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Hollywood Spotlight - Reviews [Space Cowboys]
ORIGINAL FULL FILM REVIEW
Release Date: 4/17/01
Studio: Warner Brothers
Run Time: 130 minutes
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones , James Garner , James Cromwell and Donald Sutherland
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Produced by: Andrew Lazar and Clint Eastwood
Written by: Ken Kaufman and Howard Klausner
Movie Summary: [Sci-Fi/Fantasy]
A retired Air Force pilot--passed up by NASA when he was young--is recruited to retrieve a malfunctioning satellite launched years before. He is the only person with the expertise to fix the satellite, but will only agree to the mission if he can take his three friends with him.
16X9 - 2.35:1 - Color - English - 5.1 Dolby Digital - Add'l Language: French - Sub: English, French - CC - Region 1
4 Making Ofs: "Back at the Ranch," "The Effects," "Tonight with Leno" and "Up Close with the Editor;" Trailers; Cast/Crew Biographies; DVD-ROM: "Space Shuttle Challenge" - Control your own orbital mission
he movie never truly answered a burning question of mine - do senior citizens get a discount rate to the moon? Maybe my question is ahead of its time, but I am wondering if somehow NASA charged someone less money for sending John Glenn back into space. Okay, let’s just make that a rhetorical question and be done with it. Despite my wild brainstorming about the little unimportant things in life, I did make some time for the recent release of Clint Eastwood’s Space Cowboys. The film’s trailer didn’t much impress me as did the possibilities outlined in the trailer of its boxoffice competition, Hollow Man. But I took a gamble and assumed that Hollow Man would be all special effects - and otherwise hollow. And so I soon found that I had arrived at my ponderings of senior citizen discounts and the NASA program as I walked into the theater unsure of really what I was going to see.
Space Cowboys tells the story of a group of young and wild pioneer astronaut wannabes that were axed from the space program in favor of Mary Anne - the monkey. Nevertheless, the four crew members of the disbanded Daedalus crew would go on to lead chipper lives doing whatever it is they liked to do for many years until NASA would call upon them again. The government space agency has hit a bump in the road. It would seem that a very important communications satellite is due to re-enter the atmosphere - problem is, the satellite’s guidance control system is malfunctioning and NASA can’t keep it in space as its true owners would desire. Truth is - the satellite is Russian and their military is threatening the possibility of future bad relations between the two countries if their communication is cut before they can get a replacement in space - which doesn’t appear to be anytime soon. Frank [Clint Eastwood, In the Line of Fire, Pale Rider], Daedalus’ tempermental engineer who has remained bitter since his chances were ruined for getting into space, spends his days in retirement until one day NASA calls upon his services once again. Low and behold, Frank designed the obsolete guidance system on the satellite and is NASA’s only hope for regaining control of the fallen bird. Amidst uncertainty to why his guidance system was ever used in a Russian satellite at all, he determines that he will only help them if the original Daedalus crew is sent up into space on this mission. Of course, this is no small feat as each of these crew members [Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Tommy Lee Jones, James Gardner] must pass the rigorous physical training at an age that has them soon termed by the media as … “The Ripe Stuff”.
Clint Eastwood stands in front and behind the camera in another of his directorial features [Outlaw Josey Wales, Unforgiven]. The directing style is simple and straightforward without a whole lot of flash and creativity, aside from imagery presented by the CGI renditions of maneuvering jet and space shuttle segments. An interesting tidbit is found in the opening scenes where a series of young actors play the youthful versions of the aged stars (the casting group gets kudos for finding one actor who beared a strinking resemblance to Eastwood). Overall Eastwood as a director does as he should do - carries the story and actors without screwing it up with distracting directorial visions that don’t flow with the film. Fortunately for this group of fine actors, the script basks in a down-to-earth humor providing an abundance of chuckles and laughs. Each creates a well-defined character and plays him to a tee from beginning to end - short of James Gardner who didn’t seem to get his share of screen time. The film trucks along with its comedic edge formulated well amongst the leading actors, but takes an adventurous turn in the latter third of the film that proves quite exciting while laced with a dab of sincere tension.
Seeing as though this film wasn’t only about garnering laughs from the viewing audience, it sported several exhilarating action sequences - one of which depicts a space shuttle launch that is right up there with the one in Apollo 13. Good action sequences would go to shame if they weren’t coupled with good sound. Suffice to say, none of the scenes here were put to shame. The audio is very solid with a myriad amount of rear channel usage that will definitely cater well to the average DVD enthusiast.
Eastwood pulls out another charmer with Space Cowboys that won’t disappoint. Good for the entire family, I don’t regret seeing this over Kevin Bacon’s weekend boxoffice competitor, Hollow Man whatsoever. Now, seeing as though space travel for the average citizen should be kicking in about the time I retire, I’ve got a call in to NASA inquiring about their pipeline plans for senior citizen discounts and I think they’re going to pull me off hold any second now…