Archive for category Western

Cowboys and Aliens

Rating – See it now.                                           

If you look at the list of movies John Favreau has directed(Iron Man, Elf, Zathura…which I didn’t see but the name sounds fun), the adjective “fun” can typically be used to describe them.  I think this may have been part of the reason most of my theater seemed to have the idea of, “Oh, cowboys fighting with aliens, how fun!”  While this movie takes you on a heck of a ride, I don’t think “fun” would always be the best word to describe it.  Throughout the 2 hour run time it was suspenseful, creepy, violent, a little gritty, and…well…terrific.

I had really high hopes for this movie since I first saw the trailer.  Then when I started to see some of the names attached (Favreau, Spielberg, Ron Howard, Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and on, and on) I became rather excited.  Even with this excitement the film passed my expectations.  I went into it expecting a kind of silly, but still fun and exciting, battle between a band of cowboys and a group of aliens.  I mean, at the core that’s exactly what this movie is (just read the title).  But I never felt like it was silly.

The recent remake of 3:10 to Yuma, and the recent remake of True Grit are the only two westerns I think I have ever seen from start to finish, so I am in no way an expert on the subject.  That said, I feel many purists would argue that this isn’t really a western because it has, well…aliens.  Even with the extraterrestrial threat, this movie is nothing but a western.  It even includes a group of Native Americans half way through, in case you forgot that you were watching a cowboy movie.  I’m not sure of the location where they filmed, but I thought the scenery was great and allowed for some pretty interesting shots, lined with canyons and cacti.  The scenes with spaceships whizzing around the background sky were especially well done, in my opinion.

The story starts with Daniel Craig’s character (he can’t remember his name) waking up in the middle of a desert, unsure of where he is, with a fancy new bracelet that looks rather alien, and seems to be permanent.  About 30 seconds into the film the character becomes reminiscent of Jason Bourne, if Jason Bourne were a cowboy.  He has no idea who he is, but still knows how to kick the crap out of anyone that crosses him.   Daniel Craig does a great job with the character and his American accent is good enough that I forgot he is from overseas.   After Craig’s character makes it to a small town, we meet up with many of the clichéd western residents.  The sheriff, the bar tender, the preacher, etc.  The supporting cast does a great job and each plays their part quite well.  After meeting the same old locals we are introduced to Woodrow Dolarhyde, played by Harrison Ford.  Dolarhyde is an angry old bastard, who Ford seems right at home playing.  I think that Ford actually steals the show in this film, making you dislike him and have a soft spot for him at the same time.

Overall the movie was great.  I might even say it was the best movie of the summer.  Super 8, and Cowboys and Aliens served as the strong bookends to this summer’s ups and downs.    The acting, action, and effects were all spot on in this movie.  It did have maybe one or two moments where I said to myself “really, they went there?” but then I reminded myself that it is a movie about cowboys fighting aliens.  Speaking of the aliens, they looked great.  It’s one of the first times I can remember getting a chance to get a really good look at the aliens, and actually see them in hand to hand combat with the protagonists, rather than just firing lasers from a distance.  I got my hopes up for this film, and they weren’t let down.  Do yourself a favor and see it.



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