So I know what some of you may be thinking, Cowboys and Aliens that’s just ridiculous. I must admit that I too the concept was going to be ridiculous and that Hollywood had indeed run out of reasonable ideas for movies. The idea of mixing the two worlds of western and science fiction seems too much of a stretch for most audience members, and seems almost too ridiculous to be taken for a serious movie. However I’m her to tell you that Cowboys and Aliens, directed by Jon Favreau, is a much better movie than I previously expected, and is an exciting adventure that will please most fans.
For those who have not seen the trailers, Cowboys and Aliens opens on Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) who wakes up in the open desert not knowing how he got there. The only two possessions he has on him are a weird bracelet and a wound to his right abdomen. After some outlaw bashing and some character introductions, Lonergan winds up on a coach destined for a Santa Fe prison. Enter Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) the big boss of the desert town who wants Lonergan for a previous robbery and demands that he be released in his custody. As the sheriff and Dolarhyde argue, the aliens suddenly attack and destroy most of the town in an explosive rampage that would put Michael Bays’ work to shame and abduct a few of the local residents including Dolarhyde’s son. At first light, a posse led by Dolarhyde sets out to track the aliens and recover the kidnapped people. See Trailer here
The first I should say is that this movie is more of a western than a science fiction movie, it’s just that instead of fighting outlaws or Native Americans the villains turn out to be extraterrestrials. Fans of the classic Westerns will not be disappointed in this film as the aspects of the genre are seen in full force. Wild West shooting, horse riding, ambushes using the environment, and the classic acts of gentleman heroes are all here in this movie. However, Favreau has added some modern flavor to this film and put in some more action that is designed to attract other audience members. Fans of Craig’s days as James Bond will be happy to see his punching and gun play action in the scenes as he plays the heroic, withdrawn, and clever cowboy. Harrison Ford plays the role of the headstrong, proud, and rough around the edges cowboy well, and he still impresses me as to how diverse a role he can play. Craig and Ford are indeed the focus of the story and are the driving force for both the plot and the action of the movie and fans of either of the two actors will not be disappointed by their involvement in the film. However there are other characters in this movie that add some flavor and pizazz to the film that most audience members will probably find enjoyable. Olivia Wilde the beautiful actress that she is plays the downhome cowgirl with an edge. Noah Ringer makes his western debut as the orphaned western boy who faces his own journey of growing up and facing fear and captures the character pretty well. Adam Beach on the contrary plays the loyal and competent guard with cool moves and good tracking skills that lead the party to their goal. There are other characters in this film, but we don’t have time to mention them all so I’ll just say that everyone plays their roles well.
So what else does Cowboys and Aliens offer other than good acting by Craig and Ford? Well for one thing my friend Kayla and I both agree that the action for this movie is awesome and may in fact be the most action packed film of the summer. This movie has high speed horse chases, various shootouts, hand to hand combat, and even some bludgeoning with canes. The special effects are also amazing as the aliens look pretty realistic and the ships look even better. Since this is an action movie, the pace of the movie is fairly quick as well and should keep most audience members with low attention spans into the movie. However, this movie also has some story behind it as well and some mystery as to why the aliens are there in the first place, which are two other factors to keep one into the movie. Although all of these qualities are good, I believe the two aspects I was impressed with the most were the combination of the camera work and musical score. Throughout the entire movie, the camera was able to capture all of the action in fluid motion and hardly had any jumpy or glitch camera work. Whoever directed the cinematography managed to get his crew to not only capture the action to the greatest extent but also get the most emotion from the scene helping to really bring the dialog and movie to its full potential. During the action scenes the soundtrack also helped you get into the movie and helped get your adrenaline pumping with exciting orchestral work and percussions that brought you into the scene.
This movie however does have some faults in it as well. For one thing the plot of the story is very linear for the most part, only throwing in a few twists to keep you guessing what is coming. I was able to predict who was going to die and how for most of the characters and that took away from the surprise I think Favreau and the gang were planning. Perhaps the one weakness with the camera work was sometime the frames revealed what was going to happen before the event actually happened. One fellow movie goer and I were not surprised in some scenes that were intended to make you jump because the camerawork revealed it way in advance. A third thing that was a little bit of a weakness for me was some of the graphicness in the kills. Although most of the kills were clean and not bad, there were some close up shots that can make you cringe at the savagery behind it and thus some parental precaution is advised for younger audiences. Other than these few things I can’t really think of anything else that bothered me.
Despite the ridiculous title this movie has, Cowboys and Aliens is again a fun and exciting adventure that will have you yeehawing throughout the movie. Action fans will not be disappointed and the female audience should be very impressed with watching their hunky heroes take on the bad aliens as well. And although it is predictable, the story is not as bad as I predicted to be. Overall this Western is a good revival of the classic series and I encourage everyone to come and give it a try. I give this movie between an 8.0-8.5. Tune in soon for my reviews on the Smurfs and Crazy, Stupid, Love and remember to leave comments and let me know how I can improve on my writing. Thanks