Space Cowboys Movie Review
Clint Eastwood's last feat, True Crime, was only so-so at best, but he is making a comeback with Space Cowboys, a fun and enjoyable astronaut movie with a lot of well known stars.
The Space Cowboys are Clint Eastwood (starring and directing), Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner, all of whom are supposed to be over sixty years old (Jones doesn't qualify in real life). When an antique Russian spacecraft is discovered to be falling out of orbit, Eastwood and the gang get themselves one last mission to save it. Of course, there's something the NASA director isn't telling them.
For the most part, Space Cowboys is leading up to space, but that's okay because the actors seem to be having such a fun time as old coots that the clever dialogue is flying back and forth almost endlessly. Most of the lines pay homage to the script but I'm sure the actors pulled off some of their own, because the exchanges seem so real it's hard to believe it's coming from a script. In a way, all of the characters, especially Eastwood, do seem sort of like cowboys. Eastwood looks like he's ready to throw a punch every couple of minutes, and he does gets in a bar fight.
The training scenes are pretty fun, too. The characters are serious about the mission but also taking things lightheartedly. The jogging scenes are especially good, but the movie also takes pride in showing off a lot more technical aspects of training, such as the G-force machine (whatever it is called) and things like that. This movie is getting pretty good reviews from NASA in terms of realism, and I'm not surprised. Everything looks pretty real.
Furthermore, the story is one of the more realistic fictional space movies out there. Apollo 13 was great but that was based on real events. This one is entirely fictional but still, with exception to one element near the end involving Tommy Lee Jones, could happen. Furthermore, I like the little secret that this movie reveals near the end, which creates the suspense that is seen at the end of the theatrical previews.
The marketing campaign was horrible for Space Cowboys, which is really disappointing because it is such a good film. Hopefully, people will go see it, and hopefully, word-of-mouth will attract more and more viewers. The audience, young and old (I was sitting next to a five year old kid who kept on commenting on the romance between Jones and a younger woman), were laughing out loud at the jokes, and were biting their nails at the end. Space Cowboys is an excellent blend of comedy and adventure. The plot might not be momentous but it is a little more complicated than what the previews let on. The main factor is that Space Cowboys is a very enjoyable film and if it survives the opening weekend could end up being the sleeper hit of the summer.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.