Likely all of us saw the television spots for this, and I even read a review or two. Now on DVD, never in a million years did I imagine myself watching this unusual movie. Still, one lazy Sunday afternoon, this did happen.
Cowboys and Aliens (2011) Film Review
Waking in the middle of the desert without a clue who he is, or how he got the wound in his side and an odd metallic bracelet, prompts Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) to discover his past. Riding to the nearest dusty town, the local preacher stiches him up, and soon after, he attracts the interest of the locals when he stands up to the wimpy, arrogant son (Paul Dano) of the town’s wealthy employer. It turns out, according to the Sheriff (Keith Carradine), Jake’s a wanted man.
Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) is a Colonel from the war whose experience in battle makes him bitter. When he gets word that his son is in trouble with the marshals, and of the stranger in town, he sees his chance to use Jake. Before anything happens, flying machines attack the town. During the attack, the contraption on Jake’s arm acts against the machines but despite this, the creatures kidnap several of the residents, including Woodrow’s only son. This sense Jake, the mysterious Ella (Olivia Wilde) and Woodrow out on a search party.
Sci-Fi is not my scene but I do like superhero movies. That being said… much to my own amusement, I actually did enjoy this one. It has a different twist to it by pairing cowboys with aliens (although Indians do make the appropriate appearance) and its acting isn’t half bad either. Some of the plots get caught up in redundancy but that’s pretty much the norm. It’s more fun than it should be not knowing for sure whether or not the hero is one to root for or wish ill towards.
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Everything about Jon Favreau’s (Iron Man) Cowboys and Aliens seems to suggest he’d have another number one box office hit on his résumé. Nominated for various different awards, it does surprise me that the special effects were sometimes not up to par. The aliens are definitely creepy looking (case in point: their chest opens to reveal organs and a pair of hands emerge, eww), but I think any time productions blend supernatural and live-action, it’s a challenge to make everything look “legit.”
Perhaps what I like best about the movie is its emphasis on trust and the relationships that come out of that. It’s true that this band of characters is out of necessity but it becomes so much more than need, and forms a “no man left behind” kind of friendship. The scope of the movie cannot always be taken seriously, but nonetheless, this the movie is very definition of “popcorn flick.”
For a winter afternoon, it doesn’t get much more fun that this trip to the Wild West.
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You can find Cowboys and Aliens digitally on Amazon Video
CONTENT: there is some violence and the sometimes “scary” aliens who terrify [they kill victims] and attack the search party. Then there’s an epic battle that climaxes in the final ten minutes [there’s death] and the aliens bite into the flesh of their victim’s neck. Characters shoot their attackers [some right between the eyes causing green goop to spurt from them]. Stakes impale men and Jake uses his weapon to burn a hole through a man’s middle. Another character dies, the body burns and then the person walks out alive from the flames [obscurely, we see the person naked]. Fist fights break out a time or two. There’s some profanity [sh*t and a couple of crudities]; one man repeatedly calls a woman a whore. The film is PG13.