Cowboy and Aliens arrives at blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.40:1 encode. Although the movie may disappoint, this video transfer is simply outstanding. Colours are rich and accurately saturated. Skin tones are gorgeous (or grizzled when called on). Contrast is dark but perfectly suited to the genre-mashing action that unfurls, and black levels are inky. Details are also present.
I also appreciate the subtitles are put within the picture frame that has been stretched using anamorphic lens, plus the subtitles are placed where the person was speaking. Subtle improvement. (4.5/5)
Universal's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track splits the heavens and shakes the Earth with an aggressive, commanding and welcome assault on the senses (well, two of them at least) that won't soon be forgotten. All my 9 Wilson Audio WATT/Puppies speakers and my two Velodyne HGS-18 subwoofers were working to their maximum. Voices remain clear and intelligible, and lines are never lost in the madness. This superb soundtrack will simply blow you away (5/5)
It has an estimated budget of $163 million, and its opening weekend gross was even less than that of "The Smurfs"! And its domestic gross was a disappointly $140 million. It is an interminable bore of a movie, one that may have a technical sheen in high-definition, but lacks any kind of cinematic uniqueness. The script can only be seen more fully on the extended cut of the movie, which adds 16 minutes of dialogue and scenes that explore it a bit more, also making it the superior version. (3/5)
(1) Daniel Craig was chosen because of his distinct likeness to Steve McQueen, who starred in the cowboy epic, The Magnificent Seven.
(2) Did you know that Robert Downey Jr. was set to play Jake Lonergan, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
Even though the movie is a little boring, the video and audio presentations are top-notched, and demo worthy, especially the audio portion. I was pleasantly surprised and happy with my purchase. If you like 007 and Harrison Ford together with fantastic audio/video, then, this disc is recommended.
on 14 November 2012
This High-concept, designer popcorn blockbuster could have gone terribly wrong, so terribly easily. A pulpy, bone-head story idea taken from a comic book developed by a raft of writers, project-managed by another raft of producers, and realised by multiple special effects companies? Doesn't that sound like another fatally flawed Hollywood b-movie on steroids they hope pumps-up into something decent simply by dint the amount of on-screen gimmickry and money chucked at it, but which never manages to achieve escape velocity due to the colossal project weight it's hauling? Wouldn't you expect creative vitality and artistry to get lost in the crowd of film-makers involved? And how could such a formula product amaze and delight a jaded market saturated with this sort of glossy action-fodder?
Beats me. All I can tell you is that right from the opening scene, I found this glossy beastie grabs you and takes you on that great fun-filled ride you always hope for in a truly decent popcorn flick. It's a genuine treat: pure Hollywood escapism in the grand tradition. On a personal level, I'm delighted to find such a surprise reaction still possible in a cynical old viewer like me.
No doubt much of the success of this project is attributable to the sure-footed direction of Jon Favreau, who treats the inherently preposterous story premise seriously rather than playing it for the jokey, genre-bending film-funfest it could so easily have been (particularly in the hands of a younger director). Consequently everyone on board gets it right and successfully sells the thing to the audience. As an audience member you're in straight away, question nothing and settle-down for the fun. It all just works: beautifully judged performances and perfect dramatic pacing with no distractions.
On the DVD commentary, Favreau talks up the American Post-Modernist cineast thing of the genre manipulation underlying the artistic concept (specifically in this case The Western and Alien abduction Sci-Fi obviously) and doffs his cap to Stephen Spielberg and Ron Howard who both advised him as active supporters pushing the project. So the commentary makes the artistic success sound like an inevitable natural victory for the well-oiled Hollywood machine in the hands of experienced talent. But you have to wonder what a sparkier creative approach to genre such as Tarantino's might have delivered. Would he have been satisfied with yet another instance of an action script in which the American goodies (underdogs) surprisingly beat the alien baddies because once again the baddies fatally underestimate their plucky opponents and are also, lets face it, a bit crap at fighting? How many more times are we going to see that? Still, it seems a bit dumb to question credibility in this kind of story and churlish too given the fun successfully delivered. That final explosion is such a visual treat!
The only reason I haven't scored this 5 stars is because it isn't really a top classic --not original enough for that. But it most certainly satisfies as entertainment and does so against all cynical expectations.
The biggest surprise of last year after the dreary trailers that focused on the early night scenes in the picture at the expense of the rest of it, Cowboys and Aliens turns out to be a rather terrific crowd-pleaser (that admittedly didn't pull much of a crowd to please) that's a really satisfying western that just happens to have aliens in it. I'm really glad I caught this one on the big screen - it's shot on film in Scope and the old-school look pays off onscreen: it doesn't look like one of those obvious CGi/digital mashups. Even the special effects have real weight and a cinematic feel to them rather than looking like a video game. Daniel Craig is great, Harrison Ford is the best he's been for a long time - yes, he's back in grumpy mode, but it's Walter Huston grumpy and shows what a pity it is that he never got a chance to make more Westerns - and there's good supporting turns from the likes of Keith Carradine and an almost unrecognisable Clancy Brown. Even the usually bland and unmemorable Harry Gregson Williams manages to rustle up a decent enough score for once. There's room for improvement in places with hindsight (the steamboat scene never really takes advantage of the set) but it's a really satisfying audience flick.
Unfortunately Paramount's UK Bluray only offers the extended 135-minute cut of the film (although the shorter 119-minute theatrical cut is available on the DVD in the triple play version) - to get both versions on BD you'll need to track down Universal's all-region US Blu-ray. Otherwise the extras are the same - 40 minutes of behind the scenes featurettes, 80 minutes of cast and crew interviews hosted by the director, director's commentary and picture-in-picture featurettes.
Cowboys & Aliens is directed by John Favreau and collectively written by Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby and Steve Oedekerk. It stars Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Clancy Brown and Sam Rockwell. Music is scored by Harry Gregson-Williams and cinematography by Matthew Libatique.
It's 1873 in the Arizona Territory, and an unnamed loner (Daniel Craig) awakens in the desert bleeding from an injury, with no memory, and with a strange metal bracelet shackled to his wrist. Making his way to the nearby town of Absolution, he discovers his name, what happened to him and finds that soon, he, and the citizens of Absolution, must engage in a fight for friends and family against an alien race.
Silly title, it really is. More so because it has been proved to be misleading as to the content of the actual film. Oh there is cowboys and aliens in the film, and great fun at times it is to see two genres spliced into one big money backed movie. But the title does lend itself to an expectation of wall to wall froth, a world where tongues are in cheek and explosions surround a bunch of jovial Western characters as they face off against an alien foe. As anyone who has seen the film can attest, Cowboys and Aliens is anything but frothy. It proves to be an uneasy blend of genres, a task that director Favreau and the ream of writers involved in the project, don't fully complete. You have to wonder if the number of writers involved lost sight of a collective goal? Because the film at times comes off as a gnarly, grizzled machismo piece, taking its story seriously, only to then stop taking itself seriously to bring the no brain thrills for the popcorn crowd. It's no wonder that it has failed to find an audience since it's not sure how to find itself!
Money makes you soft.
However, a second viewing of the film can bring better rewards once armed with the knowledge of what type of film it is. There's much to enjoy, from a mostly agreeable cast to the excellent Western visuals; and from the well constructed action set pieces to the outrageousness of the premise, Favreau's film has plenty of guts, grandeur and gunnery to keep the undemanding entertained. The flaws remain (cliches, stereotypes, logic holes), and in fact the weak plot and reasoning for the alien motives is even more annoying second time around. But it's never dull and the visual effects are more charming than most other big budgeted blockbusters. That the effects are not swallowing the film whole is a big plus, it puts the human characterisations front and centre, where the likes of Craig, Ford (both mean and broody), Rockwell (excellent) and Brown (likewise) come to the fore to at least keep us interested in how it all pans out before the inevitable battle provides the answers. While from a red blooded guy point of view, more of the lovely Olivia Wilde instead of showy alien effects is fine by me, even if her character is pretty much a token one.
Second viewing brings better rewards, yet it's always going to struggle to find a fully committed fan base, but it's far from being the disaster some disappointed first time viewers proclaim it as. Not a great film for sure, but it is a good one. 7/10
Footnote: It scrubs up real well on Blu-ray, the work of Libatique comes shining through as the Western vistas please the eyes with their detail, while the low lighting for the interiors gives off a nice Wild West hue.
on 17 January 2014
This by all means shouldnt work,but darn tootin well does.basically,it a western,but with aliens and flyin saucers.The cowboys and Indians team up to shoo the little blighters away.Harrison Ford is the maim prescence here and its almost as if John Wayne has arisen.People basically are taken form the town and bad boy of the local big ranch owner,FORD,has been taken and its all hands to rescue the towns folk from the Alien Lair with Daniel Craig leading the way.Nice to see the wicked Clancy Brown playing good for a change and a restrained Sam Rockwell,I recommend this highly plus the fact the blu ray has nearly an extra half hour footage making it a little slow in parts but all the better for it.
on 14 July 2012
A lot of people told me that COWBOYS AND ALIENS was fantastic, and others told me that it was just terrible. So I didn't really know what to expect when I started to watch it. The films stars Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, who were both really, really good. In fact, the entire cast nailed their roles and were very convincing. I actually think that the acting was the strongest part of the film. COWBOYS AND ALIENS starts out quite slow, like most westerns, but after about half an hour, it gets right into the action. The special effects were brilliant, although I think they could have made more out of the action scenes. When they start they are awesome, but you can barely see what's going on and there over way too quickly. The storyline was also one of the film's strong points. I loved the perfect mixture of western and science fiction! The director did that really well! It is quite ridiculous though, and some parts bored me a bit, but apart from that this film was a fun time! 8/10!
on 11 February 2013
Got this for free by saving Daily Mail points, so can't complain too much! That said, whilst it's not a bad film, it does start very slowly indeed, slow enough to come very close to being replaced in the DVD player, and is not a bad film after the first thirty minutes. However, it's dull in respect of a lack of colour in the filming. The first half seems to have been filmed in the dark, probably to get away without producing much in the way of fully visible special effects: beams of blue light are cheap as chips. The second half, whilst set in daylight, just seems to lack the good old technicolour of the classic Westerns it's clearly trying to emulate in an off-beat kind of way. Blues, greens and yellows seem to be the only colours used in the entire film. The aliens are dark grey, their space-ship is dark grey, and their fighter craft are dark grey. I don't remember a splash of red to brighten things up. Even the wounds are cauterised! Maybe the Director was colour blind.
Yup....you may think i enjoyed this ''out of reality western' ....' i did '
A stranger wanders into the small town of 'Absolution' with no memory of who he is, the town is not a welcome place for strangers, also 'rancher' ''colonel Dolarhyde' calls the shots.
The town is about to expierience an out-of-this-world expeirience, and folk are about to be ''wafted-away''
The stranger has been identified as a wanted-man, his name is 'Jake Lonergan' (Daniel Craig)' the band he wears on his arm is under his mental control, though he knows not how he came to wear it---yet that is.........
'Jake' joins the colonol and a mystery woman along with ranch-hands and some of the town folk to track down the 'Aliens' and their missing people which includes the colonol's son ''Percy''
Somehow the strange concept works a treat......if ya' enjoy westerns and sci-fi action....the films a must..........................enjoy.
on 18 February 2013
This was absolutely dreadful, a terrible cowboy movie meets a woeful Alien movie. Considering the cast l think it is probably the worst film l've ever seen. It also easily the corniest film l've every seen in my life, cowboys fighting off Aliens that have landed from space, give me a break. The stereotyping about the Indians was nauseating. Woeful stuff. It's 2 hours long, it's easily a half hour too long but in reality it's 2 hours too long. If you're thinking of getting it do yourself a favour and don't. Absolute rubbish. If you want to watch an Alien movie buy 'Alien/Aliens', if you want to watch a cowboy buy 'once upon a time in the West' or 'the Good, the Bad and the Ugly'. Avoid this absolute drivel of a movie.
on 26 September 2012
Cowboys & Aliens is dominated by Daniel Craig's input. He is the main star of this movie. I was expecting a sort of Star Wars meets Western movie but was a bit disappointed with this film.
It's a film that is just as mentioned a bit of fun. Not a film that will compare with Star Wars, Close Encounters or Star Trek etc.
Olivia Wilde is a beautiful actress and helped make this film a bit more interesting, especially her scene where she walks out of a fire in her birthday suit.
The special effects are good but seem to misfit the movie, they seem disjointed somehow, can't explain why, it just seemed out of place.
As a film its an ok movie with a few cameo appearances from Harrison Ford. Harrison is not the star of this film as the trailer seemed to imply.
Overall its a film you would watch once, not a film you would want to buy on DVD or BluRay.