I Saw A Film Today… Cowboys & Aliens

I think that Daniel Craig is my generations Steve Mcqueen or Paul Newman. I mean, the guy has style. He’s tough and rugged. He is cool. And the most important part is he can act. This time around he teams up with Harrison Ford in the Western frontier to take the fight to the final frontier.

******

Jake Lonergan (Craig) wakes up in the middle of a Arizona desert with no recollection of who he is or why he has an odd bracelet attached to his wrist and can’t remove it. He also has no idea how he got here.

Eventually he stumbles into the town of Absolution where he receives care from a preacher (Clancy Brown), meets a mysterious woman named Ella (Olivia Wilde), and neutralizes the town bully Percy (Paul Dano). After this the town sheriff recognizes him as an elusive outlaw and arrest him to later be handed over to authorities in Santa Fe.

But before he can be shipped off, Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford) rides into to retrieve his son Percy and to also take Jake into his possession, as he is accused of being one of the men who robbed his stage couch of gold. But before anything can happen, a bright light appears in the sky and an alien invasion commences. Some of the town people are taken by the “flying demons” before Jake’s mysterious bracelet turns into a weapon and shoots down one of the ships.

Now the Colonel recruits a group of people (including Jake and Ella) to track and go after the mysterious creatures. Along the way they are subject to further attacks and meet Native Americans and outlaws. Jake also begins remembering things from his past that are essential to the defeat of the aliens.

For most of the film, Cowboys & Aliens was actually quite good. It carries itself out as a typical entry in the western genre. And a good western at that. And when the aliens finally make their loud appearance, it does not feel out-of-place. The notion that aliens would be fighting 19th century townsfolk isn’t that odd of a concept to me. The film, for the most part, was heading down the right path at this point.

But at about the hour, twenty-minute mark is when things turned sour. If you have a difficult time believing the concept of aliens fighting cowboys, then you stand no chance of lasting the final thirty or so minutes. It feels almost like the script, which was already nothing special to begin with, was written up to this point and then director Jon Favreau got ahold of it and turned it into a long incoherent action sequence. Everything turns to chaos and at some point in this mayhem you are just watching everything unfold with a dull expression.

As far as casting goes, you really could not do better than this one. So why was their talents squandered? Daniel Craig is a fantastic action star and is pretty great in this as well. But there is nothing memorable about him. He has a few witty one-liners, a few comical moments and… that is about it. The same could be said about Harrison Ford as well. He is cranky and old. Not really a stretch for him. Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano,Keith Carradine, Clancy Brown, they are all just bit players.

I was hoping so much more from this film. There was a lot of potential and room for growth. Unfortunately it just ended up being bland. Almost like going to a restaurant and expecting great cuisine but instead get a microwave meal.

Verdict: RENT IT!

*Poster by Dan Norris

Comments? Opinions? Leave them below.

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One Response to “I Saw A Film Today… Cowboys & Aliens”

  1. Feels like a flick that was poked, tweaked, reformatted and re-edited at least a dozen times. But there is still some deal of fun to be had here, this just shouldn’t have taken itself so seriously. Good Review!

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