Sunday, 25 October 2020
Cowboys and Aliens
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 09:13

Cowboys and AliensWhen two of my favorite things come together into a movie mash-up, it’s pretty hard not to get excited! In this case the title says it all. Cowboys and Aliens combines two of my favorite genres into one big-budget summer blockbuster. With a title like this, you don’t exactly walk into the theatre expecting high art. Remember Snakes on a Plane? ‘Nuf said. What you do expect is for the film to deliver on what is promised.

Daniel Craig stars as Jake Lonergan, a lone cowboy who wakes up in the Arizona dessert with no memory of who he is or what has happened to him. His only clue is the mysterious metal shackle clamped to his wrist. In typical Western fashion, he stumbles into the town of Absolution and discovers that they don’t like strangers much. The citizens already live in fear, but certainly not of space creatures. Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) rules the town with an iron-fist, controlling every move made and penny earned.

I can understand why alcohol would be tempting at this time.But even the formidable will of Dolarhyde means nothing when the town is ambushed by blinding lights in the sky that snatch up townspeople like ants and are impervious to gunfire! It seems the only weapon that can be used against the “demons” is attached to Lonergan’s wrist.

The interesting thing about Cowboys and Aliens is that, despite the ridiculousness of plot and the cheeky title, it is executed so seriously. Director Jon Favreau pays homage to the old-fashioned Western and gives it the right sandblasted look.

I'm not so sure these guns are gonna work...Although the characters are all Western stereotypes the actors perform them with gravitas. I think that’s what makes it work so well. Daniel Craig is a perfect gunslinger – he’s tough, with a weather-beaten face and the emotional aptitude of tough leather. Craig is a man’s man who proved he could look fabulous in a designer suit and still bash heads as James Bond. The character of Dollarhyde would have been one-dimensional without Harrison Ford, who is gruff and guarded but slowly develops an emotional core. The one performance that didn’t really work for me was Olivia Wilde as Ella, a beautiful woman with a mysterious past. She’s got the beautiful part down, but her performance falls flat.

If the title excites you, Cowboys and Aliens will live up to expectations. It’s full of fun special effects, cool looking aliens, and the story manages to tie the two genres together nicely. It’s a fun, action-packed alternative to a summer filled with comic-book superheroes.

INFOKERNALS:

Directed by Jon Favreau, Starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford.

Based on a graphic novel of the same name, but deviates heavily from the original storyline.

If you like this Sci-Fi Western, check out Stephen King’s Dark Tower series of books, or Joss Whedon’s short-lived TV series Firefly.