly take the mickey out of its concept. The geriatric jokes are good natured and often poignant as are the performances. And watching the fantastic four enter NASA headquarters dressed in leather jackets and wearing shades and strutting is worth the buying this video for alone. Yeah the premise is hokey and corny but Space Cowboys doesn't pretend to be rocket science, but it certainly splits the cinematic comedy atom. I was laughing throughout most of it.
Eastwood directs as well as stars and gives the film a steady pace and manages to coaxe fully rounded peformances from his co-stars. He also looks a great deal younger than his 71 years.
If you want to see a once in a lifetime cast take on the young 'uns with style, panache and gentle humour then you'll be over the moon with Space Cowboys. If the premise does not appeal then see Scary Movie instead and
They are ageing ex-astronauts that never made it into space - a thorn in their sides. Eastwood went on to design guidance systems for the space platform. One of the communication satellite that used his system is decaying and, unfortunately, none of today's hotshots know how to fix it. So the old space cowboys get a second crack to make it into space.
All four leads give warm, funny and outstanding performances, backed by powerhouse William Devane and James Hampton.
You just cannot miss these old cowboys showing they still have the right stuff!!!
Putting together Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner sounds like an idea that just can't fail to work on paper. But what I think does make it work in reality is that the actors themselves don't seem to be taking the whole project seriously and because this transfers onto the audience, you can easily put aside the trumped up plot idea and just let the action unfold.
The film does raise the serious point of ageism though and does it in a nice subtle way. No ramming messages down the throat here.
As I say, just sit back and enjoy the film for what it is and don't try to hard to think about the story. Enjoy the wonderful sight of the four "Cowboys" striding up to the front doors of NASA resplendent in leather jackets and shades. Enjoy the lovely sweet romantic moments between Tommy Lee Jones and Marcia Gay Harden. Chuckle along at the witty old-dog one-liners from Sutherland and revel in Eastwood's macho posturing which is still as good as ever.
The plot revolves around a crisis in space that is triggered when a Russian satellite malfunctions and is due to collide with Earth in densely populated areas, unless someone can repair it in space. The problem is that the technology on the satellite is obsolete and no one knows how to tackle it except the inventor of that technology, retired Air Force pilot Frank Corvin, played by Clint Eastwood.
Corvin agrees to do so, but only on condition that he and his top gun crew of forty odd years ago go into space to do it themselves. Having been kicked out of the space program in 1958, he wants an opportunity for them to do what they had come so close to doing in the past. NASA agrees, but only if this now geriatric quartet can pass the physical. Their preparation for their big moment provides some laughs, as they ultimately prove themselves the physical equal of their younger counterparts and exceed them in experience and wisdom.
Permission for them to go into space is reluctantly granted, but much to their consternation, they ultimately realize they have been sold a bill of goods. Not only has NASA not been dealing in good faith with them, but they eventually discover that a much more serious problem than a satellite malfunction exists. Unfortunately, they do not discover it until they are out in space.
What happen in space will keep the viewer glued to his or her seat. There is action, pathos, tension, and heroics. It is a film that says that one is never too old for adventure.
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