Cowboys & Aliens was released earlier this year to great reviews and a good box-office take, and now Universal has released the DVD/Blu-ray combo pack with the extended edition of the film.
Cowboys & Aliens is barely recognizable as the same story which is to be found in the graphic novel upon which it is based. I mean: there are cowboys, there are aliens, and they shoot at each other, but that about sums up the similarities.
Even the nature of the aliens and their purpose for coming to earth has been altered. The characters don’t even resemble the characters from the book. It’s a very loose adaptation.
The visuals of this film are really focused on how they will work on the big-screen. It’s filmed like a modern western with sweeping vistas, and often shots which contain more scenery than character or action.
Occasionally we get the ‘character looks off into the distance from the side of the frame, while desert fills the view’. It all makes the film feel very much like a western, and not much like a sci-fi.
Despite this, the quality of the Blu-ray is such that it doesn’t take too much away from the overall experience of the film. It looked gorgeous on the silver screen, of course, but it also looks great on the big television.
Cowboys & Aliens is a fun gun-slinging action flick which has its real quality moments and is well produced and stylized for what it is. Sure, it might not make a lot of ‘sense’ - especially the depiction of the supposedly advanced alien race - but it’s not really supposed to.
There’s not too much to the special features on the Blu-ray. There is a commented version of the film with Director John Favreau, but those are never very interesting to me. I do enjoy the ‘making-of’ featurettes, and this one was not a disappointment, especially the explanations of some of the stunts. I was surprised to learn that Olivia Wilde, the female lead for the film, did her own riding, and some of her own stunts, including the scene where she gets ripped off of her horse at full gallop.
Wilde was also compelling in the cast interviews, which were each conducted by Favreau himself. There are conversations with individual cast members, but it’s the discussion with Wilde that was really engacing. She has such a charisma and presence. This is an actress, I think, who will go far.
The disc also features the Second Screen app which opens up more viewing options on your iPad or PC, if your Blu-ray player is connected to the internet, which is quickly becoming a standard feature of new Blu-ray discs.
The Cowboys & Aliens DVD/Blu-ray combo pack with the extended version of the film is available now wherever you get your Blu-rays, including Amazon.