Monday, August 1, 2011
Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
Cowboys & Aliens (2011) Dir. by Jon Favreau
The Old West.. where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from beyond our world. 1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don't welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). It's a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he's been... Written by Universal Pictures on IMDB.com
I was so pumped to see this film. I was a little sad that Jon gave up Iron Man 3 to do it, but I was happy it was done. I love Westerns and I love Aliens, sooooo naturally I was expecting to like Cowboys & Aliens, and I was not let down at all. It was even better then I had anticipated. It starts off with our lead waking up in the middle of nowhere, and clearly not knowing who the hell he is, or how he got there. Shortly after he is attacked by a group of men fixin' to rob him. That ends in their death. After taking some clothes and some money, he heads to the nearest town, where unfortunately for him, he starts to figure out who he is. Soon after being arrested, chaos ensues in the form of aliens attacking. After managing to get loose from his chains, he manages to take one of the alien ships down, but the creature gets away.
The characters are what really drives the film in a classic sense of old westerns. I don't think they could have picked a better cast. In the last ten to fifteen years or so I have been nothing but let down by Harrison Ford. I always have high hopes for him because he helped me get through the 80's and early 90's, but lately he has been atrocious. With What Lies Beneath probably being his last good movie, I was excited for him to enthrall me on the big screen once again. I am so happy to say... Welcome back Harrison Ford. His son, played by one of the most underrate actors out there; Paul Dano, is an interesting addition to the cast. He plays a cowardly drunk of a boy who thinks he can get away with everything because his dad is the big man in town. There is where our lead, played by Mr. Daniel "I'm a ripped badass" Craig, begins to get in a bit of trouble. The rest of the supporting cast is filled with tons of A-B list actors all pulling their own weight. Clancy Brown (Pet Sematary II, Starship Troopers) is great as usual as the town's religious man. Adam Beach (Flags of our Fathers) was a nice touch as Ford's right hand man. Sam Rockwell (Moon, The Green Mile) lit up the screen once again in yet another very versatile roll. And how could I forget the beautiful and amazing Olivia Wilde. She is probably one of the busiest people in Hollywood right now, and she deserves every bit of it, wowing me every time she steps on the big screen. The cast had so much chemistry together and it showed frequently. It made this a very character driven action film that I knew I would love immediately.
Now, let me get to the rest of the film. I should have known it had been from the J.J. Abrams ragtag group of misfit producer/writers Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman. The same team behind Transformers, Star Trek, Fringe (TV), and so much more. It was perfectly written and it showed. It really had a Western feel that I had been missing in film these days. There was so much well filmed action, and not too much of it was too terribly over the top. I really appreciated that. Now I didn't know what to expect from the aliens, since they don't really show them in any of the previews, but they were very well done! They were new and inventive looking creatures. It was great that they pretty much kicked ass the entire movie, as they should. It would have been ridiculous to have a bunch of cowboys beating the shit out of big aliens with future technology. I really appreciated it that the filmmakers recognized the balance between species. There were a few twists in there that I didn't expect either, but were definitely unique. I can honestly say that I had a blast watching C&A, and recommend it to everyone.
Entertainment Value: 10/10 Oddly placed alien appendages
Cinematic Value: 8/10 Oddly placed alien appendages