Cowboys & Aliens

In the wide world of geekdom, some debates will continue to be discussed and wars will forever be fought; Star Trek vs. Star Wars, Kirk vs. Picard, Ninja vs. Pirate, Slow Zombies vs. Fast Zombies. With director Jon Favreau’s newest film, you can now add Cowboys vs. Aliens to that list.

Cowboys & Aliens is the story of Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig), a man who awakens alone in the vastness of the frontier with no knowledge of who he is or where he came from. The only clue Lonergan has to work with is the odd metalic bracelet attached to his wrist. While on his journey to discover his identity, he is captured by local businessman Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) who accuses Lonergan of pulling a heist involving gold that belonged to him. The story takes its sci fi turn when alien crafts attack the town and abduct several people, leading Lonergan to discover that the bracelet on his wrist is in fact an alien weapon that can shoot these alien ships out of the sky. In order to save the townspeople and destroy the alien threat, Longerhorn is forced to team up with Dolarhyde in humanities last chance for survival. 

James Bond and Indiana Jones are on the same team? Yeah, the aliens are fucked.
The most amount of praise for this movie has to be given to its cast. Craig is the perfect stranger with a shady past that is a staple of the western genre. He is short with his words and bold with his actions. Much like his take on the James Bond character, his physical presence dominates and acts as his voice more than his words could ever do. Ford is great as the tough as nails man of the west who acts with cold vinegar running through his veins. Sam Rockwell proves once again that he can play any role, this time as the modest and quiet barkeep hoping to rescue his wife from the clutches of the aliens.
 
There are a few issues here and there that I had with the movie, but the big one being its pacing. The film gets to the point farely quickly, but tends to drag in the middle. I can’t help but get the feeling that the initial idea for this film was to present it in parts, which the large amounts of character development seems to support. However, this is clearly a film that is not intending to have sequels, therefore combining so much backstory into a film that should focus on cowboys fighting aliens becomes a little boring at times. My suggestion would have been to cut a good 20 minutes out of the middle leaving less time to lose the audience. Afterall, this isn’t True Grit we’re dealing with here.
 

However, Rooster Cogburn shooting aliens in the face would be pretty sweet.

 

Cowboys & Aliens is a very simple concept when you think about it. The title alone sets you up for exactly what this movie is. What makes the idea so interesting is that the western genre and the science fiction genre have rarely ever collided on film. They are two worlds that have little to nothing in common, and that is the benefit and downfall of the film. Many films fall victim to a theory that I have regarding the majority of audiences; if a title confuses the average person for more than ten seconds, they aren’t going to enjoy the movie. A title like Cowboys & Aliens seems juvenile and silly. Granted, it is, but not in the way average moviegoers think it is. Cowboys & Aliens is not a movie for kids. In reality, it’s a film for geeks who have a sense of humour. And that, in my opinion, is why this movie has been destined to fail since its announcement. The Comic-Con crowd will go nuts for a movie like this. Personally, I really enjoyed the simplicity and the concept of this movie. It’s fun and not meant to change the world. However, in the much bigger world of film, Cowboys & Aliens will not be remembered.

RATING: 7/10

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~ by Brandon Gnuschke on July 30, 2011.

4 Responses to “Cowboys & Aliens”

  1. This is one of the movies on my to watch list but now I’m not sure if I want to watch it. I feel like I might just get bored half way through. Depressing I know.

    By the way I would love to see what you think of Crazy Stupid Love. I didn’t think this movie would be that funny but it turned out amazing!

  2. Debbie, I plan to write a review of Crazy Stupid Love tomorrow at some point so keep your eyes peeled!

  3. Saw it last night. As good as Craig was, I nerded out pretty bad for Mr Ford. Great job by the legend in a role as a bad man with good intentions.
    I cheered towards the end when he went galloping to the cave to save Jake and Ella, armed with only a six-shooter and a scowl. Also, I’m pretty sure everyone in the audience immediately grew a beard after that knife story he told the kid.

  4. Im always good.

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