Movie: Cowboys & Aliens (PG-13)
Release Date: July 29th, 2011
Watched On: July 26th, 2011
Ticket Price: Press Screening
Starring: Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Harrison Ford & Sam Rockwell
Director: Jon Favreau
Runtime: 1 hr. 58 min.
Rating: Worth a Matinee –
Synopsis: A cowboy wakes up with no memory of his past and a contraption on his wrist. He makes his way to the nearest town, where he finds he is a wanted man. But, when the town faces a much more daunting enemy, he and those that would do him harm have to work together to fight back against the demons from the sky. As things move along he begins to realize that he holds the key to possibly fending off the invaders and getting the town’s people back.
Review: Cowboys & Aliens is a very well done mash-up of alien invasion flick and western shoot’em up. There are a few problems, but they are masked nicely by fun comedic moments, great gunplay and some superb performances.
The basic plot is that alien scouts have come to Earth in need of something and to study its inhabitants and then report back. Ultimately, this will not be good for the humans. The humans try to fight back.
You don’t really need more than that for an alien invasion movie, but you get more here. Which makes sense to me, since the story revolves around the abduction of family members and a guy trying to remember who he is.
Also, putting an alien invasion in a historical time period is an excellent idea. We’ve seen plenty of alien invasions in present times and we’ll see plenty more. For the most part, they do a good job of portraying such an event. An event in which people in the old west would have no concept of, unlike we do today.
The main problem in the story revolves around too many guideposts that telegraph what is going to happen later in the film. Foreshadowing is one thing, but this is more like forelighting. Plus, there is a moment towards the end that may have come off much better had I never seen the first season finale of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
For the most part they play the absurdity of aliens in the old west straight, but there’s still plenty of laughs to be had. The comedic beats are timed well and are peppered throughout the action and mayhem.
On the action front, there is a bounty to be had. The opening sequence is outstanding and a great introduction to the main character. You get all the classic western settings: showdowns in the street, gunplay in the saloon, chases on horseback, etc. It’s just that there are aliens in flying machines too.
In regards to said aliens, while they are not all that memorable, except for maybe one aspect, they at least do not disappoint. Too often lately the alien/monster is hidden for so much of the movie that when you finally see it, it is a huge letdown.
There are lots of recognizable faces in Cowboys & Aliens, both big and small. The casting overall is near perfect. Daniel Craig is one badass cowboy and Harrison Ford is absolutely fantastic. Of the bigger names, the one I’m not so sure of is Olivia Wilde. Yet, the more I think about her performance, given what we find out about her character, it actually kind of works.
I thoroughly enjoyed Cowboys & Aliens and think it’s worth checking out. Now, I’m just wondering what time period aliens should invade next?