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Cowboys & Aliens

Cowboys & Aliens

Movie
Studio(s): 
Director(s): 
In Theatres: 
Jul 29, 2011
Grade:
D+
Sticking to his guns...

Director Jon Favreau was constantly harassed with demands to shoot/convert the film in 3-D, but he held his ground, claiming Westerns should only be shot on film.

When you think of aliens and high tech weaponry, most likely one of the first things that comes to mind is the future. Laser rifles and massive flying ships all seem to fit within this futuristic that seems perfect for aliens. But what if they came to Earth long before that? What if they were around with that same technology when people’s preferred method of travel was on horseback and if you wanted to get in touch with someone 500 miles away, you tapped it out on the telegraph? Welcome to the world of Cowboys & Aliens.

Based on the graphic novel by the same name, the film opens with Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig), a man with no recollection of who he is or what he’s done. All he knows is that he has a weird metallic bracelet strapped to his wrist and a nasty gash in his side. Making it to the small town of Absolution he encounters Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford), a rough n’ tough business man who runs the town through fear. Evidently the two don’t get along all that well because before you know it, they are at each other’s throat. The feud is short lived when alien spaceships come down and start kidnapping townspeople left and right. Now friend and foe must team up together to save humanity from the alien invasion.

On paper, Cowboys & Aliens doesn’t sound like something that would fit together, and unfortunately the same can be said about the film. What starts out as a gripping Western soon turns into a sci-fi alien shoot’em up. It attempts blend the two genres together but ultimately fails at both. The audience is never truly convinced that everyone is in danger from these aliens. I was more afraid of what Colonel Dolarhyde was capable of doing to the townspeople in the beginning than what the aliens could do.

Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig are the only saving grace of the film. Ford’s your typical Western villain type with his hardened demeanor and 5 o’clock shadow. As the film progresses, we see that there’s more to this man than we know as we’re slowly reveled his true nature. The same can be said about Craig’s character. He’s a man with no memory of who he is but as bits and pieces come back to him, they all fit into this bigger picture.

Olivia Wilde on the other hand, is about as dull as they come. She’s like child running around all over the place following you wherever you go. You just want to scream at her and tell her to go away. They try to give her some character by mixing things up a bit but it just falls flat and ends up making the entire film even more ridiculous than it already is.

The thing about Cowboys & Aliens is that we’ve seen both Westerns and alien films that are better than this.  While the film has some good aspects from both genres, it adds nothing new or exciting. At the end you’re left with this feeling of, “that’s all?” Unfortunately this is one movie that not even all the lasers and space ships in the universe could save.

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Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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