Cowboys" on DVD
Ageless Space Epic
If you can get by plot holes and scientific inaccuracies large enough
through which you could fly a space shuttle, this Clint Eastwood film
is entertaining enough.
This reviewer, however, couldn't get past the scientific gaffes and ended
up playing "The Right Stuff" again afterward just to wash the stain off
his big screen.
Space Cowboys is the tale of four has been jet jockeys who finally get
the chance to live their dream of travelling into space.
Clint Eastwood is a retired engineer who's brought back to NASA to help
find a way to prevent a Russian satellite from crashing back to earth
as its orbit decays. He uses the opportunity to blackmail NASA into letting
him reassemble his old team to ride the space shuttle to orbit to fix
The team is Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner.
Each is a ruggedly individual individual in his own right and they make
a good ensemble.
So far as the plot is concerned, it's all pretty predictable stuff, but
we have to admit that it was nice to see the old farts showing up the
young bucks for a change. The message is that it doesn't matter how much
schooling you have, experience matters most, and that's a message that
isn't seen much in the movies, TV or other media these days.
It's too bad the writer didn't see fit to have the script fact checked.
While science fiction regularly breaks or extrapolates from established
rules, good science fiction doesn't throw the laws of celestial mechanics
out the window just for the sake of the story. In this movie, however,
the rule book is torn up. How else can one explain a booster that doesn't
have enough energy to put the satellite into geosynchonous orbit, yet
can send it to the moon instead? Has the writer never heard of escape
velocity, or stopped to ask a real scientist if it's true that once you
halfway to the moon its gravity takes over and pulls you toward it - regardless
of the fact that the moon is much smaller and has a much smaller gravity
well than the earth?
The writers could have crafted a fine story without repealing the laws
of physics, and they'd have ended up with a more believable, and therefore
Anyway, we guess we're not supposed to think about such things.
The performances, as might be expected, are all first rate, as are the
production values and Industrial Light and Magic's special effects.
The DVD is in anamorphic widescreen, enhanced for 16x9 TV's, and with
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Picture and sound quality are very good, though
we thought the audio volume was a tad low.
There are plenty of extras, including four documentaries (well, one of
them's a fake Tonight Show bit), and a slew of DVD ROM features (including
a Space Shuttle Challenge that lets you control your own mission).
The bottom line? Forget logic and science and enjoy the film anyway.
Space Cowboys, from Warner Home Video
130 min. widescreen (2.35:1) 16x9 compatible, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, James Garner,
Marcia Gay Harden, William Devane, James Cromwell
Written by Ken Kaufman & Howard Klausner, Produced and Directed by
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