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Cowboys & Aliens (Blu-ray+DVD+Digital Copy in Blu-ray Packaging)

Cowboys & Aliens (Blu-ray+DVD+Digital Copy in Blu-ray Packaging)
Studio: Universal Pictures
List Price: $34.98
Street Price: $24.99
Amazon.com: $15.82
Release Date: Dec 6, 2011
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Running Time: 118 minutes

4.6 Stars (out of 5)

Synopsis

It’s 1873 when gunslinger Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) awakens in the Arizona desert with no memory of his past and a mysterious metal shackle encircling his wrist. Stumbling into the nearby town of Absolution, Lonergan discovers a tightly closed community that takes its orders from the iron-fisted Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) — and Dolarhyde has a bone to pick with Lonergan. But the colonel’s influence wanes when the desolate city is attacked by monsters that drop from the sky with blinding force and abduct the helpless townsfolk one by one. As Lonergan’s memory slowly returns, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a fighting chance against the alien force. With the help of mysterious beauty Ella (Olivia Wilde), he assembles a posse comprised of former opponents: townsfolk, Dolarhyde and his boys, outlaws and Apache warriors. United against a common enemy, they prepare for an epic showdown for survival.

Starring:

Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Adam Beach, Paul Dano, Noah Ringer, Keith Carradine, Clancy Brown, Ana de la Reguera

Director:

Jon Favreau

Blu-ray Release Date:

December 6, 2011

Subtitles:

English SDH, French, Spanish

Rating

Overall rating weighted as follows:

Audio 40%, Video 40%, Special Features 20%, Movie - its just our opinion so take it with a grain of salt

Audio 4.9 Stars (out of 5)

Dolby and DTS Demo Discs used as basis for comparison

● Subwoofer - 5.0 Stars

● Dialog - 4.5 Stars

● Surround Effects - 5.0 Stars

● Dynamic Range - 5.0 Stars

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French: DTS 5.1, Spanish: DTS 5.1

Cowboys and Aliens has a bombastic heavy audio mix. In fact, I wish I could give this movie more than 5 points for subwoofer performance. Explosions, punches, galloping horses, and gunfire all benefit from the deep resonating low end. Sometimes, it's almost too much, but I tend to like an active subwoofer. Rear speakers aren't ignored either. Mooing cows, roaring spaceships, rain, thunder, and screeching aliens envelop you in the movie by surrounding you with sounds of action. Dialog is hard to make out in a few scenes, but don't take away from this film's stellar audio performance.

Video 4.8 Stars (out of 5)

Spears & Munsil Benchmark Blu-ray Edition used as basis for comparison

● Color Accuracy - 4.5 Stars

● Shadow detail - 5.0 Stars

● Clarity - 4.5 Stars

● Skin tones - 5.0 Stars

● Compression - 5.0 Stars

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC, Resolution: 1080p, Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1, Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Like most westerns, Cowboys and Aliens features some beautiful shots of natural landscapes. Filled with blue skies, green fields, tall rock formations, and deep green bushes that show off the natural colors this Blu-ray possesses. At times colors do seem to be a little pale. This is probably done to keep the numerous dark scenes from losing detail. Clarity is decent enough to make out the countless amounts of cowboy beard stubble, sweat, grime, dusty trails, wrinkles, and fancy pinstripes. There are a few shots where clarity seams to dull as if the camera was out of focus. Skin looks amazing and natural, and no signs of compression issues are visible.

Bonus Features 3.5 Stars (out of 5)

● Extended Version: An extra 16 minutes of character development moments are included in this version.

● U-Control Picture In Picture (HD): Adds lots of behind the scenes and extra footage.

● Audio Commentary with director Jon Favreau.

● Igniting the Sky: The Making of Cowboys & Aliens (HD, 40 minutes): This six-part behind-the-scenes documentary.

● Conversations with Jon Favreau (SD, 80 minutes): Favreau hosts a few interviews with cast and crew.

● Second Screen: An interactive pocket BLU feature that allows users with Wi-Fi connected Blu-ray players to access an interactive movie-watching experience from your tablet, Mac or PC. Storyboards, 3D models, FX breakdowns and more await.

● My Scenes Bookmarking

● BD-Live Functionality

Movie - 3.0 Stars (out of 5)

Review

When I heard that Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford were going to star in comic book movie directed by Jon Favreau and produced by Steven Spielberg I expected it to be the best movie of the summer. My expectations were set way too high. This is an entertaining film, but it's not the film it should have been. Cowboys and Aliens is a better western than a Sci-Fi movie, and it never really finds a balance between the two. Daniel Craig's performance was good but his demeanor was too serious and lacked charisma. Harrison Ford stole the movie playing the misunderstood bad guy. The film has several fun action beats and even manages to make you care for some of the characters.

Where the movie falls apart is the script. There are several plot points that are never fully answered or explained. Olivia Wilde is wasted because character is almost useless. It seams like they added her to the movie for eye candy. What bothered me the most was how the cowboys weren't terrified and amazed by the aliens. The strange and futuristic technology should have at least had them scratching their heads. This movie takes place in 1873, which is 30 years before the airplane was invented. When they first saw the alien ships flying around at someone should have had a heart attack. Instead, they all jump on their horses and go after them. This movie is a fun time on the couch, but it won't be my first choice for a western or a Sci-Fi movie.

Posted by The HT Guys, January 5, 2012 7:54 AM

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About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.