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Space Cowboys

review by Zach B.

Rated PG-13

Studio: Warner

Running Time: 90 minutes

Starring Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, James Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, James Cromwell, Loren Dean

Written by Ken Kaufman and Howard Kalusner

Directed by Clint Eastwood

Retail Price: $24.99

Features: Up Close With The Editor featurette, "Tonight On Leno" fearturette, The Effects featurette, "Back At The Ranch" featurette, Cast and Crew Filmographies, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Chapter Search (36 Chapters)

Truly one of the sleeper hits of the summer of 2000, "Space Cowboys" opened to incredibly strong reviews and took in nearly 100 million at the box office. For an early August release, I was pretty impressed, and I was also impressed how much it hung on at the top ten charts. While I have to say Clint Eastwood's career wasn't much in the nineties after his Oscar® winning "Unforgiven", with him directing such duds as "Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil" and "True Crime". Good old Clint helms "Space Cowboys" and does a pretty remarkable job.

The film begins in 1958, where it looked like four test pilots for NASA were going to be the first men in space. However, they got screwed when their boss sends... yep, a chimp. After that sequence, we jump to the present where a Russian satellite by the name of Ikon is about to crash down to Earth. Russia still needs that satellite, and NASA agrees to help them out. However, the satellite has some coding that can't be broken, and it turns out one of the men from 1958, Frank Corvin (Clint Eastwood), created the guidance system and it is used in the satellite. However, the one who screwed Corvin in the first place, Bob Gerson, is involved in saving the satellite. After some bitter talk, Gerson agrees to let Corvin help, but Corvin wants his old teammates to go back into space with him. Gerson gives in, and so begins their training, their mission and everything else that comes with it.

"Space Cowboys" is pretty much a crowd pleasing movie. The acting is really top notch. Eastwood is good as usual, while Sutherland, Garner and Jones are also excellent in their roles. They're a lot of fun to watch and are really good, there's a lot of chemistry between the characters. James Cromwell, a fantastic actor, is perfect as the nasty Bob Gerson. Marcia Gay Harden and a few other supporting players round out the cast. Everyone's role is believable and again, just a lot of fun to watch. It's pretty much perfection in a movie like this.

The script is an enjoyable ride, though it's an interesting layout. The film is pretty predictable, but there's a very good mix. At first it seems serious, but then it gets a bit silly and then sort of serious again. It's simply a combination audiences love and tend to enjoy. The script has some good lines and good plotting, but it's pretty smart, especially with the humor here and there. Clint does an excellent job directing, and there's some excellent shots and excellent editing. There's very good production values on this film.

I guess what so many liked about "Space Cowboys" and what I liked about it is the charming and very, very entertaining mix. There's good suspense, good character development and good humor. It's planned out really well, and the acting is, again, perfect for a movie like this. I really liked the editing as it gave it a good feel and good sense to a movie like this. Don't miss "Space Cowboys", it's a very good ride.


Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, "Space Cowboys" is yet another top-notch Warner transfer that everyone should be pleased with. Colors are very bold and deep, and black level is exquisite. There's some really nice shots in the movie and they look lovely with crystal clarity. The only flaw is some slight shimmering in some scenes and some specks of dirt or a blemish here and there. Very good.

"Space Cowboys" features a very impressive Dolby Digital 5.1 track, it has a very strong and diverse soundstage. There are particularly great sounds here, and the sound effects editing was nominated for an Academy Award®. Chapter 1 has some excellent surrounds that will really bring life to your speakers and make you feel like you're in the action. Chapter 1 gets things off with a bang and features a pretty sensational experience... and it only gets better. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear, nothing overpowers anything and the music also brings some good surrounds. A very fine mix that I was really impressed with.

It's not a feature loaded special edition, but there is a good amount of stuff to enjoy, namely, a few featurettes.

Up Close With The Editor is a seven minute featurette that takes a nice look at the movie with Joel Cox, the editor of the movie. It features clips from the movie, as Cox discusses origins of the project and talks about some of the shots, as he mentions special effects work and George Lucas (as well as the ILM team). Cox also talks about some choices and cuts, and he's pretty interesting with nice anecdotes. If you're interested in the production portion of the movie, watch this.

"Tonight On Leno" was a featurette that I really enjoyed, because there's an incredible amount of movies where Leno cameos making a joke or two as someone watches his show. Leno is interviewed and tells the honest truth about the comedy in the film as well as what he thought when he read the script. There's also clips in non-anamorphic widescreen (the interview parts of Leno are in full frame) of the Leno bits. Good stuff. It lasts over eleven minutes.

The Effects is in full frame and features clips from the movie as well as some behind the scenes material. There are interviews with the effects guy and they talk about doing certain things in certain scenes with effects. They also show how some things were done. I found it a little boring, but it will be interesting if you're into this kind of thing. It lasts seven minutes.

Our last featurette is "Back At The Ranch" that is broken up into sections. It features a good amount of interviews with the cast and crew as well as others, with clips from the film and behind the scenes shots. This pretty much gives good information about making the movie, and I liked it the best of all the featurettes. It's also the longest, lasting a nice twenty-eight minutes.

Rounding the disc out is the Theatrical Trailer in anamorphic widescreen and two channel sound, as well as a Cast and Crew Filmographies, though Eastwood is the only real crew member, while the writers are listed.


What took so long for this disc to come out? I admit I was anticipating it for a good time. Either how, Warner delivers a top notch presentation with a good array of extras. This is a good, fun movie that everyone should enjoy. Highly recommended.

(4/5 - NOT included in final score)




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